March 14, 2008 conference on DDT and health

Poster for 2008 conference on DDT

Steven Milloy must be apoplectic.

On March 14, 2008, Alma College, in Alma, Mich., is hosting a conference examining what is known about the impact of DDT on human health and the environment.

The conference will bring together a number of national and international experts to frame and lead discussions of current knowledge of DDT. Attendees will engage with experts to plan what research or other projects are needed to address questions about the impact of DDT and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

The conference is jointly sponsored by the Center for Responsible Leadership at Alma College, the Ohio Valley Chapter of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and the Pine River Superfund Task Force, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) community advisory group (CAG) for Superfund sites in the Pine River watershed in Michigan.

Why Alma College?

For a number of years students and faculty at Alma have helped support the work of the Pine River Task Force. The Superfund sites in the watershed of the Pine River resulted from the massive dumping of byproducts from production of DDT and a fire retardant based upon polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) by Velsicol Chemical Company. In addition to general dumping of wastes, Velsicol was responsible in 1973 for one of the worst food contamination mistakes in history, when PBB was erroneously mixed with animal feed and remained undetected for a year.

While highly contaminated for decades, the Pine River watershed has been fortunate to be the location of Alma College, with a long tradition of community involvement, and also the home of a number of people with remarkable expertise. One of the long time members of the CAG was the late Eugene Kenaga (1917-2007), for whom the conference is named.

Eugene Kenaga

During World War II, Dr. Kenaga served as an officer in a malariology unit in the Pacific Theater, using DDT. For forty-two years he was a research scientists with the Dow Chemical Company, for many years in charge of their entomological research. In 1968 he served on a three-member blue ribbon pesticide advisory panel (for Michigan Governor George Romney) that restricted use of DDT in the state. After the formation of EPA, he served on a variety of EPA advisory panels. He was also one of the founders of the International Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC).


Recently, the College, SETAC, and Task Force have become aware of an international campaign that questions the national and international restrictions on the use of DDT. Knowledge of this campaign led to the decision to bring together international experts and concerned citizens to discuss what is known and needs to be known about the impacts on human health and the environment arising from exposure to DDT and the other POPs.

Serious scholars, academic rigor, real scientists, real science, government agencies charged with protecting human health and environmental quality, the Center for Responsible — will any of the DDT advocates have the backbone to show? They don’t appear to fit any of those categories.

Eugene Kenaga International DDT Conference on Environment and Health
March 14, 2008
Alma College, Alma, Mich.

DDT: What We Know; What Do We Need to Know?

Speakers scheduled for the conference, listed below the fold.

Eugene Kenaga International DDT Conference Speakers

Riana Bornman, M.D., Ph.D.
Division Head, Department of Urology
School of Medicine
University of Pretoria
Pretoria, South Africa

Related Publication: with Tiaan de Jager, “Male Reproductive Health and DDT: Sufficient Evidence to Discontinue Its Use?” Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Spermatology, 6-11 October 2002, Cape Town, South Africa.

Henk Bouwman
School of Environmental Sciences and Development
Potchefstroom, South Africa

Related Publication: with B. Sereda and H.M. Meinhardt, “Simultaneous Presence of DDT and Pyrethroid Residues in Human Breast Milk from a Malaria Endemic Area in South Africa,” Environmental Polution 144 (December 2006): 902-917.

Aimin Chen, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health
School of Medicine
Creighton University
Omaha, NB

Related Publication:“Nonmalarial Infant Deaths and DDT Use for Malaraia Control,” Emerging Infectious Diseases (August 2003).

Barbara Cohn, Ph.D. Director, Child Health and Development Studies
Center for Research on Women’s and Children’s Health
Public Health Institute
University of California – Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

Related Publication: with ++++ Wolff, Piera M. Crillo and Robert Sholtz, “DDT and Breast Cancer in Young Women: New Data on the Significance of Age at Exposure,” Environmental Health Perspectives 10 (October 2007): 1406-1414.

