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Are Pesticides Killing Rhode Island Lobsters? Part II

The Newport City Council voted to ban the toxic chemical methoprene from the city's mosquito abatement program at their April 9 meeting.

The issue arose when Newport City Councilman Charles Y. Duncan called for a resolution that bans the use of any of the toxic poisons, such as methoprene, in the mosquito program. Methoprene is thought to be a contributing factor in the decline of the area lobster population.

URI scientific data

Professor David A. Bengtson, who chairs the Department of Fisheries of Animal & Veterinary Science at the University of Rhode Island, said that URI graduate student Mari Butler wrote a thesis published in 2006 on methoprene effects in Rhode Island. The study was done in conjunction with RIDEM and Dr. Al Gettman, the mosquito control coordinator and was funded by the Rhode Island Agricultural Experimental Station.

Bengtson said, "The key experiment that Butler did involved putting 3.5 grams of methoprene pellets into each of two catch basins that drained into Pt. Judith Pond. One week later, when the dissolved methoprene concentrations in the water should have been the highest, Butler added about 1,200 gallons of water to the system that flushed both catch basins to simulate a strong rain event. "The experiment was intended to introduce the maximum amount of methoprene into the pond's waters in a single event. Butler then sampled the pond waters immediately afterward at the outflow site and at 30 meters away. She then resampled an hour later.

"The results showed that of the 12 samples taken (replicate samples were taken at each time and place), two samples collected at the outflow showed methoprene concentrations of 0.05 and 0.06 parts per billion (ppb). All the rest, including others taken at the outflow, showed no detectable methoprene."

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