Outbreak of BED BUGS on British Airways flight from the U.S. to London

  • One passenger claims they were ‘nipped at 30,000ft,’ and eggs spotted
  • The Boeing 747 was taken out of service on landing, and fumigated
  • British Airways says that reports of bed bugs on board are ‘extremely rare’ 

An outbreak of bed bugs caused a British Airways passenger plane to be taken out of service.

On a flight from the US to Heathrow last week, staff are believed to have spotted the parasitic insects and logged the issue.

The outbreak caused one row in the economy section of the plane to be closed off during the Transatlantic flight.

A British Airways Boeing 747 was taken out of service after bed bugs were discovered on board last week

A British Airways Boeing 747 was taken out of service after bed bugs were discovered on board last week

One passenger told The Sun that they were 'nipped at 30,000ft, while others reported seeing 'eggs'

One passenger told The Sun that they were ‘nipped at 30,000ft, while others reported seeing ‘eggs’

The Sun reports how ‘one passenger was nipped at 30,000ft and others saw the bugs and their eggs.’

Once the Boeing 747 had landed in London, British Airways launched an investigation. The aircraft was inspected and removed from the flight schedule while the issue was resolved and the plane was fumigated.

However, days later another ‘severe’ infestation was reported as the same plane flew from Cape Town to London, according to The Sun.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Will We Be Forced To Welcome Our Insecticide-Resistant Bed Bug Overlords?

Bed bugs

February 23, 2016 | by Keith Wagstaff | Forbes

Bad news for people who hate bed bugs. The insects are developing a resistance to widely used chemicals, according to a new study.

Researchers tested bed bugs taken from homes in Cincinnati and throughout Michigan, and found “high levels of resistance” to neonicotinoid insecticides.

Bed bugs were a big problem until the 1930s, when use of DDT kept them in check. Then came Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” in 1962 and concerns over the environmental and health effects of DTT.

Over the last few decades, thanks to the rise of international air travel and declines in the usage and effectiveness of DDT, bed bug infestations have exploded. In 2015, nearly every pest control professional (99.6 percent) had to deal with bed bugs. That is up from 25 percent in 2001, according to the National Pest Management Association. Neonicotinoids looked like at least one solution to the problem — until now.

“It’s a constant arms race,” Richard Pollack, an entomologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, told me in an interview. “We find something new, it works, and then they use Mother Nature’s laboratory to come up with ways to get around it.”

The resistance to neonicotinoids might be new, Pollack said, but it’s not unexpected. Insecticides can be incredibly effective for decades at a time. But if even a tiny percentage of bed bugs are resistant, they will survive and reproduce, eventually creating entire populations that can’t easily be killed off.

In the study, published recently in the Journal of Medical Entomology, researchers found that the bed bugs from Cincinnati and Michigan were far more resistant to four types of neonicotinoids (acetamiprid, dinotefuran, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) than bed bugs raised in a colony maintained by entomologist Harold Harlan.

Thanks to the “detoxifying enzymes” their bodies produced, the bed bugs from Cincinnati and Michigan were 33,333 times more resistant to acetamiprid than the colony-raised bed bugs. They were more than a hundred times more resistant to the other neonicotinoids, as well.

So, should we simply welcome our new insect overlords and resign ourselves to waking up covered in itchy red bites?  Not so fast, according to Pollack.

“A lot of things bed bugs have become resistant to still work,” he said. In other words, if one pesticide doesn’t kill your bed bugs, pest control workers can just try several of them until one does the trick. Chances are the bed bugs in your home won’t be resistant to them all. There are other options out there too, like fumigation and applying extreme heat to a home. (Yes, houses have caught fire during heat treatments. Nobody said insecticide alternatives were perfect.)

To be clear, it’s not good that in some areas, human beings have one less weapon in their arsenal when it comes to killing bed bugs. But that doesn’t mean that people won’t develop new pesticides— potentially ones that are more effective and less toxic than old chemicals like DDT.

“We are in a free market economy,”Pollack said. “There is money to be made by developing new products.”

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS … WHILE IN THE AIR – PESTICIDES TAKE FLIGHT?

Do you think she’s spraying Febreze?

Pesticides on Planes: How Airlines Are Softly Killing Us

Truthout.org | 16 June 2015 | By Maryam Henein

Disinsection is a routine procedure in which insecticide is either sprayed in certain aircraft cabins - while passengers are on board - or applied to the internal surfaces of the aircraft before boarding.Disinsection is a routine procedure in which insecticide is either sprayed in certain aircraft cabins – while passengers are on board – or applied to the internal surfaces of the aircraft before boarding. (Photo: Travis Olbrich/Flickr)

How many of you have felt sick following a flight, only to chalk it up to a virus or sinus infection you caught from a fellow passenger? What if I told you, you may have been poisoned by pesticides on the plane without knowing it?

