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643 Documented Complaints after Aerial Pesticide Spraying

A Review of 643 Documented Complaints of Adverse Reactions
Following the CDFA’s Aerial Spraying of two Pesticides based on
Pheromones over Densely Populated Neighborhoods in Santa Cruz and
Monterey Counties in September, October and November 2007

A Review of 643 Documented Complaints of Adverse Reactions
Following the CDFA’s Aerial Spraying of two Pesticides based on
Pheromones over Densely Populated Neighborhoods in Santa Cruz and
Monterey Counties in September, October and November 2007

As of December 20, 2007 various governmental agencies and citizen groups have
received 643 documented complaints from Monterey and Santa Cruz area citizens who
believe they suffered adverse short-term reactions following the aerial spraying of
pesticides pheromones on their cities in September, October, and November 2007.
Of the 643 complaints, 509 are reported here for the first time, along with the
original 134 citizen complaints of adverse reactions following the aerial spraying of the
Monterey area in September which released to state agencies and the press in October.
Summary of the Complaints

Citizens complained of a variety of adverse reactions immediately and soon after
the aerial spraying, including:
o Asthma attacks
o Bronchial irritation
o Lung congestion and
o Difficulty breathing and
shortness of breath
o Coughing or “wheezing”
o Skin rashes (sometimes
o Vision blurred
o Eye irritation
o Sore throats
o Nasal congestion
o Sinus bleeding
o Chest pains and tightness
o Heart arrhythmia and
tachycardia (irregular and
rapid heartbeat)
o Headaches (sometimes
o An inability to concentrate
and focus
o Dizziness
o Muscle aches
o Body tremors
o Intestinal pain and diarrhea
o Nausea
o Swollen glands and lymph
nodes in neck and under arms
o Feelings of lethargy and
o Menstrual cramping, an
interruption to menstrual
cycles, and in some cases a
recommencement of
menstrual cycles after

Several people reported severe reactions, and others have required emergency
room visits. Some said the effects of the spraying were debilitating and made it
impossible for them to focus, work, and take part in their normal activities. Many report
they have never had any similar symptoms previously.
People with less severe reactions generally said they went on with their day-today
responsibilities, although with diminished capacity, and did not call or visit their
doctors because they did not want to take the time or incur the expense, or could not get a
short-term appointment.

A number of people said they had left their homes during the spraying and
experienced symptoms immediately upon returning. A tourist visiting Monterey from
Pennsylvania said her symptoms appeared as soon as she got near the area after driving
north on Highway One from the Hearst Castle in San Simeon.
Some reported that several members of their families experienced unusual
symptoms at nearly the same time shortly after the spraying. Several said their domestic
animals also experienced adverse reactions. Two pets died after developing symptoms
similar to those reported by humans.

Complaint Sources
Today’s report cites 317 complaints of adverse reactions received directly by the
CDFA since the spraying began, 52 of which were detailed illness reports. It also cites
36 reports of illnesses sent by doctors to the Santa Cruz County Agriculture
Commissioner’s office. Public interest groups received 290 complaints, which are
documented in the report.1

Potential Complaint Duplication
Because there is no single agency and no single well publicized system for
tracking and investigating adverse reactions to the aerial sprayings, there is likely some
overlap in the 643 complaints, if people filed complaints with more than one entity.
Underreporting Breadth of Illnesses And Symptoms
The report explains why the official numbers under-report the numbers of people
with illnesses and symptoms and how complaints inherently cannot include potential
long-term adverse health effects.

