Carnival of DDT

October 3, 2007

Information on DDT is scattered clouds of information, lately.  Some of these really should get more comment — but time is quite short for me right now.

Here’s the news:

One more study on DDT and breast cancer.  Stop the presses on this one.  It’s a good study, and it shows a link.  Effect Measure at the Seed Stables has a good post on it.   One of the key differences here is that this study looked for childhood exposure.  Exposure of children to DDT seems to be more damaging than exposure to adults.  This should be especially worrying considering DDT’s daughter products and their ability to mimic estrogen in the wild.

Bill Moyers’ program on PBS looked at the recent campaign against Rachel Carson, and found the campaign ethically challenged.  Moyers takes a more in-depth and gentle view of Carson, from a perspective from the arts.  Solid information, interesting view.

All had a news report on the current anti-malaria campaign in Malawi:  “Rescuing children from malaria.”  Real news — it doesn’t call for broadcast spraying of DDT.  (Surprised?)  In fact, it attacks the colleagues of the Rachel Carson critics, the tobacco companies.

A blogger named Aaron Swartz takes on the Rachel Carson critics rather directly:  “Rachel Carson:  Mass Murderer?” 

A recent think piece out of the always-informative Christian Science Monitor:  “Bring back DDT?  Think again.”

Perhaps a minor blip:  Plaintiffs ask damages against chemical companies and others because the DDT dumped next door has decreased the value of their properties.  An Alabama appeals court ruled that plaintiffs may call in experts to testify that DDT dumping decreases property value.  (Maybe Roger Bate would like to buy the property at market value?  All that DDT would mean no mosquitoes forever, right?)

And from the lost-but-now-found archives, a story that demonstrates subtly the bias that Rachel Carson critics have — Roger Bate defending tobacco companies in a 1996 Wall Street Journal opinion piece.  Perhaps one should not be surprised that people who defend tobacco against health regulators and health care education could turn around and argue for DDT and against Rachel Carson.

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