Miami private school staff says mosquito spraying is causing sore throats, headaches

Residents worry about long-term effects of larvicide exposure

MIAMI – Teachers at a Miami private school say they have been feeling ill because Miami-Dade County's mosquito control team has been spraying larvicide over their school while students and employees are outside.

The consensus from folks at the Metropolitan International School of Miami is to spray mosquitoes earlier in the morning, before a large number of people will be exposed to the larvicide.

"(We've had) sore throats and headaches," the school's principal, Ines Lozano, said.

"It was bad because it was passing three or four times at 10 o'clock and 11 o'clock (a.m.)," the school's founder, Maria Kindell, said.  

Kindell works at the school and also lives nearby. 

"Yesterday, my grandchildren were playing with the leaves. They have a rash, so I think that it's too much," she said.

Only about 20 kids were at the school when the spraying occurred this week because it's summer session, but school officials worry about the 200 children who will be at the school next week.

"They have to pass only once, not four times, because then the level of intoxication is bad," Kindell said.

Ashley Galindez, who lives in the area with her four kids, worries about the effects of the larvicide. 

"The problem is you don't know the long-term effect of the spray or the Zika virus. You have to be cautious," she said. "We're all guinea pigs in this. All of us. So it's scary with the babies and stuff like that."

The county's mosquito control team said the larvicide is non-toxic and targets mosquito larvae. 

To correctly target the mosquitoes, county officials said they must fly low. They said they also have to fly when the sun is out, so the pilot can clearly see where he is flying.  

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.