· Sometimes a single complaint was submitted for several members of the same family,
and on one occasion, one complaint was submitted for a family of six, all of whom
got sick.
· There is evidence some people could not afford the time or expense of a doctor visit,
or could not get an appointment, while others did not know how to register
complaints of adverse reactions. Meanwhile, some health care providers were not
1 The total number of complaints reported in the press in September and October grew to more than 200 as
governmental representatives, referring to the adverse reactions, likely added complaints they had received
directly to the count, and referred to these in their communications (see “Laird Response to Sec.
Kawamura,” dated October 16, 2007, page 4, which referenced 200 complaints). These extra complaints are not included in the tally of 643 referenced in this report; only the 134 complaints received through ReactiontoSpraying [at] last fall, and forms sent to the related P.O. Box.prepared to recognize and report possible pesticide-related illnesses or were not aware of state law requiring them to report suspected pesticide poisonings within 24 hours.

“Midway through the aerial sprayings, the CDFA stated that the only way
complaints of illness would be taken seriously is if they were validated by a
doctor. However, I have patients who told me that other doctors refused to file a
report on their reactions, even though it is required by law."
– Randy Baker, MD, a family physician practicing environmental medicine in

· The present tally of 643 complaints does not include complaints that have been made
directly to the offices of Governor Schwarzenegger and other elected officials.

Citizen groups have asked the Governor’s office to disclose this information. They
also continue to gather illness complaints through various channels, including an
email address, ReactiontoSpraying [at] The number of documented
complaints count should rise as the Governor’s office, city governments, and
governmental representatives pass along complaints they have received directly from
citizens. There is no law requiring these offices to forward pesticide harm complaints.


Putting Health and Safety First
Despite assurances by the CDFA that the spraying would be safe, many
community leaders remain concerned after learning of the larger scale of documented

“While California’s agriculture business is vitally important, no one, including the
Governor, I think, wants to sacrifice the health of children and other vulnerable
citizens for produce. That’s why the spraying needs to stop so we can have a
thorough public process including an Environmental Impact Report.”
– Tony Madrigal, Santa Cruz City Council

“The science establishing the safety of the spraying simply is not there. In effect,
this has been an experiment on a grand scale. The Nuremberg Code, which is
adhered to by the National Institutes of Health, prohibits medical experimentation
on human subjects without their informed consent. I believe the same code of
ethics should be adhered to in this situation.”
– Dr. Doug Hulstedt, pediatrician, Monterey

“The number of people who have reported adverse reactions is alarming, and I
believe further spraying must be halted until we can be certain it is safe.”
– Emily Reilly, Santa Cruz City Council member

“Protecting those who are most vulnerable is a hallmark of our society, and while
the aerial spraying might not adversely impact everyone, there is reason to believe
it is harming some people, including those with chemical sensitivities, impaired
immune systems, and asthma and other respiratory ailments. The rights of these
citizens need to be protected.”

– Jeff Haferman, Monterey City Council member
“Article One of the California Constitution clearly states that all people have a
right to pursue and obtain safety, and the aerial spraying of synthetic pheromones
and other chemicals on neighborhoods, playgrounds and schools could be in
violation of this right,” said Mike Lynberg of Concerned Citizens Against Aerial

“We, as elected officials, have a responsibility in matters of public safety to make
sure that decision-making process is transparent to the citizenry. Thus far, the
state has not lived up this standard.”-- Ryan Coonerty, Santa Cruz Mayor

“Far more effective non-spraying alternatives exist. Aerial spraying has been
called the ‘least effective’ way to control the light brown apple moth because at
least 99 percent of the spray has no effect on the widely dispersed moths at all. A
more effective and less costly solution is targeted, pheromone-scented sticky
traps2, which the state has used to trap essentially all the 9,000 moths they’ve
caught in California so far.”– David Dilworth, Executive Director, Helping Our Peninsula’s Environment(HOPE)

“Given the number and seriousness of the health complaints, and the heavy
presence of the Checkmate LBAM F capsules in the river and along Cowell
Beach after the spraying, I think there is reason to believe that a line has been
crossed and that the aerial spraying is not environmentally responsible, possibly
violating the authority under which it was initiated.- Ed Porter, Member of the Santa Cruz City Council

