Zika, pesticides, larvicides, insecticides and general lack of environmental sense

By Dr. Alan Kadish

As the tragic births of kids with small head (microcephaly) continues we have failed to really find the culprit. Zika is an easy target and certainly one of the factors but….it’s not the whole story, read on. Argentinean and Brazilian doctors are on the right track by looking at one of the major larvicides, Pyriproxyfen. The full story is below my comments.

For those of you who have not traveled in South America it becomes very obvious that the environmental controls we take for granted in the US are not even part of the conversation. Clearly EPA standards and general hygiene are not recognized except in city proper areas and even then there is not real control of the use of insecticides, larvicides and pesticides in many countries. You can purchase highly toxic products in most of the common stores, without any training or licensure.  And the average person in these environments is getting exposed both from their food, air and water daily.

I will never forget my experience in Costa Rica, a few years ago. At one of the world’s most famous resorts a need to see before you die destination, our crew of 14 literally got almost universally ill. The culprit…. pesticides being sprayed everywhere including in the indoor area of our hotel rooms. Why…. to keep the place looking pristine and eliminate the bugs and other critters. It took some of our crew days to recover after leaving the area and medication.

The site of general refuse piled over mountain sides with the clearly hot humid conditions are a  perfect breeding ground for just about any mosquito or loads of other critters that create the perfect means of changing natures check and balances. The site of refuge in the countryside is fairly consistent and with the rain and heat…..you can only imagine the easy and ideal mosquito multiplication.

One of the amazing insults now suggested as your defense……..being told to use commercial bug sprays…..OMG. Let’s get this straight…. add to the toxic load and you will be ok….Really !! and especially if you’re pregnant, a child or ill you’re at even more at risk for adverse health issues. Add this to not warning folks to not apply to the skin only the clothing and it’s overwhelming that the obvious health disasters are in the making.

You don’t need to be a toxicologist to consider your alternatives. There are a number of natural products that are made from essential oils, cinnamon oil and lemon eucalyptus as examples, that work and appear to be less toxic and work.  Most of the natural food store carry some products. But if you’re pregnant, a child or ill you may not want to use even those products. We will have a listing of products shortly, so stay tuned.


Increase your intake of B vitamins, yes the smell appears to be a deterrent to mosquitoes and is non-toxic and inexpensive. Put up some bat, yes bat houses. Bet you didn’t know that a single bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes per day. Forget your perfumes and other smelly products…they can be attractants. Don’t leave areas with standing water, keep your garbage area as covered and clean as possible and don’t use commercial bug spray especially those that contain the chemical DEET. This is a potentially toxic product (neurotoxin)  and although it works, seek an alternative. If you’re thinking of the CO2 machines for your backyard….think again. They are effective at catching the mosquitoes but….they also deplete many other insects that are a necessary group for the rest of the ecological mix. And lets not forget proper clothing. Many fabrics and outdoor wear can be excellent for preventing both mosquitoes and other biting insects from finding your skin. Long sleeves and pant legs, with ties are a good option.

Use common sense and let’s address this crisis by taking a complete picture of what needs to be done. If you’re pregnant or considering a pregnancy, take all of the above precautions including realizing that the overwhelming number of biting insects that cause diseases are very few.

Have health concerns, call us at the Center of Health 541.773.3191.


Argentine and Brazilian doctors name larvicide as potential cause of microcephaly

Published: 10 February 2016

Are the Zika virus – and GM mosquitoes – being wrongly blamed? Report by Claire Robinson

report from the Argentine doctors’ organisation, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns,

[1] challenges the theory that the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil is the cause of the increase in the birth defect microcephaly among newborns.  

The increase in this birth defect, in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head and often has brain damage, was quickly linked to the Zika virus by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. However, according to the Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, the Ministry failed to recognise that in the area where most sick people live, a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was introduced into the drinking water supply in 2014. This poison, Pyriproxyfen, is used in a State-controlled programme aimed at eradicating disease-carrying mosquitoes.

The Physicians added that the Pyriproxyfen is manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese “strategic partner” of Monsanto. Pyriproxyfen is a growth inhibitor of mosquito larvae, which alters the development process from larva to pupa to adult, thus generating malformations in developing mosquitoes and killing or disabling them. It acts as an insect juvenile hormone or juvenoid, and has the effect of inhibiting the development of adult insect characteristics (for example, wings and mature external genitalia) and reproductive development. It is an endocrine disruptor and is teratogenic (causes birth defects), according to the Physicians.

