“3 billion and counting” — the errors one makes when using Howard Stern as a science advisor


“3 Billion and Counting” premiered at a tiny New York venue a couple of weeks ago, the latest skirmish in the War on Science. Physician-to-the-stars Dr. Rutledge Taylor claims that malaria could be eradicated if only DDT had not been banned from Africa.

What?  No, no, you’re right: DDT has never been banned from Africa, not even under the 2001 Persistent Organic Pollutants Treaty.  The film comes out of Hollywood, starring a Hollywood physician.  Perhaps that should clue us in that it is not a serious documentary, and not to be taken at face value.

Nor at any value.

Taylor engaged a publicist and conducted a national campaign to launch the movie.  In that campaign he someone appeared on Howard Stern’s radio show.  [There’s a guy in comments who claims it wasn’t Taylor, though Taylor wrote it in the first person.  Odd as hell.]

How silly are the claims in the movie?

A post at the movie’s blog revealed that Ronnie, Stern’s limousine driver, had a fight with bedbugs, and that Stern thinks DDT should be brought back.  That’s how bad this movie is:  Howard Stern is the science advisor.

Yes, yes, you’re right:  DDT stopped working against bedbugs in the 1950s (see Bug Girl’s recent post).  That doesn’t stop the publicists from defending the movie at the movie’s blog.  “Royce” [who claims not to be a publicist for the movie] said:

The problem with DDT is that it worked too well in stomping out malaria. The science proves that it minimally impacted the environment. But this information was suppressed. Wonder why and by whom? This movies addresses and uncovers the answers to these questions..Questions that many of us had about this issue.

I tried, without success I’m sure, to set him straight:

Royce,

First, DDT was not the weapon that eradicated malaria in the U.S.  We worked for 30 years to improve medical care, beef up the Public Health Service and county public health officers, educate people on how to drain mosquito breeding areas near their homes, be certain people with malari were fully treated to a cure, and to raise incomes to improve housing so that people could live in a home where mosquitoes could not enter at night (the times malaria-carrying mosquitoes bite).  By 1939, malaria was essentially eliminated from the U.S.  DDT was not available for use for another seven years.

Earlier we had defeated malaria and yellow fever in Panama, during the construction of the Panama Canal — long before any insecticide existed.  Beating malaria is possible with discipline, accurate information, and sustained effort.  No pesticide is necessary.

Second, DDT has never been out of use in Africa since 1946, nor in Asia.  DDT is in use right now by the World Health Organization (WHO) and at least five nations in Africa who have malaria problems.  If someone told you DDT is not being used, they erred.

Unfortunately, overuse of DDT by agricultural interests, in the early 1960s, bred mosquitoes that are resitant and immune to DDT.  DDT simply is not the effective pesticide it once was, and for the WHO project to eradicate malaria, this problem was the death knell.  WHO had to fall back to a malaria control position, because pro-DDT groups sprayed far too much of the stuff, in far to many places, mostly outside.

Third, all serious studies indicate that DDT greatly affects environment, with doses of the stuff multiplying from application through the top of the trophic levels in the ecosystem.  A minimal dose of DDT to kill mosquito larva in an estuary, for example, multiples many times as zooplankton and the mosquito larva soak it up.  The next level of consumers get about a ten-times dose from what was sprayed, and that multiplies exponentially as other creatures consume the lower-level consumers.  By the time an insect or crustacean-eating bird gets the critter, the dose is millions of times stronger, often to fatal levels for the bird.

If the dose is sub-lethal, it screws up the reproduction of the bird.  DDT in the egg kills the chick before it can fledge from the nest, often before it can hatch.  If by some miracle the chick does not die from acute DDT poisoning, the eggshells produced by a DDT-tainted female bird are often too thin to survive the growth of the embryo — either way the chicks die.  (There are a couple of studies done on plant-eating birds which showed that the chicks did not die before hatching — they died shortly after hatching.)

DDT is astoundingly effective at screwing up the reproduction of birds.

Fourth, studies show that humans exposed to DDT rarely get an acutely toxic dose, but that their children get screwed up reproductive systems, and there is a definite link from DDT exposure to the children of the mother — the cancer goes to the next generation.  DDT is not harmless to people at all — it is just not acutely toxic, generally.

Fifth, as I note above, DDT is no longer highly effective in controlling mosquitoes.  Where once it killed them dead, they have developed immunity, and now digest the stuff as if it were food.  There are studies that show DDT is also weakly repellent, but there are better, less-toxic repellents, and there is no reason to use something so deadly to all other creatures in the ecosystem to get a weak repellent effect.

