Toxicology
And WNV Encephalitis Epidemic
New York City Region - 1999


EPA AIRNOW Data
Timeline 1999

The following timeline supports the need for toxicology as a major and fundamental consideration in disease epidemiology.

This timeline for the summer of 1999 includes 4 event topics (bird epidemic, human epidemic, rainfall, mosquitoes) plus detailed listings of temperature, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and colored ozone maps for the tri-state region.

Review Legend before continuing to the Timeline.

May, 1999 June, 1999 July, 1999 August, 1999 September, 1999

Ozone maps from EPA AirNow online


Image from www.epa.gov/airnow/health/smog1.html#9


Commentary

 

Airtoxics Levels: Highest In Decades

The events regarding the neurological disease called "West Nile virus encephalitis" (ref) in New York City, 1999 correlate very closely with very high levels of atmospheric pollution. Toxicology was ignored by CDC and NYC Department of Health epidemiologists despite ozone exceedances for 1999, which were higher than each of the previous seven years as of late July (with the rest of the summer remaining). These levels were the worst since the mid-1970s (ref) -- within one of the most highly polluted industrial regions within the U.S. These atmospheric pollutants are powerful central nervous system (CNS) toxins, capable of causing symptoms (ref) (ref) (ref) of WNV/SLE encephalitis, especially as defined by the NYCDOH  (def1) and CDC: (def2) at available dosages. These dosage levels are comparable to the exposure present during the summer of 1999, especially when duration of exposure is included in the definition of dosage, as the effects of airtoxics can be accumulative.

Ozone is an indicator of other air toxic levels, such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, non-methane organic carbons, and sulfur emissions, which with the increased sunlight and temperatures of summer, are able to combine to create high quantities of neurotoxic photochemical smog. (ref) Studies have shown that atmospheric pollutants can cause extra-pulmonary damage such as encephalitis. New evidence demonstrates that air toxins may be capable of causing asthma, not just from their obvious damage to the respiratory system, but from damage to the autonomic nervous system. (ref)

The geographical epicenter of the WNV epidemic was the area of College Point, Whitestone, and Bayside, within Northern Queens. When I requested EPA station monitor data, I asked for all stations in Queens and was told that only three monitors existed: 2 within College Point and 1 in Bayside, installed because these are the areas of greatest concern. The data can be requested from the EPA, however, the EPA receives from state DEC, which operates the monitor stations. The various state DECs send their data to Atlanta and from there it is sent to the EPA after a 3 to 6 month delay (3 month delay for 3 month blocks of data).

College Point is about 3,500 feet from the heavily polluted SE Bronx and 2,500 feet from the La Guardia Airport runways. Heavy and light industry exists on its western waterfront, including The New York Times plant. Bayside is also close to the SE Bronx and both townships are close to the Whitestone bridge, the Throgs Neck bridge, and numerous overlapping expressways that connect Long Island with Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Connecticutt, and New Jersey.

Since last summer, 1999, with new construction, the number of station monitors providing data will have nearly doubled in New York City by the end of the summer of 2000.

 

MTBE

Approximately half of the nation's MBTE consumption has been in the East Coast. (extRef) During the summer of 1999, approximately 11% of all automotive gasoline in the tri-state Severe-17 region contained Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE). This is a neurological toxin which through photochemical combination may actually increase levels of other neurological toxins, e.g., ground level industrial ozone, and photochemical smog.

In 1992, federal law (as lobbied by the petroleum industry according to some) required improvements in emission characteristics of gasoline through the use of oxygenates. MTBE was claimed to fill this requirement. There are doubts as to the benefits of MTBE, however, it does provide an economic benefit to the petroleum industry because it is manufactured from refinery waste products. If MTBE is banned then NAFTA rules allow the petroleum industry to sue the U.S. government for compensation.

In 1995 MTBE became a significant environmental factor in the tri-state area.

In 1999 a "No Action Memo" was issued by the EPA to refineries, which allowed RFG refineries to formulate gasoline with high levels of toxic petroleum fractions, without fearing that punitive action would be taken. Also, the deadline for RFG refinery reporting for the year 1998 was extended to August of 1999, making evaluation, regulation, and penalties impossible to apply for the summer of 1999.

