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West Nile Aerial Spraying Causing Concern

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Aerial spraying will be the next tool put to work in North Texas' ongoing battle with West Nile Virus infected mosquitoes.

Ground spraying is scheduled in at least four North Texas cities, but it's the pesticides dumped by planes that have some concerned.

"How long is it going to be hanging around before it's completely dissipated?" asked North Texan Linda Castillo. "I would be interested to know, how long it takes for it to settle… and how long the residue is going to stay on playground equipment."

As Castillo enjoyed playtime with her grandson, Hudson, at a University Park playground, she said she never expected to have to worry that her grandchild might one day soon be exposed to pesticides while getting a push on the swing.

But, state health officials insist aerial spraying is safe.

"It is the same chemical you have in ground spraying," State Health Service Commissioner Dr. David Lakey said. "When you look at the data from other cities that have done aerial spraying, it is our feeling aerial spraying is safe."

Chris Erickson lives near White Rock Lake, another area slated for aerial spraying. He says he'll be sure to keep his 7 and 8-year-old daughters inside during the spraying, so he isn't as concerned about pesticide exposure.

But Erickson does wonder if the aerial application is effective. "Mosquitoes breed so quickly and cycle so fast, it's pretty unlikely that you're going to keep people from getting bit by mosquitoes by spraying a pesticide on a broad application," he said.

As an extra precaution Erickson said he'd keep slathering on insect repellant. University Park mother of three, Elizabeth Hunt, said she would do the same.

"We've gone through more DEET this year!" Hunt said. "We have bottles at the front door, back door… every door in our house."

While no one is crazy about the overuse of chemicals, Hunt and many others say this summer they have more pressing concerns. "I think it's [the plan to aerial spray] a great thing," she said. "Having young kids and being exposed to it on a daily basis, yes, I'm more concerned about the West Nile.

While everyone is at risk of being affected by West Nile Virus, the very young and people age 50 and older are at a higher risk of developing a severe infection.

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