New state house legislation would require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to give residents a five business day notice before conducting aerial sprays.
The legislation is in response to the state’s use of aerial sprays to kill mosquitoes in an effort to keep Eastern Equine Encephalitis from spreading across Michigan.
The state has reported five people have died from the virus.
Under current Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development rules, residents are allowed to request an opt out 48 hours prior to aerial spraying. An area of 1,000 by 1,000 feet around the residence of a person who opts out is not sprayed.
Lynn Sutfin, with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, says opting out does reduce the effectiveness of the aerial treatments.
Sutfin says the department is reviewing the legislation but does not have a comment at this time.
Republican State Rep. Brad Paquette introduced the measure and says many of his constituents raised concerns about the spraying.
“I started asking my colleagues about it as well, and they had a lot of folks that were chirping in saying they didn’t know exactly what was going on and they didn’t know the chemical that was being sprayed,” he says, adding that the state did its best to respond to an evolving situation.
“So this legislation requires that there are at least five business days giving residents a chance to ask questions and make informed decisions within the opt out process,” Paquette says.
The state hosts a website that includs a list of scheduled spray dates and dates are flexible for weather related delays.