Because of the biomagnification, DDT kills the predators of mosquitoes much more effectively, and for a much longer period, than it kills mosquitoes.  This sets the stage for mosquitoes to come roaring back, with all the natural checks on mosquito population out of commission.

Why use a poison that is not very effective, but very deadly, when there are better alternatives available?

Malaria death rates are the lowest they have been in human history.  There is no good case to be made that more DDT could provide any benefit.

DDT is still manufactured in astonishing quantity in North Korea, for one.  DDT is used in Africa and Asia, but no one with any sense uses it to eradicate malaria — DDT screwed up that chance 50 years ago.

Rutledge’s movie appears to be sinking from release (it’s played two theaters that I can find, for less than a week at each).  It may be far underwater already.  It would be to DDT whatExpelled” was to creationism, but it lacks the cloying, gullible religious fanatics to push it.

Thank God.

Malaria-fighting pesticide sprayers in Africa - publicity still from "3 Billion and Counting"

Mystery photo: If spraying pesticides to fight malaria isn't allowed in Africa as Rutledge Taylor argues, why are these pesticide sprayers pictured in this photo? Publicity still from "3 Billion and Counting" via Rotten Tomatoes website

Also see, at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

155 Responses to “3 billion and counting” — the errors one makes when using Howard Stern as a science advisor

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    First (not second) I asked if DDT is it effective.

    And I answered, “no, it’s not effective.”

    You then concluded, apparently without reference to any data on the matter, that DDT is the best tool.

    I can’t reason you out of a position you didn’t get to by reason, I suspect.

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    I’m glad you mentioned the issue of resistance.  DDT also has a very strong repellent effect.  This occurs even after resistance has built up.  When DDT is sprayed inside houses it helps keep mosquitoes away during their active evening hours. 

    That’s a bit like saying the fire tragically left the family homeless, but there are no mice in the home any more.

    DDT’s repellent effect is measurable, but not “very strong.”  The key to preventing malaria is preventing the bites.  DEET works a lot better than DDT, and is a lot less toxic.  Bednets work much better than DDT as repellents, plus they are cheaper and last longer. 

    The value of DDT was it’s astounding killing power.  As a repellent, it’s the wrong tool, and not as effective as many other, much less toxic alternatives.

    Like

  3. Ed Darrell says:

    So, yea, I’m stubborn. I have good reason.

    If you had good reason, you’d have no need to be stubborn.

    You’re right: While we dither about whether poisoning Africa will eliminate malaria, kids die.

    You could send $10 to Nothing But Nets and save a kid’s life (3.2 million nets sent, 3 million kids protected). Or you could get some visceral satisfaction over unjustly kicking a dead woman’s reputation, and let the kids keep dying. Rachel Carson’s dead and can’t sue you, so it’s safe, right?

    If only it were true that humans are creatures of economic logic, and compassion. Using Howard Stern as a science adviser probably isn’t a great idea — but the kids who die are thousands of miles away. No guilt if you don’t see them or know them, right?

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  4. Ed Darrell says:

    Swayed by no facts:

    Come on Ed — I haven’t condemned anyone.

    However, if Rutledge condemns Rachel Carson and William Ruckelshaus for their part in the baseless ban of DDT and the resultant deaths of tens of millions of people, I agree with him. I feel very strongly that they were wrong and very possibly realized it themselves.

    And what part do you think Carson played in banning spraying DDT on cotton — ten years after her death? Carson deserves the Applied Medicine Nobel for pushing integrated pest management, the method now used to fight malaria in Africa. Taylor makes no mention of this fact, but blames her — despite the fact that the death toll from malaria is at an all time low using Carson’s methods. Taylor probably blames Salk for polio, and if we push him, he blames Zinsser for typhus.

    A “baseless” ban is illegal under U.S. law. But Rutledge Taylor and others implicitly indict DDT manufacturers and other chemical companies as completely incompetent, unable to make their case before four different federal courts, three federal administrative agencies, and through appeals that specifically addressed the mountain of scientific evidence against DDT and whether the actions against DDT were justified.

    One might wonder why Taylor would entrust such total incompetents to manage the production, distribution and application of poisons.

    The ban on DDT on cotton in the U.S., in 1972, played zero role in the reduction of DDT use in Africa seven years earlier, in 1965. EPA has no time machine. EPA has no authority in Africa. The U.S. “ban” specifically exempted DDT exports to Africa and Asia. Mosquitoes can’t migrate from Texas, or Arkansas, or California, to Africa.

    Carson was right. Fools would abuse DDT and cause mosquitoes to become resistant to DDT. And, without a change of heart, fools would continue to poison the environment, blind to the destruction it causes.

