Mosquito Control With Malathion: Are There Public Health Consequences?

Publication, Environment, Rolf Penner

Executive Summary

  • The application of pesticides to control insect populations has occurred under a number of conditions, especially when insect-borne diseases become a threat.
  • Malathion is the only pesticide recently evaluated for such use, and that evaluation determined that it poses no risk to human populations or the environment.
  • Methods and rates of application and approved products have been thoroughly researched. Used as recommended, malathion is the safest product available.
  • Animal testing has revealed very low toxic, reproductive or carcinogenic effects, even when fed at high doses.
  • Monitoring for health effects on humans when malathion is ingested through the skin or by breathing indicates no cause for alarm.
  • The damage inflicted on other insect species can be minimized.
  • Extensive studies of malathion’s effects on children and pregnant women have also proven that the risk is minimal.
  • Authorities have concluded the risks of spraying malathion are negligible.
  • Spraying of malathion to prevent spread of the West Nile virus is safe.
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