If you have a fear of flying, the terror just catapulted to a whole new level.

While booking my ticket to Rome, Italy, a few weeks ago, the agent quickly read a TSA disclaimer that had me do a double take. So much so, that I stopped her in her tracks and asked her to repeat herself. Basically, if I wanted to travel, I had to agree to the airline’s right to apply pesticides on the plane. In other words, I had to willingly agree to be exposed to poisons.

The routine procedure is called Disinsection. A seemingly made up word.

Disinsection is permitted under international law in order to supposedly protect public health, agriculture, and the environment,” states the Department of Transportation.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization, certain aircraft cabins are sprayed with a ‘quick-acting insecticide’ immediately before takeoff, while passengers are on board.

Alternatively, they sometimes treat the interior of the aircraft before passengers come on board, using a “residual-insecticide aerosol.”

Lastly, they also can apply “residual insecticide to all internal surfaces of the aircraft, except those in food preparation areas.” So breath deep and make the most of that recycled air!

Chemical Attacks Amid The Friendly Skies

I personally don’t think being subject to a pesticide spray while I am stuck in a pressurized cabin is protecting my health; it’s just the opposite—it’s an assault. What happens to people with asthma or someone like me who suffers from an auto immune condition and is uber sensitive to chemicals?

When I started sharing my findings, it didn’t take long to find a victim. “I’ve been feeling like crap ever since I arrived,” says Heather Greene, a farmer from Oregon, taking the critical food studies program at GustoLab Institute with me in Rome. “My ankles swelled up and I still feel like a have a sinus infection. When I did some research I found out that I was suffering similar symptoms to others who had come into contact with insecticides on planes.”

If you are a passenger concerned about exposure or feel unwell after being sprayed while on an aircraft for disinsection, the WHO really downplays concerns and symptoms, and denies any link between illness and airline spraying. Their website states that there’s “no evidence that the specified insecticide sprays are harmful to human health when used as recommended.”

Meanwhile, individual airlines then use the WHO to justify their actions, stating things like, “Well WHO says disinsection is safe.”

I say WHO cares?

Large amounts of a mild poison, in an enclosed space over long periods of time? Do we really need science’s input on this one?

The most widely used pesticides for aircraft cabins are synthetic pyrethroids, particularly the chemicals d-phenothrin or permethrin. These are synthetic variations of a chemical found in the chrysanthemum that kills by interfering with insect nervous systems.

And they do affect human health, and not in a positive way. Take the prison guard who developed strange symptoms after being exposed. Also, multiple studies have revealed a link between permethrin and Parkinson’s disease.

“With little ventilation and in such a closed space, spraying pesticides on airplanes while passengers are still on board is troubling, particularly for sensitive groups like children, pregnant mothers, the elderly, and those with chronic conditions,” says Drew Toher Public Education Associate at Beyond Pesticides.

“Even if people are not present during spraying, pesticides applied in such an environment present a risk of residual exposure.”  Passengers and employees sealed in a chamber that has been gassed for hours.

Spraying of pesticides on planes with chemicals like phenothrin, a neurotoxin, carries the risk of causing cancer and auto-immune diseases as lupus, Parkinson’s disease and memory loss among others.

Residual disinsection has been found to pose a hazard to flight attendants.

Accumulating Effects

Delta for instance, claims it doesn’t spray while passengers are on board, treating with residual applicants or spraying before passengers board instead. And then one in every eight weeks the entire plane is immersed in a “cloud of stuff” for extra precaution measures. Incidentally, the wait time before humans board is only 45 minutes following an application.

Check before you fly with your airline carrier on what they use for “disinsection” (pesticide procedure) in their planes, esp. if you are flying international.

Should fliers worry about pesticide spraying on planes?

Such “disinfection” occurs every day [airline passengers being sprayed with pesticides before flights] in countries all around the world. And, yes, even U.S. airlines engage in certain forms of the practice, though usually spraying is not done when passengers are onboard. As for the debate over the potential dangers of spraying vs. the potential dangers of airborne diseases? It’s an issue many affected passengers clearly need to know more about—prior to booking.

To spray or not to spray

It can be disconcerting to suddenly be sprayed with pesticides while locked in a pressurized tube. I’ve experienced this myself in several countries, most recently four years ago in India. Conversely, we’ve seen time and again how quickly air travel can allow insect vectors to transmit such deadly diseases as malaria and yellow fever. There is a need for greater information about both types of dangers.

The methods used to disinsect can vary by destination and airline. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations-chartered International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have established two primary methods: 1) spraying aerosol insecticides in the cabin while passengers are onboard, and 2) treating the airplane’s interior surfaces with a residual insecticide when passengers are not onboard. A third method—often used in Panama and American Samoa—is to spray the cabin when passengers are not on board.

