Carnival of DDT

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.

4 Responses to Carnival of DDT

  1. […] DDT ban.It'll be interesting to see how anti-DDT propagandist Tim Lambert, and favoured groupie Ed Darrell, try to spin this.Update: Computer guy Lambert reacts:Yep it's the usual […]


  2. […] of Fighting Malaria (and DDT) It’s been about a year since the first, completely impromptu Carnival of DDT.  Last fall, in October and November, there was enough going on about DDT to merit something like […]


  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Since indoor spraying is authorized under current law, including international treaties, since the UN and the U.S. fund such spraying, and since most nations that could use DDT in such a fashion are already using it in such a fashion — except where industrialists or the Bush administration refuse to allow it for stated reasons that are completely absurd — I can only assume that those who complain that we need to “loosen up” on DDT are advocating broadcast spraying once again.

    In fact, that’s specifically what Henry I. Miller has urged in the U.S., and most DDT advocates eventually admit to.

    You’re arguing for reason and rationality, Mr. Warren. That’s not something the anti-Rachel Carson harpies trade in.


  4. George Warren says:

    like many controversial subjects, the use of DDT always seems to emphasize the all-none-arguements of one group of ideologues against another. Banning the broadcast spraying of DDT has certainly enhanced bird survival. However a more judicious use of the chemical, such as spraying the inside walls of houses is a huge detriment to malaria and has the potential of saving millions of human lives each year. This effective, limited use poses a miniscule environmental risk.


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