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1990 - Malathion Protest
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
Burbank Public Library
Burbank Events and Organizations Image Collection
Rights Information
Burbank Public Library, Burbank in Focus Office
Protestors at City Hall, protesting the use of Malathion in spraying of Medflies. According to wikipedia, a sudden invasion of medflies (Mediterranean fruit flies) descended on California and began devastating crops in 1989. Scientists were puzzled and said that the sudden appearance of the insects "defie[d] logic", and some speculated "biological terrorists" were responsible. In December 1989, a two-page letter addressing Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley was sent to the Los Angeles Times and Fresno Bee ostensibly from an "ecoterrorist organization" calling itself "The Breeders". The Breeders claimed that it was responsible for the summer release of the medflies as retaliation for the environmental damage caused by the Malathion aerial spraying by the state. It also threatened to expand its medfly infestation into the San Joaquin Valley. The FBI became involved in the investigation and the letters were turned over to the Los Angeles Police Department's Criminal Conspiracy Section. During the course of the investigation, the United States Department of Agriculture attempted to contact The Breeders through a classified ad placed in the Los Angeles Times.The ad stated: "Breeders if you're for real send one of your little friends. We want to talk. Call John at USDA." After its repeated sprayings failed to eradicate the medfly threat, California halted its Malathion aerial spraying program in March 1990, three months after the threat from The Breeders was received. The state instead opted to try the voluntary introduction of millions of radiation-sterilized medflies to interrupt the reproductive cycle and control the population (Wikipedia).
nonprojected graphic
4 X 6 color print
local: pio00097
Burbank (Los Angeles County, Calif.)--City Halls--Protests--Insecticides--Malathion--Signage--Children--1990s
Burbank Public Library, Burbank in Focus Office

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