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WASHINGTON STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS VOICE SUPPORT FOR GYPSY MOTH SPRAYING CAMPAIGN

 WASHINGTON STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS VOICE SUPPORT
 FOR GYPSY MOTH SPRAYING CAMPAIGN
 OLYMPIA, Wash., April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- With aerial spraying for Asian gypsy moths slated to begin in King and Pierce counties tomorrow, state health officials today reiterated their support for the extermination program.
 The pesticide to be sprayed, Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki, or B.t.k., is a naturally occurring bacterium found in soil and is not a chemical pesticide.
 "B.t.k. is toxic only for caterpillars," said State Health Officer Mimi L. Fields, M.D., M.P.H.
 The spray is about 60 percent water.
 State health agency staff have examined all the ingredients of the pesticide. In addition, they have consulted with health officials from many East Coast and Midwest states where B.t.k. has been applied in urban areas for over 25 years against similar insects.
 All research indicates that B.t.k. has an excellent safety record for humans. Infections from B.t.k. have not been identified as a problem in either healthy or in immuno-compromised individuals. However, the state health agency still feels it is prudent for all individuals and particularly those with leukemia, AIDS, or some other physician-diagnosed deficiency to remain indoors during the spray application.
 Suggested precautions include:
 -- Remaining indoors for about 30 minutes after the spraying has stopped;
 -- Waiting until moisture from the spray and dew has dried on grass and shrubs before allowing children to play outside;
 -- Washing hands and other exposed skin with soap and water. Should the spray get into the eyes, simply rinse with water.
 "Even if you're unable to follow these precautions, it is unlikely B.t.k. will cause any health effects," Fields said.
 The spraying is scheduled to begin Tuesday at about 6 a.m. and be completed by 7 a.m. This will be the first of three spray applications over the next several weeks.
 Anyone with questions on the Asian gypsy moth may call 800-443-MOTH (6684).
 -0- 4/20/92
 /CONTACT: Mimi Nickerson of the Washington State Department of Health, 206-753-3237; or Craig Weckesser of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, 206-586-8494, or mobile, 206-791-4215/ CO: Washington State Department of Health; Washington State
 Department of Agriculture ST: Washington IN: SU:


SC-JH -- SE009 -- 0273 04/20/92 17:49 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 20, 1992
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