California legislators oppose release of genetically modified mosquitoes | TSLN.com
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California legislators oppose release of genetically modified mosquitoes

Eight members of the California legislature submitted a letter to the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), urging the agency not approve the release of genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes in the state without comprehensive review of the potential impacts on public health and the environment.DPR is reviewing an application for a research authorization permit from the biotech company Oxitec for the first experimental release of billions of GE mosquitoes in Tulare County.
“We believe that DPR should deny this research authorization permit because we have serious concerns about the safety, environmental effects and the ability to manage and contain genetically engineered mosquitoes,” the legislators wrote.“Significant scientific research is still needed to understand the potential public health and environmental concerns associated with the release of this novel insect prior to any approval,” the letter said.“
It is our understanding that while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did approve the GE mosquitoes to be released in California, the agency did not conduct a thorough scientific review of the impacts of this insect on public health or the environment. California must require more and better information prior to any approval.”
“Before we permit the use of genetically engineered mosquitoes, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation should provide for clear rules and a review of public health and environmental risks of releasing the insects in a public process,” said Assembly member Laura Friedman, a Democrat.
“There are too many unknown factors when it comes to how it could affect our biodiversity in the long run, including how this might influence populations of birds, bats, fish species, and other insects.”
The letter requests that DPR deny the permit because of concerns about the safety, environmental effects, and the ability to manage and contain genetically engineered mosquitoes.
“Significant scientific research is still needed to understand the potential public health and environmental concerns associated with the release of this novel insect prior to any approval,” the letter said.“We are pleased to see leaders from our state legislature taking action to protect public health and the environment from the unknown impacts of GE mosquitoes,” said Rebecca Spector, west coast director at Center for Food Safety, which released the letter.
“They rightfully are asking DPR to conduct a more comprehensive review and public meetings for residents that will be impacted, before approving this permit.”
–The Hagstrom Report