    No facts will sway a fool wedded to error. Especially fools who can’t read a calendar, don’t know geography, and have a political axe to grind.

    Like

  5. Antoine says:

    James,

    You’re really stuck.

    I’m so sorry that I made an assumption early on. I assumed that when I said I believe DDT is an EFFECTIVE tool that it was obvious that I looked at all sides in coming to that conclusion. My mistake — have at it.

    I attempted to correct that assumption in following posts. Little did I know, you would try to ambush me and call my attempts to clarify my point “afterthoughts.”

    It’s funny. You basically said you think I’m stubborn yet your pit-bull tenacity on this is near admirable.

    I need to correct you.

    First (not second) I asked if DDT is it effective.

    Second and in my first post I compared the benefits of using DDT to the costs of not using it. I never compared the benefits of using it to the benefits of not using it (I’m referring to the post, not my own personal analysis).

    I’ll say this and you’ll probably find it hard to believe but I agree with you to some extent. I believe the benefits of using DDT so outweigh the supposed costs that it would be very difficult to sway me. However, I am open to listening to and investigating different opinions from mine.

    I’ve alluded to this before — when we have millions of people dying every year I’m willing to pull out the stops when it comes to helping them. I’m assuming that you understand that by helping I mean not doing harm to them (I’m sure you’ll try to ambush me on that statement). This is not a smokescreen. To me, it is the heart of the matter. (I’ve already anticipated you arguments so bring ’em on).

    When the eradication programs were going on in the fifties they centered on the developed nations because, according to them, developing nations didn’t have the proper structures in place. Well, those nations happened to represent 90% of all malaria cases worldwide.

    So they went about eradicating malaria in countries that represent only 10% of the cases worldwide and DDT was a major tool in those efforts.

    Then, all of a sudden and thanks to Carson and Ruckelshaus, a ban on DDT comes along. Four decades later the people of those same neglected countries are still dying of malaria to the tune of more than 1 million a year.

    James, it’s wrong. While you and I sit here debating the costs-benefits analysis of DDT a child somewhere in Africa died.

    So, yea, I’m stubborn. I have good reason.

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  6. Antoine says:

    Come on Ed — I haven’t condemned anyone.

    However, if Rutledge condemns Rachel Carson and William Ruckelshaus for their part in the baseless ban of DDT and the resultant deaths of tens of millions of people, I agree with him. I feel very strongly that they were wrong and very possibly realized it themselves.

    Like

  7. James Hanley says:

    Antoine,

    First you said you compared the benefits of using it to the benefits of not using.

    Second you said the real question was just whether it was effective.

    Then you threw in the, “oh, and I’ve looked at those studies as well, but I’m not persuaded by them.”

    When you’re throwing in the costs as the afterthought, and in every other way apparently sticking to a benefits-only approach, I have a hard time taking you seriously. I could, of course, be wrong, but you give an overwhelming impression of someone who wouldn’t be swayed, no matter what the costs were.

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  8. Ed Darrell says:

    Here’s an example for you. Several years ago the African American Association of Environmentalist came out in support of using DDT to fight malaria in Africa.

    I suspect that group is a crank group of 1, financed by chemical companies. I’ve never been able to track down more than one member of the group, and he was not published.

    I think it’s an astroturf group set up by or with the assistance of Paul Driessen and the now-wacky CORE. Any evidence to the contrary?

    Like

  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Why are you trying to force me to agree with you? Why don’t YOU provide some compelling cost-benefit analysis to illustrate your point?

    Because

    Yes, I agree with Rutledege’s allegation.

    On the one hand you say you want to use DDT safely and rationally, but on the other hand you condemn those who use DDT safely and rationally, and (via Taylor) call them liars, conspirators, and murderers, because, you say, they don’t use enough DDT.

    The premises of Taylor’s arguments are at least erroneous, and probably intentional falsehoods.

    You support them, until challenged specifically, at which point you retreat to say you are for rationality, except you accept all the irrationality.

    Thanks for clearing that up for us.

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  10. Antoine says:

    James,

    Here’s a direct quote from a reply I made to one of your posts.

    “I answered that question with the my conclusion based on the information I’ve read. That information included studies on accumulation of DDT in breast milk, potential environmental effects, potential hazards to human health, etc. There have even been recent studies suggesting it effects the quality of semen (basically a hypothesis at this point). These are some of the potential cost of using DDT. As I said, these arguments were not convincing enough to sway my opinion.”

    This quote is from the post to which you are replying.

    “I’ll say this again, based my reading on all sides of the issue, the cost of using DDT and the benefits of not using it do not outweigh the benefits of using it and the cost of not using it. I did not do a scientific study. Many others have already done and are doing them. It is my opinion and I do not apologize for it.”

