A North Carolina woman out walking her dog last month was sprayed in the face with a gypsy moth pesticide, and subsequently developed “a severe rash and other flu-like symptoms, breathing complications, and nausea for several days.” Unfortunately, her doctor can’t treat her properly because the company that makes the spray won’t tell him what’s in it.
Instantly, her eyes began to burn and as the chemicals seeped through from the misting, she was unable to open her eyes.
To make matters worse, Russano’s doctor explained that he could not offer her a diagnosis or treatment plan because the chemicals in the gypsy moth pesticide, known as Foray 76B, are trade secret ingredients owned by Canada-based manufacturer Valent Biosciences Corp.
“The doctor was stymied. He said, ëIf you don’t know what’s in it, I can’t help you.'” Russano’s husband Frank Russano said. “She cannot be tested, or treated for the rash, and now she’s developed this flu and we have no of knowing if the two are related.”
Residents in the area were warned about the spray beforehand, both in a town meeting and via postcard, although they were told the spray was safe. On the scheduled day, weather forced them to postpone the spraying by two weeks, but this time there was no notice other than a sign at the local fire station.
Besides all that, the helicopter distributing the pesticide was flying outside the designated spray area when it mistook the woman for a giant gypsy moth who had discovered how to domesticate dogs.
North Carolina’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences (NCDACS) has opened an investigation, but it looks like they’re just investigating why the pilot was out of range. There doesn’t appear to be any move on their part to force Valent Biosciences Corp. to tell the woman’s doctor what’s in the spray.
Frank Russano said he isn’t interested in making a “federal case” out of the matter, but would like a data base with a detailed account of the Foray 76B chemical content, so if his wife does develop adverse reactions to the spray later in time, they will be able to diagnose and treat any problems.
[State] investigators have visited the Corolla site and continue to be in contact with the Russano’s.
“They seemed to be apologetic, and sincere,” Frank Russano said. “We just want to make sure this won’t happen again or to anyone else.”