California Alliance to Stop the Spray

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What You Can Do



Northern California Cities
Scheduled to be
Sprayed with Pesticides

starting August 2008
...and every 30-90 days for two to ten years!

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) plans to continue carry out a USDA-funded program to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM), an insect which has been here for decades without creating any crop damage! Independent scientists say that the moth is not an emergency, but the plan to eradicate it is!

It's not Safe!

  • The spray contains chemicals known to cause cancer, mutations and hormone disruption.
  • After Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties were sprayed in fall 2007, over 640 people reported health complaints!

It's not Effective!

  • Scientists say the moth has been here too long and is too widespread to be eradicated.
  • The LBAM Eradication Program is attempting to eradicate the moth with a set of tools designed only to limit its spread.

It's not Necessary!

  • The LBAM has been in New Zealand for 100 years; it is successfully controlled there almost exclusively by insect predators.
  • After decades in California, the LBAM has created no documented damage to crops or natural areas.

Learn More:


Why does the State of California want to eradicate the LBAM?

The Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) has been declared a "Class A" pest which requires eradication by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), despite convincing evidence that it does little damage to crops or other plants.

It's not too late for the USDA to reclassify the LBAM based on evidence now available that it was misclassified.

Learn more and take action.

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Will the CDFA's LBAM Eradication Plan work?

Scientists have concluded that the plan has a 0% likelihood of eradicating the LBAM, in part because it is already an established population in California.

Learn more.

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What is in the spray?

CheckMate, which was sprayed on Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, is a pesticide concoction that includes a synthetic chemical designed to mimic the moth pheromone. Some of the other ingredients have been found to cause cancer, mutations, and hormone disruption.

Learn more.

This chemical cocktail is encased in plastic microcapsules small enough to lodge deep in our lungs. The capsules are designed to time-release the chemicals, so the danger remains long after the planes have landed.

More info about particle size.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has said that they haven't decided yet what pesticides they plan to spray on our communities next!

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Is it safe?

Spraying of this chemical cocktail already happened in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties last fall. Thousands of people were sickened by the spray, and some remain ill. Community members issued a report documenting 643 reports of symptoms.

For more information, read the health report and also the report on effects on animals following the spraying in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties.

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Isn't the spray natural?

No. The California Department of Food and Agriculture calls the spray "pheromone application." However, there is not one drop of natural moth pheromone in the spray. It does contain, along with other chemicals, a synthetic chemical reportedly formulated to mimic LBAM pheromone. The spray is an experimental chemical cocktail encased in plastic microcapsules small enough to lodge deep in our lungs. The capsules are designed to time-release the chemicals, so the danger remains long after the planes have landed.

Read more info here and here.

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Isn't it necessary?

The LBAM is successfully managed in New Zealand without the use of pesticides. For more details, read The New Zealand Report on IPM Management of LBAM.


Scientists estimate that the LBAM has been in California for decades, and no crop damage has been documented. If it's not a problem, maybe it doesn't need to be 'solved' at all!

Learn more: Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) 101

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With all the environmental protections we have in CA, how can the government do this?

The requirement for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was bypassed when the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) instituted a State of Emergency. Now Superior Court judges in both Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties have ruled that there is no emergency, and that an EIR must be completed before spraying continues.
Learn more:
In other words, the aerial spraying conducted on Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties in fall 2007 was enabled by a declaration of a false state of emergency. This false state of emergency still stands in all other California counties and must be challenged immediately.


The California Alliance to Stop the Spray (CASS) believes that the laws already in place, including both the U.S. and California Constitutions, should be sufficient to protect Californians from the CDFA's LBAM eradication program, but that those laws are not being followed. A list of laws being violated by this program can be found here. This is excerpted from the report, Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) Economic Impacts and Solutions. Read the report.

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Won't the LBAM cause major economic damage in California if we don't stop it?

The LBAM has been here for decades, and to date there has been NO documented crop damage. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) used faulty crop damage projections that inflated the estimated costs to the state from the moth.

