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It's a Bird, It's a Plane..Oh, No ...It's Aerial Spraying

The California Dept. Of Food and Agricultrue (CDFA) is in the midst of aerial spraying two synthetic pheromones, called Checkmate OLRF and LBAM-F, over large parts of the Monterey/Santa Cruz area. The first round of spraying took place on September 9, 10, 11, and 12th- many residents complained of adverse reactions to the spraying. 


Another round of spraying is scheduled to take place in late October, and the spraying could go on for months and years to come, and possibly through mid-2010.  The CDFA's campaign is to eradicate a species called the Light Brown Apple Moth, which is considered a threat to agriculture.


To spray the synthetic pheromone, two to three airplanes fly over the area at low altitude of about 500-800ft.  Citizens have been told to stay indoors, and to bring their pets indoors.  If they've left laundry outside, the State has said that it would be a good idea to wash it, as well as outdoor furniture.


Executive Summary Of Adverse Health Effects of Spaying


Based on 200 citizen complaints through October 10th, 2007:


More than 200 Monterey-area citizens have complained of unusual sypmtoms following the aerial spraying of a synthetic pheromone on September 9th-12th 2007.  Some of the reported adverse reactions were severe, and at least three required emergency medical attention at the Community Hospital of Monterey County.  Most of these citizen complaints were sent to a little-publicized email address,, and a corresponding post office box.  Adverse reactions could be more widespread, since many citizens do not know about this reporting mechanism.  Join overheadspraying/ to receive pertinent updates as they happen, talk to other like-minded people, and keep abreast of ways in which you can help by attending meetings, writing letter, ect...


Other Complaints have included:


Soar throats

Nasal congestion

Coughing or "wheezing"

Asthma attacks

Bronchial irritation

Lung congestion and soreness

Tightness in chest

Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath

Skin rashes (sometimes severe)

Eye irritation

Headaches (sometimes severe)


Muscle aches

Intestinal pain


Feelings of lethargy, malaise and an inability to focus


Some people have likened their illnesses to an allergic reaction.  One woman said "I feel like I am sick but I'm not sick." Some visited their doctors, yet others said they did not because of the time and expense.  A number of people said they had left the area during the spraying and experienced the symptoms immediately upon returning.  others said they experienced symptoms shortly after leaving their homes the morning after their neighborhoods were sprayed.  Some reported that several members of their families experienced unusual syptoms at the same time shortly after the spraying. 


Government Contacts:

Voice your concerns and opposition to the spraying by making some phone calls or sending email messages.  In addition to your mayor and city council, here are some contacts at the state level.  Also, please feel free to add contacts of your own.  Our calls can make a difference!


Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

General information (916) 445-2841(press #1, #5, #0)


Chief of Staff is Susan Kennedy


Ca Department Of Food And Agriculture

Public Affairs Officer: (916) 654-0462

800-491-1899 (press #1 #6)

Secretary A.G. Kawamura (he makes the final decision on spraying)

John Connell, the state's expert in insect

Steve Lyle (public affairs) in charge of public communication:

Nancy Lungren (spokesperson for kawamura)