Want A Say On GMO Mosquito Trial? You Just Got Another 30 Days

May 8, 2018
Originally published on May 9, 2018 1:06 pm

As the rainy season returns — along with the disease-carrying mosquitoes that reproduce in standing water — the public is getting another chance to comment on one proposed method for fighting mosquitoes.

The Oxitec company has an experimental use permit application in front of the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates pesticides. The agency this week opened an additional 30-day public comment period on the application.

People have until June 7 to submit their comments.

Oxitec has been trying for years to hold its first U.S. trial of the genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquito in the Florida Keys. Aedes aegypti is the species that can carry the zika virus and dengue fever.

The company had previously won approval from the Food and Drug Administration to hold its trial in the Key Haven neighborhood near Key West.

Many residents there objected and in November 2016, the county held a nonbinding referendum on the proposal.

Voters in Key Haven rejected a GMO mosquito trial, while voters in Monroe County as a whole approved.

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has voted to move ahead with a trial in the Keys — but Oxitec had to resubmit its application, which had earlier specified Key Haven as the trial site.

And the application has been moved from the FDA to the EPA. Oxitec is also applying to try the technology in Harris County, Texas (the Houston area).

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