Business, no environmentalists, oppose DDT in Africa

May 16, 2008

Steve Milloy and an entire host of DDT denialists hope you never read any newspaper from Africa.  Your ignorance is their best argument.

If you don’t read African newspapers, they can continue to blame environmentalists for any case of malaria that occurs in Africa.  They’ll claim, though it’s not true, that environmentalists urged a complete ban on the use of DDT.  They’ll argue, falsely, that African governments were bullied into not using DDT by environmentalists, ignoring the fact that some African nations have just never been able to get their kit together to conduct an anti-malaria campaign, while other nations discovered DDT was ineffective — and most of the nations have no love for environmentalists anyway (Idi Amin?  Jomo Kenyatta?  Who does Milloy think he’s kidding?).

If you don’t read African newspapers, you’ll miss stories like this one, from the Daily Times in Malawi, that say it’s Milloy’s old friends in the tobacco business who stand in the way of modest use of DDT.

If you don’t read African newspapers, you’ll miss stories like this one, from New Vision in Kampala, Uganda, that say it’s the cotton farmers who stand in the way of modest use of DDT.

If Steven Milloy wanted to get DDT used against malaria in Africa, in indoor residual spraying (IRS) campaigns, all he has to do is pick up the phone and ask his friends to allow it to be done. 

Someone who will lie to you about their friends’ misdeeds, and try to pin it on a nice old lady like Rachel Carson, will go Charles Colson one better:  They’ll walk over your grandmother to do what they want to do.  In fact, they’ll go out of their way to walk over your grandmother.

The New Republic seems to have come around to get the story straight.  Truth wins in a fair fight — it’s a fight to make sure the fight is fair, though.

John Stossel?  Your company doesn’t get tobacco money any more.  What’s your excuse?  Do you really believe the Bush administration is beholden to environmentalists on this one issue?  How long have you been covering politics?

(Texts of news stories below the fold.)

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DDT blast from the past: 1951

May 16, 2008

DDT denialists like Steven Milloy like to paint Rachel Carson as a lone, cranky and crackpot voice in the wilderness against DDT (never mind how that makes the DDT industry look, unable to use facts and the $500,000 public relations campaign to get their message out).

It’s not so. As Carson noted, concerns about DDT were raised early, and often.

The Dallas Public Library makes available much of the news from the Dallas Morning News of the last century. On my way to find something else, I plugged in “DDT” as a search term. Among other articles that popped up was a May 9, 1951 story of Texas scientists warning a Congressional committee of the harms of DDT.

“Hazard to health,” was the flying head, “Renner Scientist Cites DDT Harm.” The story, by the News’ Washington Bureau reporter Ruth Schumm, covered a hearing before an unnamed committee of the House, “investigating the use of chemicals in foods.”  (Where was the copy editor on that one?)

John M. Dendy of the Texas Research Foundation delivered the testimony.  Dendy worked out of the Foundation’s laboratory in Renner.  Renner was an independent community then, located south of Renner, west of Coit, and north of Campbell Roads (no, it’s not there today). 

Studies in the foundation’s laboratories at Renner, Dallas County, have proved that DDT and other chemicals are now causing mass contamination of milk, meat and other foods, Dendy said.

Dendy said that crops absorb the DDT sprayed on them — still true, and more problematic since it’s been discovered that DDT is also damaging to some plants — and animals that graze the crops get that dosage.  Dairy cows, beef cattle and sheep were the chief animals mentioned.

Even though the Texas State Health Department has ruled that no DDT should be present in milk comsumed by human beings, DDT is showing up in the Dallas milk supply even in December, long past the usual season for spraying with insecticides.  About half of the Dallas milk supply is imported from Oklahoma, Missouri and Wisconsin, he said.

*  *  *  *  *

In the Texas Research Foundation tests, the degree of contamination ranged from 3.10 parts per million in lean meat to 68.55 parts per million in fat meat, Dendy testified. 

In milk, the DDT conamination ranged from less than .5 parts per million to 13.83 parts per million.

Dendy testified that so far as he knew, the exact effects of such poisoning on human beings has not yet been established.

Dendy warned in his testimony that DDT builds up over time in “human and animal fat tissue,” so the dangers to human health become greater as the exposure grows over time.

The worried Congressmen wanted to know if there is a substitute for DDT.

Dendy said he was not working on that problem, but he knew others were.

Notably absent from the hearing was the committee chairman, Rep. James J. Delaney, D-NY, according to the list offered by the DMN.  That’s right:  Delaney was the one who, in 1957, got his amendment passed to the Safe Food and Drug Act, the organic act for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) making it illegal to use anything known to be carcinogenic as a food additive (DDT doesn’t count, because it’s not a food additive, but a food contaminant, which is regulated not by the FDA, but by the Department of Agriculture).

So, in 1951, before Rachel Carson had left the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 11 years prior to the publication of her book Silent Spring, 21 years before the EPA banned use of DDT on crops, conservative scientists from Texas were alerting Congress to the dangers of DDT.

It’s in the history books.  You can look it up.

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Rewrite the government and civics texts

May 16, 2008

Government teachers, can you find this in the textbooks you use in your classes?

Nat Hentoff reports:

The Bush administration believes, he said, “that the president could ignore or modify existing executive orders that he and other presidents have issued without disclosing the new interpretation.”

I noted before, these are exciting times to be teaching, with all these examples of Constitutional law, and Constitution abuses, and President Bush’s War on the Constitution in the headlines, or buried on page 14, every day.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture WarsNat Hentoff’s original column is at WorldNet Daily (!!!).  The Constitution with comments, and also here.

Other resources:

Review of Ken Ham’s book: Lying for Jesus

May 16, 2008

Well developed thoughts from an atheist on morality, especially the morality of creationism, in a review of Ken Ham’s book, The Lie: Evolution, from a blogger, In Case You’re Interested. Ham is the guy who raised nearly $30 million for the Creation Museum, a monument to denial of reality.

Coincidence? Ham’s book repeats all of the shoddy arguments that show up in Ben Stein’s mockumentary film.

Oh, that explains it

May 16, 2008

Adnan Oktar ‘s conviction on charges of profiting from what amounts to a sex slave operation was a set up, he said.

Who would do such a dastardly thing?  The communists and the Freemasons!

This interview is from last September, but so far it’s perfectly in line with what his PR flacks are saying since the sentencing:  Video, selected transcripts.

I’m sure that’s what he tells his wife, Morgan Fairchild.

How can you keep from thinking this stuff is parody?  It looks and sounds like slightly amateurish “David Letterman” or “Saturday Night Live” routines.

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