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MIAMI(CBSMiami) — The fight against the spread of the Zika virus in South Florida is calling for major measures in curbing the mosquito population.
In the pre-dawn hours, planes are spraying down small doses of the insecticide Naled – targeting the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which spread the virus.
Here’s what you should know about the insecticide:
- Naled has been used for many years and kills mosquitoes on contact, according to Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) insists the pesticide is safe. When used in small amounts, they say it does not pose a health risk to people or pets.
- In Puerto Rico, officials refused to use the chemical over health concerns.
- According to Dr. Naresh Kumar, a Professor of Public Health at the University of Miami, Naled is considered a neurotoxin. He says it will directly affect people’s nervous system.
- Residents do not need to do anything as a precaution during spraying but if they have heath concerns, they should stay indoors.
- Naled is sprayed out in very fine droplets so it stays airborne. They say the amount sprayed is about two tablespoons for an area about the size of a football field.
- If far higher levels of Naled are used than those used to spray mosquitoes, it could cause a person to salivate more, feel numbness, headaches, dizziness, tremors, nausea, abdominal cramps, sweating, blurred vision, difficulty breathing and a slowed heartbeat, according to the Florida Department of Health.
- Florida Health officials said there is no proof that contact with Naled can cause cancer in humans.
- Once it kills the mosquito, Naled breaks down and does not leave residue behind.
If you think Naled might be making you sick, call the Department of Health at 1-800-606-5810. For more information on Naled, click here or call the Florida DACS Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control at (850) 617‐7997.