MTBE was used in winter programs where its toxic presence at ground level would be lessened by cool atmospheres and reduced sunlight, because ground-level pollutants such as photochemical smog are a function of available sunlight and higher temperatures, and in 1999, in the New York City region, MTBE was used year-round and at 15% during the winter, 11% during the summer. The summer of 1999 was one of the hottest and driest (few clouds, increased sunlight) in recorded history. (ref)

Nationally, in 1999, MTBE requirements in the New York City region were unique to the nation. The yellow-coded area below represents 2 things:

1) The precise area of unique oxygenated (MTBE) fuel requirement categories, as limited to certain counties of the New York City region, as perceived in a private, industry newsletter, not necessarily in terms of EPA requirements. I contacted the newsletter to ask what data they were using to generate the yellow-coded areas, and received no reply. The EPA stated that I should not trust any data except for EPA requirements, however, the requirements are not refinery formulations and the formulations are proprietary.
2) The precise area of unprecedented masses of encephalitic dead birds found positive for West Nile Virus, according to the NYSDEC database.


From www.oxybusters.org

 

MTBE and Massive Bird Deaths

Since January 1, 1995, MTBE was mandated to be used year-round in the NYC region, which had been designated an RFG (reformulated gasoline) region. During the next mid-July, at the height of the ozone season, and every mid-July thereafter, several bird deaths reported with clinical descriptions of neurological disease became a regular annual occurrence at the NYSDEC. Previously, there were no such bird deaths reported from the NYC region (ref).

A tremendous, unprecedented epidemic of such kinds of bird deaths occurred in mid-July of 1999. More than 3,000 crow deaths had been reported to NYSDOH (New York State Department of Health) and for the most part categorized as unconfirmed. (ref) It has been conjectured by NYSDOH that the 3,000 may only represent half of the reported crows and that 1/3 to 2/3rd of the entire crow population may have been destroyed. There are 520 officially confirmed bird deaths according to the NYSDEC WNV Database (published 2/23/2000). Of these, almost all were reported from August 11th onward. (ref) 60% were crows. Most of the 520 occurred concurrently with the tremendous publicity regarding crows as vectors for encephalitis. (ref)

Due to insufficient funds, the NYSDEC pathology lab has no capability to determine cause of death by atmospheric pollution. The NYSDEC pathology lab also has no virus testing capability and sends tissue samples to the CDC and other labs for analysis. (ref). The results are returned to the NYSDEC, and under the NYSDEC title, a virology report is distributed with the results of this outsourced testing.

In late July, just a week after the apex of record level ozone, MTBE atmospheric pollution, and massive (unconfirmed) bird deaths, the EPA Blue Ribbon Panel recommended removal of MTBE from gasoline. (ref)

In early September, 1999, the WN virus diagnoses by the CDC and NYCDOH caused the NYSDEC to hold back the release of bird autopsies which at that time were clearly going to be positive for toxic death, not virus-caused death. (ref) (ref)

According to Dr. Tracey McNamara, President Clinton established the Emerging Diseases Task Force in ___, 1995. In 1996, a presidential directive established a national policy which stated that emerging diseases are a national priority, a mandate. (Dr. Tracey McNamara, at the Conference On Emerging Diseases in NYC, 12/11/00).

 

MTBE Phase-Out and Ban

In spite of the controversy surrounding MTBE, this ubiquitous neurotoxin will have come and gone with virtually no public awareness of its existence. Over 100,000 have petitioned for its end in California. Activists in New Jersey have also petitioned. During the summer of 1999, the EPA and industry negotiated to reduce industrial emissions in the New York City region, however, due to economic/political concerns this was unsuccessful. (ref)

July 26, 1999, EPA announced that it's Blue Ribbon Panel recommended a ban on MTBE. March 21, 2000, "in a move aimed at protecting drinking water while still maintaining the clean air benefits of oxygenated fuels, the Administration is moving forward with legislation that would reduce or eliminate MTBE." (extRef) As of April 11, 2000, New York State proceeded on legislation to ban MTBE, and a week later President Clinton publicly called for a global ban on MTBE. A California ban on MTBE (established December 1999) is to go into effect on December 31, 2002.

On May 24, 2000 New York State passed law to ban MTBE:

"N.Y. Gov. Pataki signs ban of gasoline additive MTBE" - "New York State Gov. George Pataki on Wednesday signed a bill banning MTBE at the state's gasoline pumps by 2004, hammering yet another nail into the controversial fuel additive's coffin." (Reuters, 5/25/00)

On May 25, 2000 it was announced in the media that during Memorial Day Weekend 30 million Americans would be on the roads, and for these drivers to beware of high gasoline prices due to a shortage of RFG (MBTE) gasoline. Taxpayers are legally bound to reimburse industry for the ban on MTBE and, speculatively, the "shortage" could be a "voluntary" part of the MTBE phase-out or an exploitation of the more confusion of law caused by the ban of the oxy-fuel program. Gasoline prices were projected to rise 25% during the summer of 2000 (extRef) and that turned out to be an understatement.

