Posted by: Site Administrator | September 9, 2010

Leon County Government Okays A Chemical Assault On Woman With Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

By Sayer Ji

Kathy Termotto is a resident of Leon County, Florida who has pleaded with the Leon County Commission (LCC) for over 15 years to stop spraying her home and property in the Orchard Walk Subdivision of Tallahassee with an insecticide known as ANVIL. She has appealed to the Governor, Charlie Crist, as well as to the Florida Departments of Health, Agriculture and Environmental Protection, all to no avail. This Friday evening the Leon County Mosquito Control will once again spray her street by ejecting a toxic chemical aerosol which contains a known endocrine disrupter – the synthetic pyrethroid named Sumithrin.

Ms. Termotto has sent her medical records, letters from her physicians, letters from her attorneys, as well as volumes of information pertaining to the various diseases and serious symptoms associated with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and Environmental Illness Syndrome (EIS), both of which she currently suffers from. Even the Leon County Health Department has turned a deaf ear to her plight knowing that such a severe allergy to pyrethrums could develop into a case of anaphylactic shock – a life-threatening condition that can be fatal if competent medical intervention does not arrive in a timely fashion.

Earlier this year the LCC saw the wisdom of setting up a one-quarter mile buffer zone around the properties of homeowners who have no tolerance for these extremely harmful mosquito control street-spraying regimes. After just a few months of implementing this well thought out pilot program, the LCC Chairman, Bob Rackleff, had his aide, Kate Brady, call Ms. Termotto to inform her that the policy must be reversed in light of an election threat which the Chairman felt could be influenced by his principled stand on protecting his most vulnerable constituents like Ms. Termotto.

To her dismay the Chairman then collaborated with two other Leon County Commissioners, John Dailey and Jane Sauls, at the May 2010 meeting to overturn this medically necessary program, which was fifteen years in the making, without her even being informed that this item was being put back on the agenda. Whereas Ms. Termotto does understand that such a public betrayal is politics as usual, she wonders how the infants and children, pregnant mothers and their unborn, and the elderly and chronically ill will be protected by such a selectively barbaric and inhumane county program. The big question, however, is the one she directs to the LCC, “When is the Commission going to address this medical crisis for the many citizens in Leon County who suffer from MCS, EI Syndrome and serious chemical allergies?”

When asked about her predicament, Ms. Termotto responds with the following questions: “If Chairman Bob Rackleff’s wife had a similar hyper-allergic reaction to these chemicals, do you think Parwez Alam, the Leon County Administrator, would allow those trucks to get within a mile of Rackleff’s home? I don’t think so.” She goes on to ask, “How would Commissioners Dailey and Sauls vote on this matter if either of their children could be incapacitated and sent to the local emergency room because of the indiscriminate, systematic, and wide-area spraying of these noxious chemicals in their neighborhoods?”

Ms. Termotto gave public comment at the May meeting wherein she articulated the obligation of the County Commission to protect those citizens who are at great medical risk. She was particularly appalled by the testimony of Mike Page, Chief of the Florida Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control, who mislead the entire commission about the very existence of MCS and similar ailments associated with exposure to these dangerous chemicals. Ms. Termotto observes that, “He didn’t even have the most basic qualifications to speak on matters concerning the medical conditions and health repercussions caused by these poisonous chemicals!” She went on to state that she was not aware that public servants could be allowed to deliver such knowingly false statements in an official public forum such as a formal Leon County Commission Meeting.

Ms. Termotto does go on the record to express her full support for mosquito control that is truly responsible and effective, non-toxic to human life, and much less expensive to the taxpayers. The County was on track to institute such new procedures, but was steered back into the same antiquated chemical regimen that has repeatedly proven its inefficacy and harm to people and the environment. She also goes on to cite the many instances where highly authoritative experts from the scientific community have similarly weighed in on this ongoing public health disaster.

For instance, Ms. Termotto points to peer-reviewed scientific studies and other published literature from academia that contains conclusive evidence which demonstrates that super-strains of mosquitoes will always emerge when the same chemicals are utilized year after year. Many scientists also point out that many non-target and benevolent insect species, with much longer larval cycles than the mosquito, will be killed as collateral damage, thus eliminating many of the most voracious predators of mosquitoes such as the dragonfly. She wonders out loud, “How much more toxic chemical will they have to spray after they have killed all the dragonflies?!”

In the end, Ms. Termotto is only asking that her home and property not be sprayed against her rights, and wishes, by the County. She rightfully points out that “we all have a fundamental right not to be sprayed by the county mosquito control programs currently in operation throughout the State. Does anyone have the right to walk onto your property and indiscriminately spray toxic chemicals wherever they wish? We think not. Should they do so, repeatedly, they might end up in an institution for the criminally insane!”

Sayer Ji is the Corporate Educator at For Goodness Sake, the Nutrition Director at the Naples Birth Center, the Founder of and the National Coordinator for Testing the Waters – a Citizen’s Initiative addressing the BP Gulf Oil Spill.

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