On the other hand, the LBAM Eradication Program itself poses a significant economic threat to the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas, as detailed in CASS's new report, "Economic Impacts and Solutions". According to our report, negative economic impacts to the tourism industry, property values and organic farming could be vast.

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What are "ground spraying," "sticky traps," "twist ties" and "stingless wasps?"

The Light Brown Apple Moth Eradication Program developed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) includes not only aerial spraying but also "ground applications" of pesticides including on private property including:

--Application of a toxic goo to trees and telephone poles on public and private property--3,000 per square mile!

--"Twist Ties"are large wire hangers infused with pesticides and hung from trees on public and private property, 30-40 per city lot, within reach of climbing children and animals. See photo.

--"Sticky Traps" contain chemicals including the synthetic moth pheromone, and are being used both to catch moths for counting and as part of the ill-advised eradication program. One of the many problems with these traps is that they also trap and kill other insects, including honeybees, which are already declining in number at an alarming rate due to Colony Collapse Disorder, which may be a result of pesticides. See photo.

--Release of millions of parasitic wasps that the CDFA calls "stingless wasps." Forty-two million wasps will be released in Santa Cruz/Monterey area and 10 million in San Francisco.

Learn more here and here.

View the CDFA's Light Brown Apple Moth Eradication Program description.

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Is my home, my workplace, my child's school in the area where spraying is planned?

Click here for a list of targeted communities.

Click here for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) map.

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There aren't any apple trees where I live. Why are they spraying cities?

That's a really good question. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) says they're spraying cities because that's where they've found LBAM and that they're trying to prevent the spread of the moth. Does the LBAM prefer cities? We won't know until the CDFA publicly releases not just the list of where they've found the moth, but also where they've looked for it and didn't find it. More info? Nope. The CDFA refuses to disclose this information to the public.

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Are they spraying for that moth that is eating my Oak tree?

No. The oak moth is not the same as the LBAM and is not targeted for eradication.

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Didn't the governor put a stop to this?

No, he didn't. Governor Schwarzenegger only delayed spraying in the Bay Area until August 17 (spraying had previously been announced to begin in Bay Area counties August 1). Though the Governor said that this delay was so that studies could be done of the health effects of the spray, only short-term health effects can be studied in this time frame. Long term and cumulative health effects are also of grave concern. Additionally, he has made it clear that he intends for the spraying to begin August 17, which indicates that he has already determined what the outcome of these studies will be. And the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has said that they have not yet determined what product they will use for the spraying they plan to begin in August. Are all of the products under consideration being tested? We don't know.

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What can we do?

Public opposition has so far achieved delays in the program and is the only thing that can stop it. This opposition takes many forms, ranging from letters to the editor to court challenges. Groups have formed to put an end to this dangerous toxic program. All that's missing is YOUR participation!

Check the sidebar on the left for ways you can get involved, and the sidebar on the right to find a group in your area.

CASS's new economic report provides a road map for getting us out of the current situation.

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If we don't stop this moth now, aren't they just going to spray us with worse stuff?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has threatened to spray with organophosphates if they are not able to continue the current spraying program. In New Zealand, the only time the LBAM became a problem is when organophosphates were used! The LBAM is not a problem in California, so eradicating it with organophosphates would be completely inappropriate, just like the current program.

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Who pays you guys at CASS?

California Alliance to Stop the Spray is a non-profit organization made up of people like you who are volunteering our time. We welcome your tax-deductible donations to support our work.

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Are these chemicals harmful to animals?

Yes! CheckMate, which was sprayed on Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties in Fall 2007, is especially toxic to marine life, yet the runoff of the spray washed into Monterey Bay! All of the treatment modalities planned and underway by the CDFA are harmful to animal life including pets and wildlife. More info



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How can I get updates on the situation?


Join the California Alliance To Stop the Spray (CASS) email list.

Also go to the right sidebar on this website to find the group closest to your area, and join their email list as well.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) allows people to sign up for their email alerts. You can do that here However, we have received many reports that people who sign up for this list are not notified of events that affect their geographical area.


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