Rachel Carson and DDT “ban” save millions of lives

[This post has been edited to correct links to go to their new URLs, I hope.  Please note in comments any links that don’t work.]

Some are Boojums is back — that’s good news for truth seekers, science error debunkers and historians who care about accuracy.

Masthead photo for Jim Easter's blog, Some Are Boojums

Masthead photo for Jim Easter’s blog, Some Are Boojums

Some are Boojums author Jim Easter guts the anti-Rachel Carson case in his relaunch post.

Pay particular attention to what Jim writes in conclusion:

That’s right. The 1972 DDT ban did nothing to restrict the chemical’s use against malaria, but had the effect of eliminating the single most intense source of selection pressure for insecticide resistance in mosquitoes. As the rest of the world followed suit in restricting agricultural use of DDT, the spread of resistance was slowed dramatically or stopped. By this single action, William Ruckelshaus — and, credit where it’s due, Rachel Carson — may well have saved millions of lives.

Steven Milloy is invited to add that to the DDT FAQ any time it’s convenient.

Particularly notable is Jim’s work to make available the much miscited administrative law ruling by Judge Edmund M. Sweeney. It is now available on-line, so the critics can now provide accurate citations to the decision, if their intent were to inform the public, instead of maligning the truth and misleading the public.

Mr. Easter’s applied history work in this effort is notable. The internet misses much of near-recent history, especially from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Much of today’s political discussion could benefit from information that would be available in libraries, had libraries not suffered from great budget and priorities cuts in the last 20 years. Jim Easter’s contribution to making a more complete record of the history of DDT and the history of the EPA deserves applause.


4 Responses to Rachel Carson and DDT “ban” save millions of lives

  1. […] We discussed exactly this issue on this blog back in 2009, when Jim Easter’s Some Are Boojums republished Administrative Law Judge Edmund Sweeney’s entire report of the 1971 EPA hearings on DDT.  Easter noted then, on his blog, that EPA’s order “did nothing to restrict the chemical’s [DDT] use against malaria.” […]


  2. […] to malaria “unnecessary” due to a ban on DDT which never occurred in Africa or Asia, while DDT was plentiful and cheap to anyone who wanted to use it (still pretty much the case today). Let’s repeat that:  DDT has never been banned in Africa […]


  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Silent Spring is a classic — a fine collection of research, great story telling, and great writing style.

    It must really strike fear in the hearts of the science denialists. As Ronald Reagan claimed John Adams observed, facts are stubborn things. Stubborn things coupled with great stories and great story telling get at truths you probably don’t want to be known.

    So, why are you denying DDT’s harms? What’s in it for you?


  4. EPA - Ego Protection Agency says:


    ‘Silent Spring’ is almost as bad as the EPA.


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