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Spraying for Beetles to Begin Friday

Spraying for Beetles to Begin Friday

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Sarah Dallof ReportingIn less than 24 hours, Utah County will begin spraying lawns in an effort to kill beetles harmful to the state's ecosystem. There are questions, though, pertaining to how safe the sprays are.

When Rebecca Wessman heard of Utah County's plans to use chemical sprays to eradicate Japanese Beetles, she immediately started to worry. "We want to have our children healthy and well," she said.

The California native says she became extremely ill all three times she was exposed to chemical insecticides. "I had blurring of vision, slurring of speech. I had pain in my muscles. I would lose control of things."

Tomorrow morning the yards of 2,300 Utah County homes will be sprayed with similar insecticides. The Department of Agriculture and Food says while certain people may be sensitive to the sprays, they're safe and have been used in several other western states.

Clair Allen, with the Department of Agriculture and Food says, "They're chemicals you and I can buy at Home Depot and Lowes."

They say they're critical to stop these little Japanese Beetles before they eat their way through hundreds of types of plants and put the state's horticulture, fruit and vegetable industries in jeopardy.

"If we allow this insect to build up a population, it's going to cost everybody more and more money every year to control the insect," Allen said.

According to the Department of Agriculture, kids shouldn't play in the yard for four hours after, and gardeners shouldn't grow vegetables for three years, but Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, citing a recent study, worry it's not enough.

Dr. Brian Moench said, "Exposure to these types of chemicals can cause long-term genetic damage to children that may not show up for literally decades later in their lifetime. It is really premature for anyone to say this program is safe."

If your home is to be sprayed, the Department of Agriculture and Food says you should have already been notified. People who had concerns were asked to get a doctor's note. The department has an alternate plan for their yards.

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