    Why do you persist in saying I haven’t looked at the costs? Is you problem the fact that I don’t see the supposed costs as outweighing the benefits? Is it that I haven’t laid the costs out to you in an orderly fashion?

    Yes James, it is you who is attempting to use a smokescreen. You are using it to completely avoid considering the costs of not using DDT. You are only concerned with the cost of using it. You are doing exactly what you wrongly accuse me of doing.

    Here’s an example for you. Several years ago the African American Association of Environmentalist came out in support of using DDT to fight malaria in Africa. They did this with full knowledge that recent studies suggested a possible link to slowed mental development in children in their first two years and DDT. As a matter of fact, they quoted this study. It was their contention that the benefit of children living past the age of two rather than dying from malaria with the use of DDT outweighed the costs of possible slowed development with the use of DDT. Based on your assessment, they were only looking at the benefits. It just doesn’t follow, James.

    I’m glad you mentioned the issue of resistance. DDT also has a very strong repellent effect. This occurs even after resistance has built up. When DDT is sprayed inside houses it helps keep mosquitoes away during their active evening hours.

    This is a great example for our discussion. I am completely aware that mosquitoes develop a resistance to DDT over time. So if I were using DDT, I would try to use it in a way that would slow the onset of resistance. However I would be happy to know that the mosquitoes would be repelled if and when that happened. These are the cost and benefits of using DDT. I couple this with the benefit and cost of not using DDT (a non-resistant mosquito and a higher risk of contracting malaria) and conclude that it is best to use DDT. I admit that’s a simplistic explanation but I’m just not going to go into pages and pages of explanation. So, have at it.

    Now, back to the point — is DDT is an effective tool in combating malaria? In my opinion, yes.

    Like

  11. Antoine says:

    Ed,

    You said — “What we don’t find in any of your posts is any statement that says DDT should be used in the most efficient manner, nor in conjunction with other methods — specifically with regard to cost-benefit.”

    Here is a direct quote from a reply I made to one of your posts.

    “Please understand, I never meant to suggest that DDT should be the only tool. This problem is far to large to use only one tool. I agree with you, there are many tools. I happen to feel that all tools should be used — including DDT. All tools should also be used wisely so as to achieve maximum benefit. This would preclude overuse.”

    I don’t know how to be any clear on my position.

    Here’s another quote from the same reply.

    “The WHO agrees — ‘DDT has comparatively long residual efficacy (≥ 6 months) against
    malaria vectors and plays an important role in the management of vector resistance.’ ~ WHO World Malaria Report 2009.”

    I recognize the WHO’s position (which includes accepting their cost-benefit analysis).

    I’ve also given you the S. African example and the results they achieved after the reintroduction of DDT.

    Why are you trying to force me to agree with you? Why don’t YOU provide some compelling cost-benefit analysis to illustrate your point?

    As for the ban on DDT, it is only produced in one country worldwide. That country is India and they plan to phase out production. You can easily say it isn’t banned and be telling the truth. However, when it is only produced in one country worldwide, you have a de facto ban. Yes, I agree with Rutledege’s allegation.

    As an aside — I feels it’s ultimately up to the country suffering from malaria on how to use DDT to protect their people. The WHO and other organizations can provide guidelines and information but have no part in the final decision.

    Like

  12. James Hanley says:

    Antoine,

    No, you’re continuing to throw up a smokescreen, because you’re saying that effectiveness is the only factor that needs to be considered, which is simply false.

    I’ll admit I don’t know how effective DDT is. As I’ve said several times, I don’t know that much about DDT and malaria, and I’m not going to lie and pretend I do.

    But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that DDT is very effective against malaria. That’s the benefit side of the analysis. And you dishonestly want to keep the focus only on the benefit side and pretend there’s no cost side.

    But DDT does have a cost. Again, I don’t know much about it, but I do know that just about any chemical you care to mention has effects other than the ones that are desired. You are ignoring those additional effects. I also know enough about evolution (considerably more than I know about DDT) to know that heavy use of any pesticide will lead to the evolution of resistant pests. You’re not including that cost, either.

    So even if I were to be moved from my agnosticism about DDT to agree that it’s effective against malaria, that still wouldn’t be sufficient grounds to agree that it ought to be used. And that’s why I keep emphasizing the use of cost-benefit analysis, not the dishonest “only benefit” analysis that you want to use.

    Here’s a joke that illustrates the difference. A doctor returns to the examining room and tells the patient, “I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that this medicine will completely cure your venereal disease.” “That’s great,” said the patient, “What’s the bad news.” “It’ll cause your penis to fall off.”

