SCI 275 Malathion Risk Assessment | Pesticide | Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment 1

Malathion Risk Assessment November 29, 2008

Risk Assessment 2 The city council has been presented with a proposal regarding the use of the pesticide Malathion within the city limits of Genericville. This proposal has been brought forth due to the diseases spread by mosquitoes, such as West Nile Virus (WNV). It is the duty of the City Council members of Genericville to make an informed decision that is in the best interest of the residents of Genericville, the city council members, as well as the summer tourists that visit our city. Due to an enlarged mosquito breeding area after a season of heavy rainfall, recent studies have been performed in our wetlands. There are projections that there could be 50 cases of WNV in Genericville this year with two fatalities. With a population of 100,000, this would mean that one out of every 2,000 people will likely become infected this year without the use of pesticides. The Malathion pesticide program could reduce the number of cases from 50 to five, with less than a 20% chance of a fatality. These numbers are too significant to ignore. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) states that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have approved the use of Malathion on crops, in gardens, and in residential areas where mosquitoes are a problem. Additionally, Malathion has been used on humans for the treatment of head lice (2003). According to the EPA, “Malathion can be used for public health mosquito control programs without posing unreasonable risks to the general population when applied according to the label” (2008). The next area of consideration was the harmful effects Malathion may have on humans that have been exposed. The ATSDR mentioned that people exposed to Malathion levels no higher than that allowed by the FDA and the EPA have been found

Risk Assessment 3 to experience few or no health problems as a result of exposure (2003). Findings from the ATSDR also suggest that, “Malathion and its metabolites do not tend to accumulate in the body, and leave mostly in your urine within a few days” (2003). Those mildly affected by the spraying will likely be the people that live or work near the areas being sprayed, as well as the chemical sprayers themselves. Most of the population of Genericville will not be exposed to this pesticide. At this time, there is no sufficient evidence that Malathion causes cancer in humans. There also is no evidence that Malathion exposure is responsible for any human birth defects. There is also no evidence showing that this pesticide affects the ability to reproduce. However, Malathion can have potential health hazards if a person is exposed to higher doses. If a person who has been exposed to high amounts of Malathion receives proper treatment in a timely manner, they are likely to have a full recovery. It is my belief that these issues can be avoided by offering the community education programs and taking proper precautions against over-exposure. Chemical sprayers can wear protective clothing, and use breathing equipment while spraying. Signs can be posted, and the public can be alerted weeks before spraying begins. Spraying can take place late at night, when most people are asleep. This should pose only a slight inconvenience on those who may be affected by the spraying. There is also the concern that summer tourism could be affected if the mosquito infestation continues. It is believed by the community that if measures are not taken to control the mosquito population, the Genericville population will suffer economically, as many businesses have come to rely on summer vacationers.

Risk Assessment 4 In regard to the Generic River that runs through town, according to the ATSDR (2003), “in water, Malathion breaks down quickly by the action of the water and the bacteria in the water.” Therefore, it is unlikely that the river will be contaminated with high doses of Malathion that may be harmful to humans or animals. This would also apply to the wetlands along the banks of the river. After careful consideration and extensive statistical and toxicology research, it is my vote to approve the application program, and begin implementing the use of Malathion in Genericville. My evaluation has been done according to the four steps of risk assessment, and it is my belief that the potential risks to the community are relatively low, and can be avoided by taking the precautions mentioned above; therefore, the benefits of using the pesticide spray outweigh any possible negative effects.

Risk Assessment 5

References Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (2003). Public Health Statement for Malathion. Public Health Statement. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/phs154.html, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (2005). Toxicologic information about insecticides used for eradicating mosquitoes. Malathion (CAS Number 121-755). Retrieved November 30, 2008, from http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/consultations/west_nile_virus/ Malathion.html Environmental Protection Agency. (2008). Pesticides: Mosquito Control. Malathion for Mosquito Control. Retrieved November 30, 2008, from http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/mosquitoes/malathion4mosquitoes.htm

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