On Aug. 18 the Florida Keys Mosquito Control approved a contract with Oxitec to release a half billion mosquitoes into our environment.
I attended the FKMC board meetings in July and August, where they took public comments. The overwhelming majority of comments were opposed to the release of genetically modified mosquitoes into our fragile Florida Keys environment.
The board claimed that the public voted in favor of this. The technology proposed back in 2016 was OX513a, sterile male experiment. This failed in the Caymans, Brazil, Panama and Malaysia, and was discontinued in India due to health concerns. The new proposed technology OX5034 is females to be released and tracked.
Oxitec held webinars that were sparsely attended where they controlled the questions, only answering the ones they approved and disregarded the rest. The public was led to believe that this experiment is to eradicate diseases such as dengue and zika, but that is not what Oxitec has said. We were also led to believe that this would reduce or replace spraying. Absolutely not true. The public comments over and over asked for this new technology put on the ballot for us to vote on.
Oxitec has lied over and over about their “successes” repeatedly to federal agencies and to a Congressional science and technology committee. The current administration just rubber stamped the request without reading or review. No EIS (Environmental Impact Study) has been conducted in regards to Monroe county endangered species and the Marine Sanctuary. The lobbying efforts kept the results and data of the Wolbachia trial on Stock Island from being published.
This would be a permanent experiment. Once released there is no retrieving them. The lasting, unstudied, permanent impacts to public health and environment cannot be recalled.
We need impact studies at minimum.