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California - Paradise Lost

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California – Paradise (and our vacation)Lost!

Our family has been planning a much awaited extended vacation to California this summer. We were taking our niece and her friends for a graduation celebration – but not any more.

We were planning to start our trip on the Monterey Peninsula with a long golf weekend end (the Peninsula has 36 golf courses, including Pebble Beach!), hikes in Big Sur, whale watching in Monterey Bay’s Marine Sanctuary and Carmel Valley’s wine country. We had equally wonderful stops and activities all the way to Marin County.

We are not going now! Beginning in June, California is going to begin an aerial spraying program over almost all the cities between Monterey and Marin County. They will spray 3-4 days per month, every month, for the next 5 - 10 years! They are telling people to stay indoors, keep your pets inside, and to wash children’s play equipment and cars immediately.

When I first heard of this I thought that it had to be a bad urban legend. Since we had had so been looking forward to this trip I did my own investigation. And it’s all TRUE. California is going to war against a moth. There appears to be much controversy as to whether the moth posses any real threat, but California is proceeding with the program.

They have already done two test sprayings in Monterey and Santa Cruz. The Monterey Herald reports over 640 people sought medical care as a result of the spray.

Again hoping that this was exaggerated I did some investigations of the chemical that they are spraying. Having a science background this was a fairly easy task, but what I found was very disturbing. First of all, California will not publish the full list of ingredients, something about protecting the company that makes the chemical. Here is what I found on the ingredients that they had published – in short, this stuff in very nasty and toxic and nothing that I am willing to expose my family to.

Here’s a partial list of the ingredients and some info on each. It’s more than you want to know, but once I got started the story just kept getting worse, I couldn’t stop. I wanted to find something that would make it OK to keep our vacation plans.

The chemical is called Checkmate LBAM-F, and contains:
(E)-11-TETRADECEN-1-YL ACETATE (
(E,E) -9,11 Tetradecadien-1-yl Acetate
Tricaprylyl Methyl Ammonium Chloride
1,2-benzisothiozoli-3-one
2-hydroxy-4-n-octyloxybenzophenone
Butylated Hydroxytoluene
Polyvinyl Alcohol


Active Ingredients - Pheromones
(E)-11-Tetradecen-1-yl Acetate
(E,E) -9,11 Tetradecadien-1-yl Acetate
11-tetradecen-l-ol acetate
Actual toxicity data of these pheromone components are lacking.


Inert Ingredients
I thought “inert” meant what the dictionary says, “no chemical activity”. Apparently in the pesticide world “inert” means ”does not enhanced the intended function of the compound”. So these chemical below are in the formula, but no do directly participate? Sounds like double-speak to me, but this is what they do to us humans.
Checkmate LBAM-F’s inert ingredients makeup 82.39% of the formulation
Tricaprylyl Methyl Ammonium Chloride) (TMAC) (Surfactant)
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) warn that this substance is extremely hazardous in case of ingestion, inhalation, skin and eye contact and that it causes severe skin and eye burns. Symptoms of inhalation exposure include irritation of the respiratory tract, burning pain in the nose and in the throat, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and pulmonary edema

1,2-benzisothiozoli-3-one (BIT)
BIT is a preservative associated with occupational asthma. Multiple accounts of occupational dermatitis have been reported with exposure BIT. In the EU, it is classified as irritating to the skin and as a potential risk of causing serious eye damage. BIT is a known dermal irritant at levels as low as 0.1% concentration.

2-hydroxy-4-n-octyloxybenzophenone
2-Hydroxy-4-n-octyl benzophenone is a UV light absorber of unknown health impact. However, related compounds in the benzophenone family have been shown to form estrogenic photoproducts, upon exposure to UV or sunlight In the European Union it is classified as an irritant that may cause sensitization upon skin contact and is irritating to the eyes, respiratory system and skin.

Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Studies have shown BHT to be carcinogenic, hepatotoxic, tumorigenic, mutagenic and teratogenic in animals as well as in human cells. MSDS sheets state that chronic exposure to BHT may case adverse reproductive and birth defects. BHT is classified an ecological toxin (OSHA) with specific toxicity to marine life.

Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA)
No human data on chronic exposure is available. Animal studies showed a drop in hemoglobin and erythrocyte (red blood cell) number with eventual complete coagulation inhibition. The possibility of carcinogenicity is seen in some animal studies. Animal data shows tumorigenicity.

Crosslinked Polyurea Polymer and Polynmethylene Polyphone Isocyanate (PPI)

Researchers at UC Davis published a study which revealed that the microcapsules in the LBAM formula ranged from 10-190 microns. The American Lung Association classifies aerosol particles of 10 microns in the size as particulate pollution (known as PMA10) that contributes to a host of adverse conditions, mostly, but no exclusively, respiratory in nature.

It seems that California is going to do spraying from trucks also. The stuff they are using for that makes the ones above seem like a party favor. The list is too long to print and by the time I got to this I know we WERE NOT GOING TO CALIFORNIA FOR VACATION!

Californians have a reputation for being “out –there”, but this is insane.

California is a great and beautiful place to visit. Looks like it is about to become the next toxic waste site.

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