Miami is using specialized trucks for the first time to kill mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, spraying what’s being called an environmentally friendly and organic bacteria called BTI. But a second chemical is sparking safety concerns, reports CBS News correspondent David Begnaud.
Early Tuesday, Buffalo turbine trucks drove through Miami Beach spraying BTI, which Miami officials hope will kill off Zika’s carrier, the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.
In August, the county began aerial spraying in Wynwood – a Zika zone north of Downtown Miami, alternating between BTI and a powerful neurotoxin called Naled.
Though effective, Naled is controversial. The insecticide was banned from the European Union and protested in Puerto Rico -- one of the hardest-hit Zika zones in the world. Officials there say Naled is dangerous for pregnant women and could result in their babies developing behavioral issues.
But the CDC and the EPA both insist it’s safe. Florida Governor Rick Scott said the CDC is recommending Miami Beach use helicopters to spray BTI. But Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco said the people in his community are opposed to the aerial spraying.
Grieco is calling on Miami-Dade County to stop using Naled altogether when they spray. CBS News has contacted the CDC, who said that the decision whether or not to aerial spray is ultimately up to Miami Beach.
The trucks spraying BTI on the ground will continue for the next four weeks.