Keller: Chemicals scare me more than West Nile

By Joshua Keeran - [email protected]

During last week’s Delaware City Council meeting, council member Lisa Keller questioned whether or not the city should continue to allow mosquito fogging to take place within city limits.

In following up on a concern brought to her attention by a resident over a recent mosquito spraying incident, Keller said she came across some chemicals in the spray that caught her attention as being “toxic.”

“Full disclosure, I’m a very natural-oriented person,” Keller said before stating that an information sheet provided by the Delaware General Health District notes the chemicals used to spray for mosquitoes can cause eye and skin irritations and allergic reactions.

She added the information also states the chemicals are “toxic to aquatic organisms and bees,” and while she is aware that “no one wants to die of mosquito-borne illnesses, West Nile isn’t something that people are dying from that I can read.

“West Nile, I decided, doesn’t really scare me that much. Chemicals scare me more than West Nile,” Keller said.

Instead of tackling the mosquito population by spraying chemicals, Keller suggested council work with the Delaware General Health District to help increase mosquito awareness and to promote other ways of protecting one’s self from mosquitoes.

No further discussion on the matter was conducted during the meeting.

Health district responds

A letter sent by Health Commissioner Shelia Hiddleson to the mayor, city manager, and council following the Sept. 25 council meeting states the health district is willing to discuss the issue of mosquito fogging with council at a future date.

“The Delaware General Health District is charged with protecting the population from natural and manmade threats to the life and well-being of the residents,” the letter states, and per the Ohio Revised Code as it relates to mosquito control, “a health district shall conduct surveillance, investigate disease threats, and disinfect or treat an area to prevent the spread of disease.”

Kontrol 4-4, a fogging chemical used by the health district, may cause allergic skin reactions and eye irritation, the letter notes, and for that reason, the health district analyzes local health care data to check for increases in eye- and rash-related complaints, and only sprays as a “last resort … when disease is found in the mosquito population or a human/animal is diagnosed with a mosquito-borne illness.”

To decrease the need for additional sprayings in the future, the health district states it is focused on educating the public about how to prevent mosquito breeding grounds and how individuals can protect themselves from mosquito bites.

Property owners wishing to be excluded from future fogging treatment can opt out by contacting the health district at 740-368-1700.

According to the health district, as of Sept. 26, the no-fog list consists of 35 properties or 0.3 percent of households within city limits.

Other business

Council member George Hellinger addressed ongoing concerns he and some residents have over the distribution of The Bag, a weekly advertiser distributed throughout the community.

Hellinger said while “a lot of people love it,” others see the product as “a pain” and “littering.”

He added while residents are given the opportunity to opt out of receiving it, many continue to receive it after opting out.

City officials agreed to investigate the matter.

City Manager R. Thomas Homan thanked Hellinger for his involvement in helping make the west side of the city safer and more accessible for pedestrians by suggesting the city install sidewalks on the north side West Central Avenue from the access drive at Ace Hardware to Lexington Boulevard.

Homan called the sidewalk extension project, which wrapped up recently, “long overdue,” and he added the goal is to continue extending it west.

“Already, people are asking about part two, which would go from Lexington (Boulevard) to Houk Road,” Homan said.

By Joshua Keeran

[email protected]

Joshua Keeran can be reached by email or at 740-413-0904.

Joshua Keeran can be reached by email or at 740-413-0904.