The Physicians commented: “Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added Pyriproxyfen to drinking water are not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health places a direct blame on the Zika virus for this damage.”

They also noted that Zika has traditionally been held to be a relatively benign disease that has never before been associated with birth defects, even in areas where it infects 75% of the population.

Larvicide the most likely culprit in birth defects

Pyriproxyfen is a relatively new introduction to the Brazilian environment; the microcephaly increase is a relatively new phenomenon. So the larvicide seems a plausible causative factor in microcephaly – far more so than GM mosquitoes, which some have blamed for the Zika epidemic and thus for the birth defects. There is no sound evidence to support the notion promoted by some sources that GM mosquitoes can cause Zika, which in turn can cause microcephaly. In fact, out of 404 confirmed microcephaly cases in Brazil, only 17 (4.2%) tested positive for the Zika virus.

Brazilian health experts agree Pyriproxyfen is chief suspect

The Argentine Physicians’ report, which also addresses the Dengue fever epidemic in Brazil, concurs with the findings of a separate report on the Zika outbreak by the Brazilian doctors’ and public health researchers’ organisation, Abrasco.[2]

Abrasco also names Pyriproxyfen as a likely cause of the microcephaly. It condemns the strategy of chemical control of Zika-carrying mosquitoes, which it says is contaminating the environment as well as people and is not decreasing the numbers of mosquitoes. Abrasco suggests that this strategy is in fact driven by the commercial interests of the chemical industry, which it says is deeply integrated into the Latin American ministries of health, as well as the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organisation.

Abrasco names the British GM insect company Oxitec as part of the corporate lobby that is distorting the facts about Zika to suit its own profit-making agenda. Oxitec sells GM mosquitoes engineered for sterility and markets them as a disease-combatting product – a strategy condemned by the Argentine Physicians as “a total failure, except for the company supplying mosquitoes”.

The poor suffer most

Both the Brazilian and Argentine doctors’ and researchers’ associations agree that poverty is a key neglected factor in the Zika epidemic. Abrasco condemned the Brazilian government for its “deliberate concealment” of economic and social causes: “In Argentina and across America the poorest populations with the least access to sanitation and safe water suffer most from the outbreak.” The Argentine Physicians agreed, stating, “The basis of the progress of the disease lies in inequality and poverty.”

Abrasco added that the disease is closely linked to environmental degradation: floods caused by logging and the massive use of herbicides on (GM) herbicide-tolerant soy crops – in short, “the impacts of extractive industries”.

The notion that environmental degradation may a factor in the spread of Zika finds backing in the view of Dino Martins, PhD, a Kenyan entomologist. Martins said that “the explosion of mosquitoes in urban areas, which is driving the Zika crisis” is caused by “a lack of natural diversity that would otherwise keep mosquito populations under control, and the proliferation of waste and lack of disposal in some areas which provide artificial habitat for breeding mosquitoes”.

Community-based actions

The Argentine Physicians believe that the best defence against Zika is “community-based actions”. An example of such actions is featured in a BBC News report on the Dengue virus in El Salvador. A favourite breeding place for disease-carrying mosquitoes is storage containers of standing water. El Salvadorians have started keeping fish in the water containers, and the fish eat the mosquito larvae. Dengue has vanished along with the mosquitoes that transmit the disease. And so far, the locals don’t have any Zika cases either.

Simple yet effective programmes like this are in danger of being neglected in Brazil in favour of the corporate-backed programmes of pesticide spraying and releasing GM mosquitoes. The latter is completely unproven and the former may be causing far more serious harm than the mosquitoes that are being targeted.


1. Report from Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns regarding Dengue-Zika, microcephaly, and mass-spraying with chemical poisons. 2016. Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns. https://reduas.com.ar/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=109

2. Nota técnica e carta aberta à população: Microcefalia e doenças vetoriais relacionadas ao Aedes aegypti: os perigos das abordagens com larvicidas e nebulização química – fumacê. January 2016. GT Salud y Ambiente. Asociación Brasileña de Salud Colectiva. ABRASCO. https://abrasco.org.br/site/2016/02/nota-tecnica-sobre-microcefalia-e-doencas-vetoriais-relacionadas-ao-aedes-aegypti-os-perigos-das-abordagens-com-larvicidas-e-nebulizacoes-quimicas-fumace/

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Dr. Kadish is an unusual physician often referred to as a "doctor detective". His expertise is the evaluation and treatment of complex disorders, typically after other physicians have been stumped, is renowned. He provides care for all family members and has additional training in autistic spectrum disorders and chronic complex diseases.