“CDFA has undertaken aerial spraying under the pretext of an emergency. Clearly
there is no emergency in the legal sense. An emergency is a sudden and
unexpected occurrence threatening life and property. There is no way in law that
the LBAM situation can be considered an emergency.” Ibid

“Unfortunately, many people did not know how to register complaints of adverse
reactions, and primary care health providers were not adequately instructed how
to recognize and report possible pesticide-related illnesses among their patients.
Also, citizens and health practitioners were assured by the CDFA that the
spraying would not make anyone sick, so it's possible that many attributed their
adverse reaction to other causes. Ibid

2 Targeted pheromone-baited Sticky Traps are the only solution to catch and kill the LBA moths.

Twist ties and aerial spraying do not catch or kill the LBA moths. "Targeted" sticky traps are used onlywhere the moths are found. This is in sharp contrast to saturation trapping to cover an entire region. Formore detailed information on this effective and less expensive solution please see and

“Midway through the aerial sprayings, the CDFA stated that the only way
complaints of illness would be taken seriously is if they were validated by a
doctor. However, I have patients who told me that other doctors refused to file a
report on their reactions, even though it is required by law."- Randy Baker, MD, a family physician who practices environmental medicine in

“Unfortunately, there is very little in the way of objective testing doctors can do
to tell if a complaint actually is related to chemical exposures. And many people
could not afford the time or expense of going to a doctor, or could not get a timely
appointment. Should their complaints be ignored?” Ibid


Mike Lynberg, a husband and father of two in Pacific Grove, who is also a bestselling
author and business writer, was concerned about the safety of spraying untested
pesticides on large urban populations and started Concerned Citizens against Aerial
Spraying in September 2007. Then, when some of his friends and neighbors had adverse
reactions to the aerial spraying, he began to collect and compile their complaints, and to
seek records of complaints from other sources.

Collected and compiled by Lynberg, this report includes or makes reference to:

· 317 citizen complaints submitted by citizens directly to the CDFA; 52 of them in
the form of detailed illness reports, and 265 in the form of phone calls, email
messages and other correspondence. These 317 complaints, disclosed to Lynberg
by the CDFA on December 20, 2007, are the total received so far by the CDFA
following all three rounds of spraying in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties.

· 290 citizen complaints of illnesses have so far been received by public interest
groups, including via a dedicated email address, ReactiontoSpraying [at],
a dedicated P.O. Box, and two citizen petitions. Of the complaints, 134 followed
the first round of spraying in the Monterey area in September, and 156 of them
followed the second round of spraying in the Monterey area in October and the
first round of spraying in the Santa Cruz area in November.

· 36 complaints submitted by local physicians to the Santa Cruz County Agriculture
Commissioner’s office following the November spraying in that county,
consistent with a law that requires physicians to report illnesses that could be
pesticide-related. These reports of illnesses are being investigated by Sean Fields,
an inspector in that office, and will be forwarded by it to the appropriate state
agencies at a later time.

While care has been taken to delete duplicate complaints in this report, there could be
some overlap (i.e., some people might have reported their adverse reactions to more than
one entity). That overlap, to a significant degree, results from the lack of a single, well
planned and managed system for tracking and investigating adverse reactions, established
and funded by the state, and ideally undertaken by a reliable and trusted third party, and
peer reviewed by experts in the area of pesticide-related illnesses.

Despite possible duplicate complaints, HOPE believes the known complaints are likely
just a fraction of the total illnesses linked to the spraying for the reasons described above.
Moreover, in late October, the CDFA began to say publicly that the only way citizens’
complaints of illnesses would be taken seriously is if they were validated by a doctor.