Even before the New York State legislation, there was "final rulemaking". The EPA, Office of Mobile Sources writes (extRef):

"New York/Northern. N.J./Connecticut: (12/6/99) OXY & RFG: The oxygenated fuels program will no longer be implemented in this CMSA . All three states have requested that the program be dropped from their SIP's for the upcoming 1999/2000. EPA has approved the removal of the program for all three states and has published final rulemakings for CT and the Northern NJ area."

"Connecticut: A direct final rulemaking was published on 12/1/99 to remove the oxy program from CT's SIP. The rulemaking becomes effective on 1/31/00 unless EPA receives an adverse comment by 1/3/00."

"Northern New Jersey: November 22, 1999: Oxy program dropped from the SIP."

As of 6/30/00, EPA proposed that ethanol replace MTBE.

The banning of MTBE, brought about by an elite panel's recommendation immediately following mass death and disease, concurs with the usual retrospective government/industry policy towards dangerous chemicals in the environment. (ref)

 

Birds As Sentinels

Bird morbidity and mortality have traditionally been utilized as indicators of a toxic environment (miner's canaries, sentinels for toxins), the most famous example being the miner's canary. (ref) The crow's supportive relation to humans is found in folklore:

"...the raven's voice as a gift of God to foretell impending dangers... Its call foretells a death in the neighborhood." (ref)

And as indicators of toxic danger, crow death is recognized in the lives of persons living in the tri-state area. Here is an anecdote from the Forbes ASAP (culture and media magazine):

"Kiki Smith (1954- ) Smith, self-taught, worked as an assistant in her father's studio in the 1970s. She also worked as an electrical contractor and industrial baker before exhibiting her drawings, sculptures, and photographs in 1982. Jersey Crows was inspired by a newspaper account of a flock of crows falling dead from the sky after flying through industrial smokestack fumes." (ref)

The message of these toxin sentinels was neutralized by:

1) Omission of June and July crow deaths in virtually all media. (ref)
2) Failure to report and/or follow-up to confirm reports of unprecedented numbers of June/July bird deaths (ref)
3) Popular media (news) statements regarding human and crow deaths as occurring together beginning in early August. (ref)
4) The virus epidemic emergency status, overriding toxic oriented crow autopsies. (ref)
5) A fear-mongering media mantra ("the deadly virus"). (ref)
6) Scientific literature statements regarding a crow/virus "natural transmission cycle" beginning in August. (ref)
7) Usurpation of traditional birds-as-toxic-sentinels by implementation of birds-as-virus-sentinels in public health policy and publicity. (ref)

The crow deaths were a major journalistic device frequently used to bolster media presentations and technical arguments for the concept of virus-causality. The crow deaths (as a virus vector event, i.e., as part of the "natural transmission cycle") were prominently used in scientific literature.

A policy move is underway to prevent public access to animal morbidity and mortality records as is presently the case with human health records. It is possible that by some time in 2000, all NYSDEC animal records will be recorded into a government mainframe database in a fixed format, and available individually, by password. (ref)

The primary vector for West Nile virus was said to be mosquitoes, but record-low mosquito populations existed in the NYC region during the summer of 1999, as that period was regarded as a "mosquito-free summer" due to the lengthy drought. Mosquito larvae require standing water, plus 11 to 14 days, to mature into adults, which in turn, require the absence of predators such as dragonflies, birds and bats. Clearly, rain and mosquitoes hardly existed at all until a month after the human epidemic began. (ref) Many citizens did not see a single mosquito until just after the end of the NYC emergency aerial malathion application program. (ref) When the epidemic began, the impression was given by the media that the common house mosquito population had exploded during the summer, concurrent with a raging epidemic, when in fact neither was true.

