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Homework #9 -- Letter to the Editor

5 points

Due by Wednesday, November 19, 2014.

After recently being elected to the city council in your hometown, you find yourself caught in the middle of a battle over insecticide applications to kill mosquitos that spread the West Nile Virus.  Three of your fellow council members have sided with officials of the local health department who recommend aerial applications of insecticide throughout the city to reduce mosquito populations.  They point out that two WNV cases have already been confirmed in your county and any delay will only increase the incidence of sickness and death.  The other three council members have sided with an environmental action committee that opposes all uses of insecticide on public land.  They assert that the sprays are ineffective against mosquitoes, endanger wildlife, and cause respiratory distress in hypersensitive people.  You hold the deciding vote!

Your assignment is to browse several internet websites and explore both points of view.  Keep an open mind, but be wary of "hidden agendas".  After you have read enough to reach an informed decision, compose a short "letter" to the editor of your local newspaper stating how you will vote and explaining what considerations have led you to that decision.  Send me a copy of your letter via e-mail     (     There is no "right' or "wrong" answer on this assignment.  Your grade will be based on the clarity and pursuasiveness of your argument.

You can find many relevant websites by doing a Google search for "West nile virus insecticide", or you can use the links listed below:

CDC West Nile Virus Homepage

Mosquito Control and West Nile Virus

Is there proof of West Nile Virus in New York City?

Fact Sheet for Health Care Providers

Surveillance for Acute Insecticide-Related Illness

No Spray Coalition

The West Nile Virus Conspiracy


Submit your answers in class or e-mail to