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García Padilla: Federal Gov’t Has To Convince Me To Use Naled

By on July 21, 2016

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla intended to make a final decision this week over the use of the insecticide Naled to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus, but that decision would still be on hold following the most recent developments, the governor told reporters in Cabo Rojo on Thursday.

Alejandro Garcia Padilla2

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla

“To use Naled, [the federal government] has to convince me, and they haven’t done it yet,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief of Staff Grace Santana held a meeting with agencies’ heads at La Fortaleza to discuss the government’s next steps in its plan to use Naled to fight the aedes aegypti mosquito, which also carries dengue and chikungunya.

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed it had already shipped Naled to the island, although the Puerto Rico government has yet to make public its final determination over the use of the insecticide.

On Thursday, the federal Health & Human Services Department (HHS) stated that the shipments of Naled and Bti —a larvicide that is also part of plans to fight the aedes aegyptii mosquito on the island — arrived to Puerto Rico on Wednesday, July 20, and remain “stored and secured,” although it doesn’t disclose its location. The HHS added that it would not conduct any aerial spraying of Naled without the local government’s authorization, and that the shipment was made so it was immediately available if the García Padilla administration decides to go ahead with the plan.

For her part, Santana slammed the CDC for not providing exact information on the location of the Naled shipment, which is stored at the San Juan Port, after reports it was stored at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina. The chief of Staff added that legal actions are being evaluated.

The governor said the CDC’s was disrespectful in the way it handled the shipment of Naled to the island, and regretted that it was not done the right way. For García Padilla, the CDC’s action could violate local and federal laws, and raises more questions over the use of the insecticide. He said the administration would probably go to court on Thursday to prevent the chemical materials from being transported on the island without the local government’s authorization.  

The governor added that federal agencies have yet to address some of the concerns raised over Naled, and that a final determination wouldn’t be made before these questions are cleared.

Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the CDC have endorsed the use of Naled in Puerto Rico. Many local organizations and sectors of society have strongly opposed to the use of the insecticide, citing the negative health and environmental effects it could have.

On Wednesday, it was reported that the Naled shipment was sitting on the Isla Grande Airport in San Juan, but government officials later confirmed that the barrels contain Bti, and not Naled.

Several government agencies have fined the company that leased the hangar where the Bti was found, Santana indicated, but stressed that is not dangerous in its pure form, as opposed to Naled.

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