“What about people who could not afford the time or expense of going to a doctor, or
who couldn’t get an appointment?” asks Lynberg. “Are their complaints not worth taking

Finally, the total number of complaints in this report is likely to be much lower than the
actual number of people who believed they suffered adverse reactions to the aerial
spraying because the complaints reported herein do not include:

· Complaints of illnesses received by Governor Schwarzenegger’s office
· Complaints of illnesses and adverse reactions received by other elected officials
such as state and federal representatives
· Calls, messages and letters sent by people who believe they got sick to the mayors
of the city clerks of the many cities sprayed
· Complaints of illnesses received directly by the Monterey and Santa Cruz County
Health Officers
Working with other public interest groups, Lynberg is presently working to obtain this
information so it can be publicly disclosed. In time, the total number of citizen
complaints of adverse reactions related to the aerial spraying of urban populations in
California in late 2007 could grow.


CDFA Could Spray Continuously through 2010
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) agency declared an
emergency and obtained a permit from the US-EPA to spray urban populations through
2010, as often as every 30 days, and to do so without any advance testing of the
pesticide's health harm to humans.

Three rounds of aerial pesticide spraying using two different pesticides(3) occurred
late last year beginning on the Monterey Peninsula and then expanding to Santa Cruz
County. Each round involved airplanes spraying untested pesticides at high-speed(4)
largely over densely populated areas from 500 - 800 feet above the ground (5). At that
altitude there is considerable sideways drift of the pesticides, potentially miles from the
release location.
3 Checkmate OLR-F and Checkmate LBAM
4 160 mph.
5 Crop dusting normally takes place only a few yards above the ground and at speeds below 100 mph.

The pesticide ingredients and concentrations are a closely held secret. Two days
after an LA Times editorial the Governor released a few of the names of ingredients of
only one of the two pesticides. The disclosed ingredients include a synthetic pheromone
as the active ingredient, and variety of so-called "inert" ingredients6. Some of the
disclosed ingredients are known to be hazardous at certain levels. Concentrations of the
ingredients and chemical residues of the manufacturing process were not disclosed. USEPA
has explicitly refused to disclose that information on an expedited basis.

The tiny light brown apple moth has been widely across California from Los
Angeles to Napa, including highly populated areas such as San Francisco, Berkeley and
Marin County. The LBA moth does not cause physical harm to people which is in sharp
contrast to the West Nile Virus.

6 Pesticides almost always contain chemicals that are secrets, misnamed inerts. "Despite their harmless sounding name, many so-called inerts are dangerous chemicals that can cause cancer, reproductive
harm, nervous system damage and other health effects." (NCAP Report "Toxic Secrets")

