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Risk Assessment Essay

1154 words - 5 pages

Environmental Science SCI/275The spread of the West Nile Virus by mosquitoes has become an increasing health concern in Genericville. Genericville has a population of 100,000, which is economically diverse, and depends on tourism during the summer months. The increasing number of citizens that have become afflicted with the virus has become a major concern in Genericville. Since the report of a fatality, there has been an action initiated to eradicate the mosquitoes to aid in reducing the illness. Aerial spraying of Malathion, which is a hazardous insecticide, has been the suggested solution.A report by the CDC on the year 2006 reports that the activity of the West Nile Virus shows 4.269 reported cases with fatalities of 177 people in the U.S. Of the total 4,269 cases reported, 1,459 were severe, 2.616 were milder cases, and 194 were unspecified clinically (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007). The projections for Genericville, which have been concluded from experience, the testing of birds that are infected, and an increased breeding area for mosquitoes due to increased rainfall suggest that in Genericville, around 50 citizens will be infected and 2 citizens will die from the virus this year. The aerial spraying of Malathion is thought to help reduce the problems created by the mosquitoes. Aerial spraying should reduce the population of the mosquitoes by about 90%, and would be able to provide the same reduction of the threat of West Niles Virus. One can make the speculation that the cases of the virus would decrease from 50 to five cases, and there would be a 20% chance or less of experiencing fatalities in these five cases.The general belief is one where some individuals can tolerate high doses of the insecticide Malathion, while some individuals could show an increased reaction to even low doses of the insecticide. Since there can be mists after aerial spraying, all the citizens would be at some risk of inhaling the insecticide. The chemical Malathion is known to break down quickly. Individuals and children, which have a lower body mass will be at a chance to have an increased reaction to even low doses of the insecticide, and are at a higher risk of showing side effects from the insecticide. Citizens that are in proximity to areas that receive a higher concentration of Malathion also have a higher chance of exposure by skin contact, inhaling the mist, or ingesting food or water that contain Malathion residues. Educating the citizens with an emphasis placed on following the necessary safety precautions before applying the insecticide will help to reduce the risks.The general population of Genericville should not be exposed to Malathion in large amounts. However, there could be some citizens, which could be exposed to Malathion residues. Several studies have indicated samples of food and atmospheric samples contain Malathion. Citizens that will be at a risk of exposure to Malathion are the uneducated and the poor, especially if...

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