A biotechnology company called Oxitec has filed an application to field test the use of GE mosquitoes by releasing billions of them in 12 counties in California.Even though it began this experiment in May by releasing 12,000 GE mosquitoes into Florida, Oxitec still hasn’t released any data on the impact the impact that first experiment had on Florida’s public health and environment.
However the Berkeley City Council is considering formally urging the EPA to reject Oxitec’s proposal to release billions of GE mosquitoes into California.
Berkeley has been the first to take a stand in so many movements that end up spreading throughout the nation. Let’s make the next movement one that protects Alameda County from a biotech company using our home as a laboratory for its needless GE mosquito experiment.
We need urgent action to stop the biggest mass release of genetically engineered mosquitoes, and I’m hoping you can help spread the word to your communities, particularly in CA!California is poised to be the second state where genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes are released unless we demand otherwise. Earlier this year, half a billion GE mosquitoes were released in Florida. Now, 12 California counties may be targeted for an even larger release: Shasta, Yolo, Sacramento, Alameda, Stanislaus, Fresno, Tulare, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties.TAKE ACTIONWe need your help to stop the release of genetically engineered mosquitos in California. Here’s how you can help:
- This Tuesday, November 9th, 6pm PT, the City of Berkely is voting on whether to OPPOSE the potential release of GE mosquitoes in Berkeley. We want to support Berkeley’s proposal to oppose Oxitec’s application. Please write to the City Council in support of this, or call in to the meeting!
- Please see Center for Food Safety’s action alert.
- I’ve attached sample talking points that you can share with City Council. Feel free to amend!
- For more information, here is brief from Friends of the Earth on risk and concerns Friends of the Earth’s recent public comments to the EPA.
- Please email Dana Perls (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information on different ways you or your organization can support this fight.THE PROBLEMOnce GE mosquitos are released into the wild, there is no calling them back. The manufacturer, Oxitec, is racing to get the mosquitos released even though:
- No endangered species assessments have ever been done
- No studies on human health impacts have been done
- This could create hybrid mosquitos that may be more aggressive, more difficult to eradicate, and may increase the spread of mosquito-borne disease
- The targeted communities have not been consulted and have not consented to being part of this open-air genetic experimentBACKGROUNDThe EPA and Oxitec, a British biotech company, are proposing the biggest U.S. release of genetically engineered (GE) Aedes aegypti mosquitoes across 12 counties in California (Alameda, Riverside, Fresno, Tulare, Stanislaus, Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, Yolo, Shasta and San Bernardino), and another two years of releases in the Florida Keys. This open-air genetic experiment poses significant environmental and public health risks.The project is meant to reduce the numbers of Aedes aegypti mosquitos, only one of several mosquito species that can carry dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and yellow fever. However, scientists have raised concerns that GE mosquitoes could create hybrid wild mosquitoes which could actually worsen the spread of mosquito-borne diseases and which could be more resistant to insecticides than the original wild mosquitoes. A 2019 field study by researchers at Yale University confirmed that the GE mosquito’s engineered genes had spread into wild populations in Brazil.EPA HAS FAILED TO REGULATE GE MOSQUITOSWe also need your support to push the EPA to adopt appropriate regulations and to require mandatory risk assessments and oversight ahead of considering any more releases of GE insects. In Florida, where Oxitec has released GE mosquitoes as part of an experimental trial, community residents were not notified which cities or villages would be targeted until 3 days before the releases. Residents were not given advance warning about the exact date the releases were set to occur. And the EPA has still not provided any follow-up data about the experimental releases.Please email Dana Perls (email@example.com) for more info! THANK YOU!