NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

BEDBUGS TAKING A BITE OUT OF NEW YORKERS

February 19, 2008

New York City is feeling the biting effects of anti-chemical laws as a bedbug epidemic has infested every part of the city, says the Heartland Institute.

Consider:

  • The city received 7,000 bedbug infestation complaints in 2007, more than 10 times the number recorded as recently as 2004.
  • City Council Member Gale Brewer (D-Upper West Side) is taking the unprecedented step of sponsoring a bill to create a bedbug task force.
  • Brewer's bill would also ban the sale of reconditioned mattresses in the city; which are particularly susceptible to the bug.

But many experts doubt the efficacy of the bill.  "Banning the sale of reconditioned mattresses is a minimally effective Band-Aid approach to battling bedbugs, and it would harm lower-income families," said Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.  "Such a ban would not even be considered if government had not banned the sale of so many safe and effective pesticides."

Indeed, bans on DDT and other effective pesticides have enabled bedbug numbers to increase dramatically nationwide.   According to Angela Logomasini, director of risk and environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, insect infestations have become more difficult to treat as pesticides are targeted by environmental activist groups and subsequently banned by federal and state governments.

"For fighting bedbugs, it would be immensely helpful to have DDT as a potential option," Logomasini said.  "The national bedbug epidemic is very bad and getting worse."

Source: James M. Taylor, "Bedbugs Taking A Bite Out of New Yorkers," Heartland Institute, March 1, 2008.

 

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