    With your approach, you’d stop the doctor after he told you the medicine was effective in combating venereal disease. And, damn, would you be surprised later!

    Like

  13. Ed Darrell says:

    You will not find in any of my posts on this issue statements saying that DDT is the only method or that it shouldn’t be used in the most efficient ways possible or in conjunction with other methods. As a matter of fact, I’ve said that we should use all methods at our disposal — including DDT.

    What we don’t find in any of your posts is any statement that says DDT should be used in the most efficient manner, nor in conjunction with other methods — specifically with regard to cost-benefit.

    For example, you make no case that DDT is not presently being used too little. You’re being quite slippery and difficult to pin down.

    Is it your allegation that DDT is not being used to the utmost today? There is no ban on DDT in Africa, no ban on DDT in Asia. DDT is being used by WHO, with the blessing of Environmental Defense, the first group in the world to sue to stop the abuse of DDT.

    Rutledge Taylor’s movie leaves the impression that there is a ban on DDT — do you make that false allegation, too? Taylor’s movie alleges DDT isn’t being used in Africa, again, counter to the facts. Is that your false allegation, too?

    Cost-benefit analyses are part and parcel of WHO’s anti-malaria campaign. You allege it’s not being done, I gather, and that their calculations are in error, and that DDT should be much more heavily used.

    But you offer no calculations, no backup for your claims — just raw allegation. Perhaps, by your cost-benefit calculation, we’re using too much DDT already.

    What is your real position, Antoine?

    Like

  14. Antoine says:

    James,

    The real smokescreen here is your continued use of this cost-benefit tangent. You’ve not yet addressed my original question. Do you feel DDT is an effective tool in combating malaria?

    I’ll say this again, based my reading on all sides of the issue, the cost of using DDT and the benefits of not using it do not outweigh the benefits of using it and the cost of not using it. I did not do a scientific study. Many others have already done and are doing them. It is my opinion and I do not apologize for it.

    I think you want me to say, “since some believe DDT is harmful to the environment, we shouldn’t use it.” If not that statement then something along those lines. I don’t not feel those statements are valid and much of the data supporting them, in my opinion, is inclusive.

    DDT is an effective tool in combating malaria. This has been proven time and time again. Take a look at he chart YOU supplied — http://www.doh.gov.za/issues/malaria/death71-03.html.

    You will not find in any of my posts on this issue statements saying that DDT is the only method or that it shouldn’t be used in the most efficient ways possible or in conjunction with other methods. As a matter of fact, I’ve said that we should use all methods at our disposal — including DDT.

    The protection of human life is my priority (it is not a smokescreen). That’s the case even when risks are involved. It does not follow, as you seem to believe, that I do not take those risk into account and balance them against my priority.

    What about you? Based on what you’ve said, human life may not be your priority. What is?

    Like

  15. James Hanley says:

    Antoine asked,

    If you don’t know enough about DDT to do a cost-benefit analysis, how can you say my conclusions are faulty?

    Because your methodology’s faulty. If you’re not accounting for all the costs, then your conclusions cannot be anything but faulty.

    Everything else, including your “won’t somebody think of the children” type pleading about wanting to save millions, is all a smokescreen.

    For example, if DDT is overused and the mosquitoes that carry the parasites evolve resistance to it (which is inevitable), then you won’t be saving any lives in the long-run at all. If you cause other environmental harms, those are costs that have to be measured against the actual lives saved. If those lives can be saved through other methods with less harm, then those other methods should be considered.

    I can’t do the cost-benefit analysis because I don’t know all the details. But I can recognize a cost-benefit analysis that fails to actually account for any costs of using DDT, which is what you have done, and know that it’s completely faulty. Unless you can show that there are zero costs to the use of DDT, you have to include those costs before you can honestly claim to be doing any kind of cost-benefit analysis.

    Trust me. I may not know much about malaria and DDT themselves, but I do know the methodology of cost-benefit analysis, and you’re definitely not doing it right.

    Like

  16. Ed Darrell says:

    Ed, I am not a publicist. I saw the movie. You will too, someday. That is wrong information about “Royce” being a publicist for 3 Billion and Counting and you should remove it.

    Royce, I’m seeing exactly the same phrases in exactly the same order at site after site. I’ve organized postcard campaigns before, and I recognize the signs.

    If you aren’t part of the public relations effort for the film, you have created one of the most astounding coincidences in public relations history.

    Since others are getting paid to do what you did, aren’t you a little put off that you’re doing it for free?

    Like

  17. Ed Darrell says:

    My original question was — is DDT an effective tool in fighting malaria?