 

Skewed Epidemiology

The epidemiology of West Nile virus encephalitis included crow deaths as a dramatic and "commonsense" device to bolster WNV oriented epidemiology, however, only crow deaths which occurred near the human epidemic timeline were included. The epidemiology omitted approximately 90%-97% of the crow deaths (June/July), and thus the relation of bird deaths and encephalitis to the record-high pollution. Also omitted, by definition, were human neurological diseases prior to August 1. (ref)

Also omitted was the toxicology of the encephalitis victims (crows and humans), lab tests for traditional encephalitis viruses, and the causal relation between toxins and virus proliferation. The epidemiology was fully skewed towards avian/mosquito virus theory. The non-avian causal viruses, i.e., the traditional encephalitis viruses (echovirus, coxsackievirus, poliovirus) were apparently not tested, (ref) even though encephalitis can usually be associated with many viruses. (ref) (ref) Historically, it is a rare encephalitis case that has not been claimed to be causally associated with an enterovirus. Such enterovirus causality is a possibility within orthodoxy. (ref)

The West Nile Virus encephalitis has been characterized as a "flu-like disease".

"The disease, which starts as a flu-like illness in humans but can progress to a fatal inflammation of the brain, is usually transmitted to mosquitoes from migratory birds." -- The New York Times (9/4/99)

Yet, unprecedented flu-like symptoms and MTBE correlate perfectly:

"...the New York Times reported on January 17, 1995 that the flu was exceptionally bad in New York City and parts of Connecticut, but not in upstate New York. The areas that had a bad flu season, such as Philadelphia, were exactly those areas that have had 15% MTBE in the previous winters. Other cities, such as Boston, which just got MTBE in January were not as hard hit because those people have not been exposed to it as long as New York City. In December 1995 the New York Times reported that the flu had struck especially early that year, "in spades". In November 1996, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the flu was in full force by the middle of November and that three suburban schools had been forced to close down entirely; such a closing was historically unprecedented." -- P. Joseph, Ph.D., (extRef)

The concept of a predatory West Nile virus fulfills an anticipation in the medical profession of the emerging field of "molecular epidemiology". This field is dependent in part upon recently established mosquito/virus surveillance programs to map out virus presence worldwide with DNA "fingerprinting". (ref~) Such a surveillance program has been put into place in Connecticutt as of 1997. The West Nile virus was not tested for in these East Coast surveillance programs until after the last case onset of the 1999 NYC epidemic (ref~).

 

Epidemic Contradictions

Only 7.7% (newer data states 13%) of the massive bird die off has been associated with WNV (percent of tested birds in year 2000, NYS). Labeling WNV causative contradicts basic epidemiology and commonsense which states that the supposed causal factor must be found in all cases of an epidemic event. Modern virology stretches this, allowing "most cases". Obviously WNV, if anything, is not even that.

In 1999, five (some reports say 4), mostly elderly persons, died in New York City. On the basis of two vague seropositive identifications (using the most general antibody reaction test, ELISA) of a flavivirus from octogenarians, the aerial pesticide program began -- only hours after the second seropositive, without a certainty of virus identity. (ref) Amazed New Yorkers watched the headlines as the identity of the causal virus was changed from SLE, to West-Nile-like, to West Nile, to Kunjin and back to West Nile within the first 3 weeks of the epidemic. Before the spray program ended the news had settled on the virus "mystery" with rumors involving Plum Island, Saddam Hussein, and the CIA.

Information regarding the encephalitis victims is difficult to find, their identity has been secreted along with their clinical data, however, The New York Times did print a "common thread": elderly, minor health problems, outdoors type, and no recent travel. Most lived or spent most of their time in Northern Queens, and some others in the South Bronx. (ref) Later the NYSDOH described the health problems: Three were taking immunosuppressant drugs as part of ongoing cancer therapy and one was diagnosed with HIV. (ref)

Because other flaviviruses, never previously associated with human death, and things other than WNV, can also cause an ELISA seropositive (ref), the aerial malathion spray program over NYC was invoked, therefore, with the knowledge that the unidentified virus may have been harmless, mild, inactive, or unknown. The dominant virus (in terms of "percentage identity", Lipkin) in the persons that died of "West Nile encephalitis" was actually the Kunjin virus, a virus which has never been associated with human death. Three viruses, all flaviviruses, were associated with 4 of the reported 5 WNV deaths, which have been now been rephrased as 4 WNV deaths in some reports. (ref) Frequently promoted is the idea that all three rare viruses arrived for the first time in New York City, although SLE had a minor historical mention in New York State several decades ago.

There were many more dangerous ongoing epidemics in New York at the time of the West Nile "epidemic". It is clearly strange that it could have generated such media attention, a political and media freeze, and war-like mobilization. (ref)

In 1999 the West Nile was claimed to be a new virus in the U.S. in order to explain WNV as causative for the unprecedented number of bird deaths though this virus has not previously been hunted in the U.S. A year later, July 2000, the expected nation-wide epidemic has not happened. According to the principle of an epidemic, Farr's Law, that an epidemic expands exponentially through susceptibles, one would expect the virus to be spreading outward from NYC throughout the U.S. to all other WNV-naive regions, killing billions of birds and some elderly humans. Yet, this is not the case, to date there is no continuance.