Amy Dailey, Ph.D.*
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
College of Public Health and Health Professions
University of Florida
Gainsville, FL

Related Publication: with others,“The Health Status of Southern Children: A Neglected Regional Disparity,” Pediatrics 116 (December 2005): 746-753.

Tiaan de Jager, Ph.D.
Professor of Public Health
School of Health Systems and Public Health
School of Medicine
University of Pretoria
Pretoria, South Africa

Related Publication: with Riana Bornman,“Male Reproductive Health and DDT: Sufficient Evidence to Discontinue Its Use?” Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Spermatology, 6-11 October 2002, Cape Town, South Africa.

Brenda Eskenazi, Ph.D.
Professor of Maternal and Child Health
Director of the Center for Children’s Environmental Health Research
School of Public Health
University of California – Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

Related Publication: with others, “In Utero Exposure to Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and Neurodevelopment among Young Mexican American Children,” Pediatrics 118 (July 2006): 233-241.

Prof. John P. Giesy, Ph.D.
Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology
Toxicology Centre
University of Saskatchewan
44 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
57N5Be3, Canada

Related Publication: with J. Carey et al, Ecological Risk Assessment of the Chlorinated Organic Chemicals (Pensacola, FL: SETAC Press, 1998)

Suzanne Snedeker, Ph.D.

Associate Director of Translational Research
Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors
Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

Related Publications: “Pesticides and Breast Cancer Risk: A Review of DDT, DDE, and Dieldrin,” Environmental Health Perspectives 109, suppl 1 (2001): 35-47.

Darwin Stapleton
Executive Director
Rockefeller Archive Center
10 Dayton Ave.
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Related Publication: “The Short-Lived Miracle of DDT,” American Heritage of Invention and Technology 15 (Winter 2000): 34-41.

* Dr. Dailey is an Alma graduate and is presenting the luncheon speech on community involvement on public health.

8 Responses to March 14, 2008 conference on DDT and health

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Start here, with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR):

    PubMed has several papers on the topic, too.


  2. laynekerr says:

    would like research showing increased correlation between DDT and cancers.


  3. kent says:

    Serious impact of DDT on human health and the environment. should protection for baby


  4. […] March 14 conference on DDT and health (Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub) […]


  5. […] Epidemiologists sign on to Alma DDT conference Meanwhile, back in reality, the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology signed on to cosponsor the conference on DDT’s effects on human health and the environment at Alma College in Michigan, set for March 14. […]


  6. Bug Girl says:

    In Toronto?? Are you Kidding???
    First of all, the kinds of mosquitoes you have in an urban area like that are best controlled at the larval stage, by making sure that there is little or no standing water for mosquitoes to breed in.
    Second, the risk of disease transmission is no where near that of Africa or Asia, since most people in Canada have both windows and screens.
    Third, access to mosquito repellent is not difficult in Canada.
    Fourth, access to other, less toxic, mosquito control agents is not difficult in Canada.

    Lastly, if you actually READ the papers cited above, you would learn that DDT is an estrogenic compound–ike many other compounds of concern in our modern world. And that it bio-accumulates, and is well stored in human tissue.

    The only reason I can see that you would want DDT is just damn laziness.


  7. Ed Darrell says:

    DDT is of decreasing importance for use against mosquitoes, because mosquitoes become resistant (if they have not already), and there are many other things that must be done in any case to stop malaria (such as draining the potholes in the road, and screening windows and sleeping areas). DDT’s impact on human health is uncontested in the literature, with recent research showing increased correlation between DDT and cancers.

    My fear and view is that DDT advocates are making a fuss in order to prevent effective action against malaria. I cannot understand why they would do that.


  8. The DDT is extremely important and indispensable in countries with mosquitoes and other insects spreading malaria. Although it had been proved that it doesn’t have impact on the human health I wouldn’t like to see people using it at our neighbourhoods in Toronto. We are very keen on highlighting the fact that our environment is the most important for us and we act according to this. I hope that this conference would make it clear why we should not use that poison.


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