    I answered that question with the my conclusion based on the information I’ve read. That information included studies on accumulation of DDT in breast milk, potential environmental effects, potential hazards to human health,etc. There have even been recent studies suggesting it effects the quality of semen (basically a hypothesis at this point). These are some of the potential cost of using DDT. As I said, these arguments were not convincing enough to sway my opinion.

    I’ve said several times that my concern is the saving of millions of lives worldwide. The effectiveness of DDT in this respect has been demonstrated time and time again. There, in my opinion, has been no conclusive evidence supporting the supposed dangerous/costs of using DDT.

    And my answer was that you have not looked at the data — you present no evidence that DDT works to prevent malaria.

    How can we do cost-benefit analyses if we don’t look at whether there are benefits?

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  18. Antoine says:

    James,

    If you don’t know enough about DDT to do a cost-benefit analysis, how can you say my conclusions are faulty?

    My original question was — is DDT an effective tool in fighting malaria?

    I answered that question with the my conclusion based on the information I’ve read. That information included studies on accumulation of DDT in breast milk, potential environmental effects, potential hazards to human health,etc. There have even been recent studies suggesting it effects the quality of semen (basically a hypothesis at this point). These are some of the potential cost of using DDT. As I said, these arguments were not convincing enough to sway my opinion.

    I’ve said several times that my concern is the saving of millions of lives worldwide. The effectiveness of DDT in this respect has been demonstrated time and time again. There, in my opinion, has been no conclusive evidence supporting the supposed dangerous/costs of using DDT.

    You fully understand that a complete cost-benefit analysis of DDT would take pages and pages of detailed commentary on and citation of volumes of research. I find that highly impractical in this type of forum.

    I encourage you to do your personal research.

    Like

  19. Royce says:

    Ed, I am not a publicist. I saw the movie. You will too, someday. That is wrong information about “Royce” being a publicist for 3 Billion and Counting and you should remove it.

    Wow, but it sure shows me how totally false info, spouted by you, gets passed around.

    Like

  20. James Hanley says:

    Antoine,

    I don’t know enough about DDT to do a cost-benefit analysis of it.

    I do know enough about cost-benefit analysis to know that you’re being dishonest, manipulative, and self-serving in your approach to it. “I don’t think those things matter, compared to saving lives, so I won’t even include them” is bulls**t. You simply don’t know how to do CB analysis or you would never–never–just compare benefits of use to costs of non-use. That’s not a cost-benefit analysis.

    If the benefits really do outweigh the costs, then you can do an honest analysis and demonstrate that. Then you’d have a really persuasive argument. But as long as you do a dishonest approach, avoiding a real CB analysis, then it continues to look like you have something to hide, like you don’t have enough confidence in your claims to do the analysis the right way.

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  21. karl says:

    @ PCB “And PCBs don’t cause egg shell thinning?”

    Red herring. Whether or not PCBs also cause egg shell thinning doesn’t matter. You contend that DDT didn’t cause egg shell thinning citing ancient sources, and I debunked this claim citing newer, better sources. (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp35.pdf, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17022422, and I’ll add the Fish Wildlife Service: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/eagle/recovery/biologue.html.) Anyone who thinks that DDT doesn’t thin eggshells in certain species is wrong.

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  22. Ed Darrell says:

    These authors apparently discount the fact that some African countries are presently making highly effective use of DDT to reduce both malaria deaths and malaria infections.

    Which is it, Antoine? Is DDT banned or not? Is it being used or not?

    If it’s not banned and it’s being used, we don’t need more, do we.

    Like

  23. Ed Darrell says:

    The poisoning of Africa is the result of not using DDT and it’s been going on for at least four decades. The continued colonization of Africa, of which the denial of DDT use is a part, has been going on for centuries.

    But DDT use was stopped because overuse made it ineffective. You’ve got the wrong cause-effect relationship.

    Explain this: WHO slowed DDT use and ended its eradication campaign in 1965, when DDT stopped working as they needed it to work (and because political problems prevented the rest of the program from working — still a problem).

    EPA banned agricultural use of DDT in the U.S. only in 1972.

    Where is there any cause-effect relationship? EPA’s ban didn’t influence DDT use prior to the ban occurring — not even William Ruckelshaus is capable of such time travel. Mosquitoes can’t migrate from Texas to Africa.

    Why would you defend such claims?

    In regards to the mystery you suggested I investigate, here’s your answer. In 2006 there were 0 estimated malaria deaths in Mexico and 9,483 cases.

    No, that’s not the answer, really. If DDT is the miracle powder, with 60 years of use in Mexico, why are there 9,483 cases in 2006? If DDT works so well as you claim, there should be no malaria, right? Especially with 60 years of use there should be no malaria.