If you’ll be flying internationally and you’d like to know more about airline policies on pesticides, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) provides a detailed overview of what to expect at “Aircraft Disinsection Requirements.” This page, which was recently updated, states the following countries currently require aerosol spraying of in-bound flights while passengers are onboard:

• Cuba
• Ecuador (Galapagos and Interislands only)
• Grenada
• India
• Kiribati
• Madagascar
• Seychelles
• Trinidad and Tobago
• Uruguay

Furthermore, the following countries require residual treatments or spraying when passengers are not onboard for all in-bound flights:

• Australia
• Barbados
• Cook Islands
• Fiji
• Jamaica
• New Zealand

In addition, there are other nations—including several popular destinations for tourists—that require disinsection on selected flights from certain locations. You should learn more if you’re flying into these countries from potentially infected areas:

• Czech Republic
• France
• Indonesia
• Mauritius
• South Africa
• Switzerland
• United Kingdom

Are there risks?

If you’re concerned about disinsection, individual governments and airlines are key sources for further information. And you may want to consider the primer for air travelers provided by WHO. In 1995, WHO issued a report stating aircraft disinsection performed properly should be encouraged: “Although some individuals may experience transient discomfort following aircraft disinsection by aerosol application, there is no objection to any of the recommended methods of aircraft disinsection from a toxicological perspective.”

However, asthma sufferers are among those who should be aware of such “transient discomfort.” In 2010 the International Society of Travel Medicine published a detailed report on this topic.

WHO’s optimism did little to allay many fears. In fact, such concerns are not new, and date back decades; for years now environmentalists, medical professionals, academics and media outlets have questioned using pesticides inside cramped and sealed aircraft cabins. And travel blogs are filled with strongly worded opinions on the potential dangers. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention details concerns for aircrew members as part of its workplace safety initiative. Such concerns also can affect frequent fliers facing higher exposure to pesticides.

In 2012, two academics released “Quantifying Exposure to Pesticides on Commercial Aircraft,” a detailed report funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). After examining aircraft cabins and flight crews, the report concluded: “This study documents that flight attendants on commercial aircrafts disinsected with pyrethroid insecticides are exposed to pesticides at levels that result in elevated body burden and internal accumulation comparable to pesticide applicators, exceeding levels in the general U.S. population. It is expected that flying public would be similarly exposed to pesticides on those flights.”

Similar warnings have long been voiced by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), which represents almost 60,000 cabin crew at 19 airlines, and offers detailed reading on this topic. A spokeswoman for AFA says the union still has health concern about disinsection, noting: “AFA worked tirelessly to get the FAA Reauthorization bill two years ago to include a requirement for airlines to let passengers know that they’ll be sprayed with pesticides when they buy a ticket to certain countries. This legislation was passed, but the DOT hasn’t yet turned the legislation into a regulation.”

AFA also recommends alternatives to spraying, and supports the use of non-chemical means of disinsection, such as “air blowers at the passenger boarding door and specialized net curtains over the cabin service doors.” The spokeswoman says, “These options were initiated by AFA in 2003 and promoted by the DOT and [U.S. Department of Agriculture], but the momentum has slowed in recent years,” due to a lack of funding. Ultimately, AFA suggests alternatives to spraying will not come from the airlines, but must be regulated by the DOT.

Check with your carrier

While policies on disinsection are established by government agencies, individual airlines implement the methodologies. Some major international carriers—such as Air Canada, British Airways, Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic—provide details on their specific policies or links to the DOT’s overview. But you should contact your carrier if you have unanswered questions.

I reached out to the Big Three U.S. major network airlines—American, Delta and United—and asked about their specific policies. All claim they do not spray with passengers onboard:

• American states it only disinsects on aircraft operating to Port of Spain. A spokesman explains: “Spraying is done during overnight cleans for the aircraft. Maintenance clears the planes for up to two hours until it’s safe to re-enter.” Passengers with any questions are advised to contact Ryan Correa at ryan.correa@aa.com.

• Delta states that “spraying is performed without passengers or crew members onboard,” either prior to boarding or after deplaning. A source at Delta advises the two primary destinations for disinsection are Australia and Chile, although it occurs “occasionally” in West Africa.

• United states the carrier “carefully follows” all entry requirements for the nations it serves, and aircraft disinsection is required in some countries. However, the airline states: “No destination that United serves requires routine spraying while passengers and crew are on board.”

Proponents of current aircraft disinsection policies note that failing to address airborne disease is unthinkable, while those worried about harmful side effects recommend alternative methodologies. What seems clear is far too many airline passengers are unaware of such issues until they are faced with mandatory spraying, so the need for greater education is apparent. Even The Science Babe and The Food Babe could probably agree on that.

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