Letter: Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District should stop spraying poisonous chemicals in our air

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2019, file photo, Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District biologist Nadja Reissen examines a mosquito in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

I’m a retired special education teacher. I taught special education for more than 30 years; the last 18 of which were in a self contained special education autism unit. Many times throughout the years I was asked what caused these children to be born with autism. I always felt it was due to toxins and chemicals in the air. Never did I guess it might include something people were intentionally spraying into our air shed.

Now we know the pesticides used by Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District are neurotoxins which cause damage to our health and the health of our children. Especially our unborn babies. Pesticides are now found in amniotic fluid, fetuses, and mother’s breast milk. Pesticides cross the blood-brain barrier and contaminate the womb, including the baby’s brain and impair the fetus’ development, permanently. Insecticides work by infecting the nerve cells of insects, but also work the same way on human fetuses and infants. The baby’s nerve cells are also molecular targets and damaged by the neurotoxins sprayed on purpose in our Salt Lake Valley! The damage to the nervous system from pyrethroids is comparable to that from the banned pesticide, DDT, and from lead, and is associated with impaired brain development, loss of intellect, and behavior problems. The research showing the toxicity of pyrethroids and links to autism is comprehensive. Attention deficit disorder, abnormal reflexes, mental and motor delays, and decreases in IQ in children are also associated with pesticide exposure. Studies found higher rates of autism with intellectual disability among children who lived near agricultural fields that used pesticides, and at similar concentrations to what the District has been using, and the risk increased further if the children were also exposed as infants.

Substantial medical research has established that pesticide spraying damages developing fetuses and contributes to autism in children. I ask that the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District discontinue the spraying of poisonous chemicals into the air that we and our babies breathe.

Tena Rohr, Salt Lake City

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