There are three broad questions related to the recent aerial spraying of pesticides using
pheromones and potentially toxic “inert” ingredients by the State of California on
hundreds of thousands of its citizens:
· Is it necessary?
· Can it be effective?
· Is it safe?
Experts have expressed opposing viewpoints on whether the aerial spraying is
necessary or effective. For example, Jim Carey, a professor of entomology at the
University of California-Davis and a respected Invasion Biology expert, has cast doubt
on whether the aerial spraying can be effective, saying the pest is too established to be
eradicated. “This thing is so widespread that there is no way that they're going to
eradicate it,” said Carey in a Monterey Herald interview in December. When a pest is
not eradicatable, we can only try to control it. Pest control requires dramatically less
urgency and less draconian measures than eradication.
While the first two questions are critical, and while some experts believe the spraying is
neither necessary nor effective, this report is primarily focused on complaints of adverse
reactions to the spraying.
Out of a deep concern for the health and safety of our families, friends and
neighbors, HOPE and those supporting this report strongly and respectfully
recommend that :
1. The State of California immediately stop further aerial spraying to eradicate the light
brown apple moth, given the evidence the spraying may significantly harm human health
and is therefore not being done in an “environmentally responsible” way, as described in
Senate Bill 556.
2. Our governmental representatives vigorously defend and uphold every citizen’s
constitutional right to pursue and obtain safety, as established in the California State
Constitution, Article One, Section One.
3. The State of California abide by international codes of ethics pertaining to
experimentation on human subjects without their informed consent (such as the
Nuremberg Code adhered to by the National Institutes of Health), since the chemical
mixtures being sprayed have not, prior to the wholesale spraying of large urban
populations, been tested for their health effects on human beings.
4. The health complaints received so far be thoroughly investigated by an objective and
trusted third party – not by an agency or organization that serves or supports agriculture
and related interests – and peer reviewed by panel of experts in the fields of toxicology,
environmental medicine and other appropriate disciplines. The California Dept of Public
Health may be a good start.
5. The ingredients in the products being sprayed on unwitting populations be thoroughly
disclosed, including their relative concentrations and the residues that result from their
reaction, and this data be studied by an objective and trusted third party -- not an agency
with a clear conflict of interest and loyalty to agricultural and economic interests such as
CDFA and DPR, and peer reviewed by an appropriate panel of independent toxicologists,
physicians and other specialists.
6. The State of California prepare a thorough Environmental Impact Report that includes
the findings of the investigations into the spray’s ingredients and the adverse health
effects among the population, and objectively and thoroughly evaluates non-spraying
7. The CDFA implement non-spraying solutions to eradicate or control the light brown
apple moth, such as the targeted pheromone-scented sticky traps it has used successfully
to trap essentially all the 9,000 LBA moths found in California so far, instead of
measures that put people at risk and possibly sacrifice their health and safety for the
interests of others.
§Press Conference 1/04/08
Press Conference to announce two new reviews/reports of health complaint and concerns after Aerial Pesticide Spraying. Speakers includes Santa Cruz City Concil Members Ed Porter and Tony Madrigal and both authors of the two new reports Mike Lynberg and Roy Upton.
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Comments (Hide Comments)

by via
by via
(Jan 2) Report of 643 Documented Complaints after Aerial Spraying.
"California's Dept. of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) has a permit from the US-EPA to Aerially Spray untested, unwanted Pesticides on the cities of (and wild habitats neighboring) Monterey, Santa Cruz, Alameda, San Jose and San Francisco every month until 2010. CDFA has already crop dusted our Monterey Peninsula twice in 2007 and Santa Cruz once. CDFA is intentionally deceiving the public by falsely claiming that eradicating the LBA moth is an emergency -- even though the moth does not harm humans at all -- in sharp contrast to the West Nile Virus which has killed several people. " -
by Robert Norse
See also Mayor Coonerty's official response to a call for emergency homeless spraying during the next LBAM spraying:

"Mayor Coonerty Dismissed Call for Homeless Shelter During LBAM Spraying"
by 1/08/08
1/08/08 6:15am CASS will be hand delivering reports to The Capitol in Sacramento.

These reports are 2 200 pg. documents: one documents over 600 adverse reactions to the spray in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, and the other contains research on the chemicals we are being sprayed with and the bogus info the gov. is telling the public. The legislature will meet with the CDFA on Thurs. to review the spraying plans. The inside word is (this has not been publicly announced, but was told to a city council member) is that the CDFA is now planning to spray starting in March-April, and will spray Monterey, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara county, San Francisco county, Marin county, and Alameda county. (perhaps more). This is a major assault on the people's right to life and safety, and our environment.
Also on Tuesday, the CDFA task force is meeting to discuss the spraying in San Jose. The public can attend but I don't know if they can participate.

1/08/08 Tuesday 10:30 am CDFA EATF Meeting, The Wyndham Hotel, San Jose, CA. Agenda

Events on Thurs. 1/10

Dr. Rapp, toxicology specialist coming to Rio Theater on Thurs 1/10 7-9 pm free event for the community to learn about the health effects of being sprayed with pesticide. The community is also bringing her in to train Doctors on the effects and testing of pesticide related illnesses since the state has put nothing in place to monitor public health and these are untested chemicals!

People can get more info and read new reports at or Feel free to put a link on your site for reports as they have been released to the press and public yesterday.
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