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Environmentalists Want Suffolk To Ban Methoprene Pesticide

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Courtesy of Pixabay
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The Peconic Baykeeper, an environmental nonprofit on Long Island’s East End, wants the Suffolk County legislature to ban the use of the pesticide methoprene that controls mosquito populations.

Peconic Baykeeper Sean O’Neill wants the ban because it’s a known toxin to marine life.

“We know that because, very basically, mosquito larvae are aquatic organisms and it kills them, so it will kill other aquatic organisms as well.”

O’Neill says methoprene is heavily regulated in Connecticut. In the late 1990s, there was a West Nile scare that O’Neill says caused municipalities to use the pesticide. He says the pesticide leaked into waterways and contributed to shellfish and lobster die-offs.

“We continue to use the sprays as sort of a band-aid to cover up our mosquito population issues.”

O’Neill says if the county continues to clean and restore the island’s wetlands, marine life will return to limit the mosquito population.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.