 

Viruses and Toxins

It is well established (but not well known) that toxic environments increase viral activity and that viruses can often be viewed as manifestations of toxicity rather than cause of disease. (ref) One percent of the human genome (DNA) is dedicated to endogenous virus proliferation which normally occurs during environmental stress or illness. (ref) Thus, even in virus-biased epidemiology, toxicology should be included.

Toxicology is strong with regard to the West Nile epidemic -- it could even override a cofactor theory. The correlations of ozone with disease events are tight (one day, or hours), and thus a paradox arises when one considers the incubation period required for the virus to bring its population to a quantity sufficient to manifest disease symptoms.

An analysis of NYSDEC Wildlife pathologist Ward Stone's "West Nile Database" demonstrates a near perfect correlation between West Nile virus positives and RFG/MTBE gasoline categories, county by county (ref).

The WNV has been described as having an unusually short incubation period of 3-6 days (in3) whereas most RNA viruses have a 6-7 day incubation period. (in6) Another report, regarding New York City West Nile encephalitis, reports 5-15 days. (in5)

Other discrepancies can be found among reports touting electromicroscopic photos of West Nile virus: One shows the virus to be 35nm to 40 nm in diameter and another shows it to be 50 nm -- which calculates to twice the mass. This is paradoxical because virus species are defined as highly specific nucleic acid structures of fixed length and weight, encapsulated in a specific protein structure. Measurements are precise because they are derived from electron microscope photographs which provides an exact enlargement.

The West Nile virus has never been isolated in its purified state, so there remains doubt that the highly-amplified (via PCR), genetically identified, genomic entity actually exists as a tangible and active virus -- as the single, causative virus for the encephalitis epidemic. Its character, activity remain in doubt due to lack of quantitative evidence. (ref)

Even if we assume virus causality, the impure isolation leaves doubt regarding the identify of the causal viral genome. Testing is limited in that it is necessarily specific, it is not a scan for all possible types of viruses. The viruses and virus families to be tested for are dictated by the epidemiology which had assumed an arbovirus because of the crow deaths, and assumed to be WNV because the primary human susceptibles were not children as is usually found with CNS disease epidemics. Epidemiology overlooked, however, the fact that most of the bird deaths were of the young (Dr. Charos), and that the young and the elderly are susceptible to neurotoxins.

Because the isolation is not pure, containing cellular material, possibly other viruses, and unknown genomic structures, then the specific tests can at best only confirm or reject the assumptions of the arbovirus-chasing epidemiology. PCR can multiply genomic structures a billion times or so in order to identify a suspected virus and yet not return a tangible quantitative value regarding the original virus being amplified. The PCR technicians amplified the said NYC WNV genomic entity repeatedly, through 40 cycles. Generally, with PCR technique, a low amplification per cycle can be 60% and a high number of cycles can be 35. This calculates to a huge exponentially amplified end-product which can used for genetic fingerprinting, i.e., matching with the cataloged WNV virus genome descriptions at GeneBank. It is clear that WNV has not presented itself as a substantial entity.

There are no conclusive quantitative studies regarding NYC WNV according to the Ft. Collins laboratories as of April 2000. Without quantity the virus identity remains a mere anecdote, not a proof of disease cause.

The predominantly identified virus found by Dr. Lipkin in 4 NYC human dead was the Kunjin virus, not previously associated with human death. WNV was not described re the 5th victim, though clinically and epidemiologically this 5th victim fit the description of the WNV encephalitis.

