miércoles, 25 de agosto de 2010

European policy on biocides at a crossroads

Some days ago, I read in the daily newspaper El País about the publication by the renowned magazine Science of an article about the find of dangerous mosquitoes species in Europe disappeared 60 years ago.

Written by the European correspondent for Science magazine, specializing in infectious diseases and global health, Martin Enserink (Twitter), it is focused in the recent finding of a colony of yellow fever mosquitoes, (Aedes aegypti) in the Netherlands.

As the summary of the article says, “in the latest display of mosquitoes' predilection for modern travel, entomologists have found a small colony of the tropical species Aedes aegypti—also known as the yellow fever mosquito—in the Netherlands. The insects were found on and near two facilities of a company that imports used tires and presumably originated in the hot southern part of the United States. Aedes aegypti is an important vector not just of yellow fever but also of two other viral diseases, dengue and chikunguny”

Used tires are great habitats for yellow fever mosquito because its ideal place for living are stagnant waters and used tires trend to accumulate rain water… stagnant waters in movement.

The discoverer has been the Dutch entomologist Ernst Jan Scholte who declared that although in this case Netherlands winter will terminate with them, if the mosquito spreads in the southern countries in Europe the problem will have a very different face.

In recent times, a lot has been written and published about the connection between the climate change and the spread of tropical disease in, until today, temperate climates. Nevertheless, the conquest of Europe by the mosquitoes species has no such an obvious link because the climate until half of 20th century was not in question. In fact, we are talking about a re-conquest.

Like it or not, our defense against mosquitoes, against the yellow fever or dengue, then and now, are biocides. Chemical products that defend us against the cruel nature… if someone has ever seen one of his son dying, perfectly knows what kind of cruelty I am talking about…

In my modest opinion, and in opinion of many actual experts, the European policy about Biocides, translated into Directive 98/8/EC, is unbalanced. The European Institutions have designed this policy to restrict, as far as possible, the use (and as consequence, the spread in environment and the effect on our health) of chemicals, but the point is… where exactly is the limit “as far as possible”?... are we going beyond the limit?.... I hope not to see the outbreak of a plague of yellow fever again in Europe to check it…

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2 comentarios:

JL Salgado dijo...

thre years ago, it was aedes albopictus (chikunguny) that stil remains in Itlay and Spain, ... [Source: ECDC, http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/] that may have consecuences as OHSAS, for workers at open air! ...

Anónimo dijo...

I had a teacher who always said "I know how to defeat AIDS. Get it sprayed in de air and transmitted via breathing and only strongest will survive". Obviously it is an extreme example but, where is the limit in biocide using too? Are we forgetting the training of our immunologic system but its life cost?