    And if you claim that the declines justify DDT use, you should be aware that with DDT malaria kept coming back — Mexico has been looking for alternatives for at least a decade, and the non-DDT alternatives are creating the reductions now.

    As an aside and at the risk of being called a “Rutledge apologist,” it appears to me that the 3 billion number refers to the number of people affected by the DDT ban and not the number of deaths since the ban.

    I can’t get Taylor to explain it. There are about 4.5 billion people in malaria-endemic areas of the world — so his number would be 1.5 billion short of the number “affected.” Between 250 million and 500 million people a year have a bout of malaria. No number of years mentioned rolls that up to 3 billion. If he’s referring to deaths from malaria, he’s off by an order of magnitude.

    The sloppy math is just one more sign of the generally lackadaisical attitude toward factual accuracy in this production, it seems to me. They plucked the “3 billion” number out of the air, rather like the number in the title of the book, Catch 22. That novel was at least funny, and had a lot of socially redeeming value. I haven’t seen that for this movie, yet.

    This is from the website — This is the story of how a few white men in Washington wiped out black, brown and yellow peoples, millions of innocent men, women, and children – continuing this very day… This very hour…

    “Wiped out” suggests deaths, don’t you think? In any case, that claim is a bald-faced lie.

    Word got out that Taylor is a crank. Most serious scientists refused to talk to him. An honest journalist would have used secondary sources. It appears to me that Taylor simply made stuff up, or took whatever nasty things anyone said about people who refused to talk to him.

    Was Ben Stein a producer on this film?

    Basic claims of the film are factually inaccurate. There is no ban on DDT in Africa, nor Asia. DDT is in use, probably as much as it can be safely and effectively used (emphasis on “effectively”). Malaria death rates have been declining for the past 40 years, and now are the lowest in human history.

    Taylor’s film may fall into the category of “no good deed goes unpunished.” He indicts health care workers and health agencies who have fought malaria for decades. He promotes people who have done nothing but get in the way of malaria fighting in Africa.

    And he’s convinced people like you to make illogical and unfounded claims.

    Bad stuff all around.

    Like

  24. Antoine says:

    Karl,

    Here’s the text of the rebuttal from Donald Roberts and Richard Tren to the letter you posted from Herren and Mbogo. It can be found here — http://www.fightingmalaria.org/article.aspx?id=1470

    —————————

    DDT in Malaria Control: Roberts and Tren Respond

    Donald Roberts & Richard Tren | 01 Jul 2010
    Environmental Health Perspectives

    [Environmental Health Perspectives continues the debate on DDT’s role in malaria control. Herren & Mbogo respond to AFM’s Roberts and Tren letter commenting on a paper published in 2009 by van den Berg. Roberts and Tren in turn respond below to Herren & Mbogo’s letter, defending their work to protect the use of DDT in malaria control, and warn that as pressure mounts to eliminate all uses of DDT without a true replacement, the debates will become more polemic in nature.]

    Herren and Mbogo’s critique of our response (Tren and Roberts 2010) to van den Berg (2009) is lacking in substance. In their letter, they attack our work by characterizing our advocacy for using DDT to control malaria as a distraction from larger malaria control issues. These authors apparently discount the fact that some African countries are presently making highly effective use of DDT to reduce both malaria deaths and malaria infections. Countries that use DDT benefit from its spatial repellent action that stops mosquitoes from entering houses and transmitting disease, and no alternative insecticide does this (Roberts and Tren 2010). In addition, Herren and Mbogo apparently do not understand that our advocacy is consistent with that exhibited by the malaria control community, with hundreds signing a petition to prevent DDT elimination through Stockholm Convention negotiations. If DDT had been eliminated, countries presently using DDT would have been deprived of its benefits for protecting health and saving lives. Herren and Mbogo claim that our response to van den Berg’s commentary (van den Berg 2009) was fixated on DDT, in lieu of addressing the larger issues of what should be done to control malaria. In our letter (Roberts and Tren 2010), we addressed what we considered to be an attack on DDT use. How could we have responded without addressing the issues in van den Berg’s commentary?

    Herren and Mbogo mischaracterize our position vis-à-vis DDT and alternative insecticides by asserting that we are reducing the malaria control debate to a simplistic equation of malaria or DDT. In fact, we have a public record of supporting the use of insecticide-treated nets and the use of alternative insecticides for malaria control. However, we have repeatedly emphasized that, for obvious reasons, insecticide-treated nets are not the only solution for malaria control. In fact, we object to a theme of nets and nets alone as much as we would object to a theme of DDT and DDT alone. Basically, there is no single-solution approach to malaria control. All tools are needed—not just those that are currently in vogue.