The problem of quantity has also been the Achilles' Heel of arguments for HIV causality. Molecular biologists have compared the chemistry of many viruses and devised a dendogram (tree diagram) describing the line of structural evolution. WNV and HIV are both shown as similarly removed from the line of classical virus evolution. (_____)

 

Summary and Conclusion

The thousands of crows that died with neurological disease symptoms in the New York City region during the summer of 1999 were young crows, not adult crows (cyc) -- inexperienced crows which could not easily establish themselves in prime, environmentally safe territories. They must compete for territory and they are not migratory. (yct) Generally, crows have a wide variety of nutritional options, they can live off roadkill, and as such have evolved a strong immune system in terms of viruses and bacteria. Crows would thus be the last kind of animal to die of a virus and the first to die of industrial toxins. (cst) During the same week that the NYC was declaring the West Nile emergency the NYSDEC was preparing to release autopsy reports that indicated toxic-cause for the crow deaths, but these were then promptly held back. (ada) Because crows are not migratory they would be the last birds to be exposed to the West Nile virus, which is a mild virus, not usually known to kill birds. (wnn)

These crows (and human encephalitis victims) died in one of the world's major industrial areas during a period of record-high CNS disease-causing photochemical pollution, which included tremendous amounts of the most highly produced neurotoxin in the world, MTBE -- along with other dangerous petroleum fractions such as benzene. The tri-state region is ranked nationally as containing nearly the most neurotoxic atmosphere (ozone, photochemical smog) in the nation, based on EPA ozone measurements from 1996-1998. 1999 was at the highest levels since the late 1980s. The epicenter of the crow and human deaths occurred within the highest atmospherically polluted areas within this industrial region, downwind from the heavily polluted SE Bronx, La Guardia Airport, near a conflux of 4 expressways running from the New York boroughs and Long Island to the Bronx via the Whitestone Bridge. (wst) Similarly, other recent West Nile epidemics occurred where there is extreme air pollution: Volgograd (Russia), Bucharest (Romania), Haifa (Israel). These areas with oil refineries and steel mills.

The massive crow deaths of 1999 didn't occur in the remote mountains of Vermont. Scientific descriptions of the epidemic are profuse with technical laboratory details (tdt), however, they are minimal and obtuse with regard to environmental descriptions. (end)

When the statistician, Dr. Jay Gould, analyzed the Vital Statistics and correlated them with nuclear accidents (atmospheric plutonium pollution), he discovered data corruption and coverup by the government. Some of Gould's evidence included massive young bird deaths. The rationalization postulated by Gould for the coverup is the existence of antiquated national defense secrecy laws which have been needlessly extended to the utility industry (ref). Apparently no such rationalization exists for the petroleum and automotive industries (although air toxicology is handled under the Office of Air and Radiation) , however, the education and lobbying of scientific, medical, government, and media personnel continues to be overwhelmingly dominated by industrial interests. (tdc)

There has been opposition to the spray programs. People have become aware of the dangers (see NY Post cartoon 7/25/00) despite Mayor Giuliani's blinding mantra "Pesticides are harmless" (ref) (ref) Thanks to the work of environmentalists such as the NoSpray Coalition, it's coordinator Mitchel Cohen, environmental lawyer Joel Kupferman, and others. Many activists are Green Party members. With the lawyer Karl Coplan and aide Albert Strazza, both of Pace University, a suit has been filed in order to stop the pesticide spraying.  Joyce Shephard in Bayside with Richard Janniccio have worked hard. Elizabeth Shanklin of the Riverdale Greens has organized tremendous speaking tours to every community board in New York City. Dr. Joel Popson and Dr. Adrienne Buffalo have had the courage to speak of the dangers of pesticides. Lynn Gannett and David Crowe have done much virological research in line with the concepts of virologist Stefan Lanka. Robert Lederman has continued to detail the weekly events with his media appearance and news articles. Al Sharpton was one of the few prominent politicians willing to support the anti-pesticide movement.

These people and others have done much to educate the public, raising their voices when most of the medicos, politicos, and major environmental groups have been quiet. Curtis Cost and Valerie Shepherd (deceased) have been strong organizers and publicists. www.chem-tox.com has been a source of data regarding pesticide/disease. Florida State epidemiologist Dr. Omar Shafey found employment difficult after he attempted to release his unfavorable report on the malathion spray programs which the state of Florida had hired him to evaluate. Toxicologist, Dr. Simon, authoritatively spoke of the dangers of malathion and its byproduct malaoxin. Several radio stations such as WBAI have allowed the activists a voice. Much of this work is listed on www.garynull.com. The Audubon Society (national and New York State) has worked with the NoSpray Coalition to bring an end to the pesticide spraying. Groups such as NYCAP, SAFE, NCAMP, The NY League For Conservation Voters, and others have worked to end the pesticide spraying.

It was surprising, at the commencement of the spray campaign, when the Audubon Society, Sierra Club and other established environmental groups did not (apparently) respond vigorously, if at all, against the spray campaign.  They didn't reply to my inquiries, as I initially assumed they would be a source of political direction regarding the helicopters spraying malathion throughout NYS.