State Plans Testing for Ill Effects of Malathion

Officials overseeing the state’s Medfly battle quietly have made plans to begin offering tests to people suffering possible ill effects from malathion in hopes of documenting the pesticide’s health effects.

The $65,000 project, which could begin as early as next week, marks the first time in Southern California’s 10-month-old struggle against the Mediterranean fruit fly that health officials have sought to substantiate claims of illness. It is awaiting approval in Sacramento.

Under the plan, people in Orange and Los Angeles counties who believe they have experienced breathing problems, allergic reactions or other symptoms because of malathion spraying will contact their local health departments and be referred to a clinic for tests.