Tuesday, July 17, 2007


"The ban on DDT," says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health," may have killed 20 million children."


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Rachel Carson, Greenpeace and Suzuki. Why isn't the International Court hauling the anti-DDT idiots in front of it for crimes against humanity?

eng said...

Why isn't the International Court hauling the anti-DDT idiots in front of it for crimes against humanity?

Maybe because no crime was committed. DDT was never banned for malaria control. You can still buy it today. You just can't use it to kill weeds in your garden or on your farm fields.

But for malaria control? It was never banned. Discouraged, but not banned.

Elaine said...

"Fuck Bush! Fuck Harper! And Fuck the London Fog!!", Testament screamed out to open his set, after sets by a couple of contributors to the London Fog right wing blog site. 'Frank' and 'the Hippie Sympathizer' did place 9th and 10th respectfully, with such numbers as,"David Suzuki is a Fascist", and "Downtown London is a Mess". -Anthony V *one of the creepier participants of the London common folk*

Hey London foggers, you are a hit, keep spreading the word!

kudos to the band playing "David Suzuki is a fascist". If nothing else it will get those kids looking up the word, finding out what it means. It is one thing to parrot glowtardism, another thing to understand it.

MapMaster said...

Hey, that reminds me we've got to get those songs up on a playlist somewhere on this site. (Some of the pre-2005 classics, including "Downtown London — What a Mess!" can be heard here.)

John Nicklin said...

eng, I think you are talking about 2-4D for killing weeds, DDT is strictly a pesticide and you can't use it in your garden either as you say. It was banned, at least in some countries, and was on the international aid hit list, use DDT and no aid. USEPA effectively banned DDT for use in the US, much to the dismay of the forest industry who used it to control pine beetles.

Even now that its back and available, some aid agencies have still effectively "banned" it through their actions.

That aside, the "ban," real or imagined, has led to an estimated 30 million deaths from Malaria alone and more from Dengue.

Lisa said...


DDT has in fact been banned in several countries, including the US and many countries in Europe. A quick google search will confirm this.

See here for more on DDT and the human population reduction connection.

eng said...

Yes, my bad. DDT is not a herbicide.

The 30 million dead figure is highly dubious. Widespread agricultural spraying hastened the development of disease resistant mosquitos. The drop in malarial deaths was already leveling off when Carson called for "more study".

John Nicklin said...

eng, yes, 30 million is highly dubious, more accurately, based on the median WHO estimate 300 million to 500 million cases globally each year and based on an estimated 2.7 million malarial deaths per year, the less dubious number would be 81 million over 30 years.

Source - "The Intolerable Burden of Malaria: A New Look at the Numbers," - supplement to The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

What Rachel Carson did was to sare the living crap out of people while calling for further study spurring one William Ruckelshaus, then head of the EPA to ban DDT for all purposes in the United States, and by fiat, anywhere that the USA provided aid to.

John Nicklin said...

Also, while mosquitoes may develop a tolerance to the lethal part of DDT, (this is not conclusive) it irritates them to the point where they can't stay in a space with any residual DDT hence protecting sleeping and living quarters.

When DDT was banned, Charles Wursta, Chief Scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund said, “This is as good a way to get rid of them as any.”*

("Them" refers to "all those little brown people in poor countries.")

*Source - Toxic Terror by Elizabeth Whelan, 1997

eng said...

Nice try, complete with the racist quotes attributed to whoever. But of course attacking Whelan would be ad hominem, right?

The "30 million is highly dubious" statement was not about death estimates, which are being revised, but the supposed increase in deaths due to "banning" DDT, which of course was never banned for malaria control.

the great anti-antiDDT swindle

Strange that The Intolerable Burden of Malaria: A New Look at the Numbers does not mention DDT anywhere in the documents. Not once.

John Nicklin said...

Eng, quoting someone's actual words is hardly ad hominem. If you have a Whelan quote that shows malice or deception, use it.

I'll have to have a look at your reference, thanks all info is good.

As for malaria being banned, its semantics. It may not have been banned for malaria control, but if you can't buy it because aid agencies won't provide aid if you use DDT then it is effectively prohibited, if not banned.

John Nicklin said...

eng, read it. Its about as one-sided as the "anti-environmentalists" that it tries to discredit. Lots of "my experts can beat your experts."

Why would the author assume that the reviewed authors are anti-environmentalists? Who stands to gain anything from the destruction of the planet? Aliens maybe. While I can't speak for the reviewed authors, I can speak for several of the sceptics that I know. Sceptisism is not anti-environmentalism. Most, if not all, of th sceptics that I know of are deeply concerned about the environment, they are not radical, but share a reverence for nature and humans that is often not demonstrated by the "environmentalists" that I am aquainted with.

I have no question that you are a concerned environmentalist and that you harbour no ill will towards your fellow humans. I expect that you walk the walk and not just talk the talk. But some of you fellow environmentalists don't walk with you.

Perhaps one day someone with no agenda, either way, will set out, dispassionately, to chronicle all of the obsfucation on both sides of the debate. Alas, the victors always write history to their own slant.

