by Stephen Buel
State Senator Carole Migden of San Francisco is backing a ban on aerial spraying of the pesticide CheckMate until state agriculture officials can demonstrate that the synthetic hormone is both safe and effective, the Chronicle reported.
The ag department used aerial spraying of CheckMate in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties to combat the invasive Light Brown Apple Moth, but critics warn that it is not known whether the pesticide is harmful to humans. Migden said she will ask other area legislators to join her in her effort to delay the spraying. State ag officials now expect to begin spraying in June. The Light Brown Apple Moth is an Australian immigrant that officials fear could cause huge damages to the state's agricultural economy. But residents of counties that were sprayed with the pesticide last year reported a higher incidence of allergic reactions and other unfavorable responses to the spraying.