The poison merry-go-round

To the editor,

I am a resident of Three Springs. On its website, Three Springs states that it is “designed to create a healthy, livable and sustainable community with enhanced quality of life for present and future generations.” Well, those present and future generations will be exposed to a known carcinogen and neurotoxin in the form of the pesticide Aqua Perm 30-30. Furthermore, many community members will be exposed without their knowledge or consent, which is why I am turning to a public forum.

Mosquito spraying will take place weekly from June to September in Three Springs. Property owners were notified via email on May 4 and simply told the product, Aqua Perm 30-30, “is EPA approved.” Using the language 

“EPA approved” gives residents a false sense of safety regarding this product, when in fact, simply reading this product’s Material Safety Data Sheet reveals that it is both a carcinogen and a neurotoxin. In addition to the health risks to humans, the MSDS states that the product is extremely toxic to fish, aquatic invertebrates and bees. This is not my opinion; these are facts.

Three Springs supposedly prides itself on traditional neighborhood development and community connections, but when it comes to taking responsibility for acting as a collective, that sense of community evaporates. When I approached the community manager with my concerns, I was told to go to the City. When I went to the City, they said go to the Florida Mosquito Control District. When I went to the FMCD, I was told to go to the homeowners’ association. When I went to the Board of the homeowners association I was told this is not a Board issue because it is “politically divisive” (Really? This is a health issue NOT a political issue).

So I went back to the Community Manager and FMCD. Then I was told try the Southern Ute Growth Fund, who develops the land. And, oh by the way, Mercy approved the spraying, so go to them too. When I tried Mercy they said go to the Southern Ute Growth Fund. And when I tried the Southern Ute Growth Fund, I was told they hold no authority with the FMCD. Does this seem like a commitment to “community” to you? Do these actions seem like those of the ecological, sustainable, environmentally conscious community Three Springs claims to be on its website? It feels more like a pass-the-buck merry-go-round, and the claims appear to be nothing more than meaningless platitudes tantamount to a green-washed sales pitch.

Currently, over 50 neighbors share these concerns about the health and environmental threats posed by this product. And I believe that if more stakeholders actually knew about the spraying and chose to read the Safety Data Sheet, that number would only increase. But apparently this supposed emphasis on the importance of community does not include any mechanism to notify all members of the community, which, in addition to property owners, should include renters, employees and those visiting for both business purposes, i.e. the Farmers Market, and recreational purposes.

I am not denying the reality of vector-borne illness or suggesting no type of mitigation is warranted. But this spraying is IN ADDITION to all of the standing water in Three Springs already having been treated with larvicide, which lasts for 180 days. The CDC states that spraying pesticides intended to kill adult mosquitoes is the least efficient mosquito control technique.

If you are a stakeholder, if you rent, work, vend or recreate in Three Springs, I encourage you to read the Safety Data Sheet for Aqua Perm 30-30. I encourage you to think for yourself: consider all of the factors mentioned above, as well as the fact that the CDC website shows the risk of mosquito-borne illness in the state of Colorado is less than one in 100,000, while cancer rates are one in three. Then decide if it is worth the risk to expose ourselves, our children, our pets and our environment to this poison. And if you decide it is not worth the risk, please add your name to the 50+ stakeholders by signing the online petition at https://bit.ly/2HVNXmd

– Laurie Gambacorta, Durango