For now, I remain unconvinced. I support your stand as well, I hav no right to deny you or anyone else your beliefs and opinions.

Ed Darrell said...

1. DDT has never been banned for use against mosquitoes in those nations plagued with malaria.

2. DDT use against mosquitoes in much of the world was squirreled by overapplication of DDT to commercial crops -- the mosquitoes mutated to be immune to DDT. THIS is why DDT use was discontinued (not a ban), and it is also part of the reason that malaria came roaring back.

3. Since you read Rachel Carson's book, you know she didn't advocate any ban on DDT, and in fact warned that overuse of the chemical in inappropriate places (broadcast on cotton and food crops) would lead to its ineffectiveness. Had the world listened to Rachel Carson, we could have kept malaria on the run in the 1960s.

4. Since it was the environmentalists who urged different methods of controlling the mosquitoes PLUS new methods of medical care, shouldn't the death toll be attributed to those who didn't listen? That would be more accurate and fair (though still bizarre, since the idea of eradication was flawed and could never have worked).

5. For several countries, especially in Central Africa, the problem was that the governments were unstable or otherwise unable to do much at all to fight malaria (still sadly true). Environmentalists did nothing to favor Idi Amin, for example. Environmentalists cannot be held responsible for government failures in Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Angola, the Central African Republic, etc., etc.

6. Studies in Mexico show a dramatic drop in malaria infections and death after adoption of the integrated pest management system Rachel Carson advocated. Unfortunately, this was attempted only in 2004, 42 years after her book was published. DDT was in use in all the interim years in Mexico. Mexico exactly rebuts the claims against environmentalists, and it points up the wisdom of Rachel Carson and those who followed her.

C'mon over to Millard Fillmore's Bathtub -- you can see several posts on exactly this issue.

Ed Darrell said...

No, Wursta never said that.

John Nicklin said...

ed, Whelan quotes him as having said it. If she is wrong, then its wrong. But the quote has been, um quoted, many times and Wursta or his representatives have not publically demanded retraction.

If you have proof that he didn't say it, I would really like to see it so I can correct my data.

John Nicklin said...

Ed, can you provide the citations for those studies? I'd like to read them.

Ed Darrell said...

Whelan may have quoted some fellow saying that, but that doesn't make it so -- nor does broad transmission on the internet make it any more authoritative.

But I've got a few dozen citations, and can I find the one that has the denial right now? No. I'll keep looking.

As to studies -- which ones? I've cited a bunch in several posts at Millard Fillmore's Bathtub.

There are a bunch of sources on the malaria fight in Africa, showing there was no U.S.-enforced DDT ban, and that other problems prevented the success of the old WHO "eradication" campaign; here's what a recent story in Salon said: Overseas, DDT was being phased out of the fight against malaria, but Carson and budding environmentalists were not the reason. In the 1950s, when the Global Malaria Eradication Program was launched, the U.S. had been a major financier of it. But as the years ticked by, eradication remained a distant dream, says Litsios, the retired World Health Organization scientist. (His book, "The Tomorrow of Malaria," was published in 1996.) He explains that the global program "oversold the possibility of eradication" and Congress tired of its promises. By the early '60s, the money Congress had pledged to the program dried up. In 1969, the WHO officially abandoned the eradication effort.

During that period, the fight against malaria in Africa never picked up steam. Robert Snow, head of the malaria group at the Wellcome Trust/Kenya Medical Research Institute in Nairobi, has done considerable research and number crunching in an attempt to quantify the true burden of malaria in Africa over the last century. In an article published in 2001, in Trends in Parasitology, he wrote, "Despite the successes of the WHO eradication campaign in many parts of the world following the Second World War, most of Africa was regarded as a lost cause, and in practice the eradication of malaria in Africa was never attempted."

In the 1960s and 1970s, colonialism in Africa was ending and several countries were undergoing major changes. "Many African countries realized they couldn't really expect to progress with malaria at all if they didn't have some kind of infrastructure," says Litsios. The WHO couldn't afford to launch a massive insecticide-spraying program and help countries build up basic health services at the same time. It chose the latter, Litsios says.

Better public health services helped improve childhood mortality in Africa, but malaria programs faltered. Malaria is a complex disease caused by a parasite with a complicated life cycle. "For malaria control, you need to have a really good understanding of mosquitoes, the malaria parasite and human behavior," says Richard Tren, chairman of the board of Africa Fighting Malaria, an advocacy group that has lobbied for increased use of DDT. In the '70s, many health programs were ill-equipped to handle that complexity.


For data on Mexico, go to page 7 of this document -- and I miswrote -- IPM was implemented in 2001, not 2004:
Check out the chart on p. 26, too -- it shows that South Africa reintroduced DDT, and with IPM has acheived remarkable reductions in malaria.

What other studies would you like? Generally, you can take any conclusion about DDT use drawn by someone who says nasty things about Rachel Carson and assume the opposite is true. Anyone who tracks these issues over time will agree.