Risk Assessment Decision
Genericville is currently faced with a decision that is being addressed by countless communities each year. How do we balance the problem with mosquitoes and their illnesses like West Nile Virus, with environmental problems caused by the use of a pesticide like Malathion? A risk assessment is then ordered because it helps estimate the probability that an event will occur and lets us set priorities and manage risks in an appropriate way.
Genericville is a city with economically diverse population of 100,000 that is highly dependent on summer tourism. A wide river runs through the center of town and wetlands that protect the city from flooding in the spring. These wetlands, along with the river provide a clean habitat for several species of birds and fish. They are also just one element of what makes our city such a popular vacation destination spot for many summer travelers. The same wetlands that house the birds and fish serve as a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes that spread West Nile Virus disease. According to the study in 2006, it was reported that the United States alone, there were 4,269 cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) with 177 fatalities (Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2007). In our city Genericville, about fifty people will be infected and two people will die from the West Nile Virus disease this year.
One relief to this problem is aerial spraying with Malathion. This spraying is to reduce the mosquito population by almost 90 percent and providing the same reduction in risk of West Nile Virus. The projected number of West Nile Virus cases would drop from fifty to five with less than a twenty percent chance of a fatality in each of the five cases.
Some people say that exposure to Malathion could be completely controlled by educational programs and precautions. During the spray of the pesticide Malathion, everyone needs to prevent contact with residues for a week after applications....
References: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (2005). Toxicologic information about insecticides used for eradicating mosquitoes. Malathion (CAS Number 121-75-5). Retrieved July 1, 2007, from http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/consultations/west_nile_virus/malathion.html.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2007). 2006 West Nile Virus activity
in the United States. West Nile Virus Statistics, Surveillance, and Control. Retrieved July 1, 2007, from http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/surv&controlCaseCount06_detailed.htm.
Ch 4.1 A Perspective on Risks retrieved from http://edugen.wiley.com/edugen/student/main.uni
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