Aerial Spraying in Santa Cruz – Yikes!

I was innocently listening to news headlines on Democracy Now this morning (if such a thing is actually possible), when I heard this:

In California, a judge has given the green light to a controversial pesticide spraying in Santa Cruz County. On Thursday, Superior Court judge Paul Burdick rejected the county?s restraining order because he said it could not prove the spraying would harm the public. The chemical, Checkmate LBAM-F, will be used to halt the light brown apple moth. Checkmate?s manufacturer, Oregan-based Suterra, has refused to release the ingredients of the pesticide and petitioned the courts to keep them secret. One hundred residents on the Monterry Peninsula reported respiratory illness after a similar chemical was sprayed there in September.

SPROING! What's up with that? Well, our local paper The Santa Cruz Sentinel confirms it:

A trio of state-owned planes will begin spraying a pesticide next week in Santa Cruz County to halt the spread of the light brown apple moth, an invasive pest the state says is capable of causing millions of dollars in crop damage if it is not stopped soon.

Aerial maps from the California Department of Agriculture confirm that Santa Cruz city and CatSynth HQ are probably in the spray zone, and that spraying will occur overnight starting Sunday November 4 through the following Friday (barring rain or other weather that will cause delays).

So OK, just stay indoors, keep our pets indoors, and don't eat anything off the trees for a couple of days, right? Unfortunately, I cannot find a specific advisory of any sort, just notice of the time and location of spraying. Indeed, the biggest problems here are that the health effects, and even the chemical composition of the pesticides, aren't publicly known:

Since similar spraying began on the Monterey Peninsula in September, residents have opposed the aerial spraying because nobody, not even scientists, knows what kind of health effects the pesticide, CheckMate LBAM-F, is capable of having on people…

Fortunately, Luna is an indoor cat. But what about open windows? And what about outdoor animals (strays, farm animals, wildlife)? Unlike some of the folks on the Sentinel's discussion board, we at CatSynth try not to get hysterical about such things, but we would like answers to a few rational questions. For me, it would simply be enough to have more information on health and safety. A simple advisory to stay indoors, and how to protect animals and children, would have been enough. And if there is no reason for such an advisory, say so, and back it up with some data.

Meanwhile, I guess we'll just take our best reasonable guess and stay inside…

and let's NOT crack open a window!