Proposed moquito release for Tulare County draws concern

E. Smith,  The Business Journal,  2022.

News of the approval to release genetically-modified mosquitoes in Tulare County and Monroe County, Florida has drawn the ire of activists who say the company behind the project has not provided data demonstrating the insects are safe. At the same time, the company says it has the studies to demonstrate the safety of the program it calls “another tool in the integrated approach to pest control.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has granted U.K.-based Oxitec an experimental-use permit giving the company the first green light to release male, non-biting mosquitoes in Tulare County and Monroe County in Florida, according to Rajeev Vaidyanathan, director of operations for Oxitec. The test is to see whether the engineered mosquitoes can reduce the number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that have spread throughout the country with the potential to carry tropical diseases such as dengue, yellow fever, Zika and chikungunya. Before they can begin the program, the California Department of Pesticide Regulations has to approve the proposal.

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