    Herren and Mbogo state that they are fully aware that malaria is a worse outcome than possible health effects of DDT. We agree with them and appreciate their willingness to admit this, because their admission opposes published speculations that DDT might be causing more harm than good (Chen and Rogan 2003).

    Herren and Mbogo conclude that we “do more to fuel those ‘interminable debates’ [DDT or no DDT for malaria control] than to meaningfully inform decisions that will save people’s lives.” It seems that these authors ignore the fundamental fact that we do not elaborate on alternative approaches to malaria control because the alternatives are not presently under threat of elimination. The alternatives are being used and should continue to be used, but the future is far less certain for DDT. Advocacy saved DDT from being eliminated during the original negotiations for the Stockholm Convention, and lives are being saved and diseases prevented as a consequence. The idea that the threat is over and that DDT is now available to those countries making effective use of it is wrong. The Stockholm Convention Secretariat is now planning to stop all production of DDT in 2017 and eliminate it entirely from use in malaria control programs in 2020 (UN Environment Program 2010). The Stockholm Convention Secretariat plans to prevent future uses of DDT, even though there is no cost-effective replacement for DDT. Given these circumstances, Herren and Mbogo should expect the interminable debates to become even more polemic in the future.

    As for the big issues of what should be done to control malaria, our position is clear: Decisions should be based on scientific evidence of what actually works, on local circumstances, and on what proves to be the most cost-effective in terms of reducing disease and preventing human deaths.

    Like

  25. Antoine says:

    Ed,

    Your first answer to my question was “no” but then the remainder of your response basically said yes!

    I asked if DDT is an effective tool. These are your words — “DDT is a tool useful for temporarily knocking down the populations of mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite from human to human.”

    The WHO agrees — DDT has comparatively long residual efficacy (≥ 6 months) against
    malaria vectors and plays an important role in the management of vector resistance. ~ WHO World Malaria Report 2009.

    Please understand, I never meant to suggest that DDT should be the only tool. This problem is far to large to use only one tool. I agree with you, there are many tools. I happen to feel that all tools should be used — including DDT. All tools should also be used wisely so as to achieve maximum benefit. This would preclude overuse.

    The poisoning of Africa is the result of not using DDT and it’s been going on for at least four decades. The continued colonization of Africa, of which the denial of DDT use is a part, has been going on for centuries.

    In regards to the mystery you suggested I investigate, here’s your answer. In 2006 there were 0 estimated malaria deaths in Mexico and 9,483 cases.

    As an aside and at the risk of being called a “Rutledge apologist,” it appears to me that the 3 billion number refers to the number of people affected by the DDT ban and not the number of deaths since the ban. This is from the website — This is the story of how a few white men in Washington wiped out black, brown and yellow peoples, millions of innocent men, women, and children – continuing this very day… This very hour…

    Like

  26. Ed Darrell says:

    I was using S. Africa as an example. They were able to achieve approximately an 80% reduction in malaria deaths (95% over 3 years according to your chart). If, for example, other countries could achieve similar results — 800,000 lives worldwide would be saved. Forgive me for not stating the obvious. I know all countries are not the same as S. Africa. Nigeria, for example, suffered over 225,000 deaths in 2006.

    For me, it boils down to saving lives. I have not seen any convincing evidence that DDT does anything to the contrary.

    Antoine, I’m not convinced you’re doing a fair cost-benefit. You’re relying on just one side of a multi-faceted argument, and you’re disregarding all contrary evidence. For a serious cost-benefit analysis, you need the facts. I don’t think you’ve got them.

    South Africa used DDT constantly, and rather heavily, for more than 50 years, without wiping out malaria. When they switched to Rachel-Carson-approved integrated vector management techniques, they achieved significant reductions in deaths and incidence of disease.

    Their neighboring nations let things get out of control, however. New, migrant populations of mosquitoes moved in, populations that were less resistant to DDT. (And if you bother to read that story, you’ll see that South Africa quickly switched from DDT, without a rise in malaria deaths. The difference is not DDT, the difference is in using integrated vector management principles.)

    In one instance, use of DDT could be justified. Notice that it was still much-reduced DDT use, in harmony with Rachel Carson’s integrated vector management urgings — and of course, the fact that South Africa used DDT so long after the mythical “ban” on use completely refutes claims that DDT was banned and is unavailable.

    But don’t worry about giving up most of the arguments for DDT merely by using one bad example — the case for DDT is weak through and through.

    But are you calling for a serious reduction in malaria? South Africa couldn’t achieve that with DDT in general. You’ve not accounted for that — nor even looked to the entire history, so far as I can determine.

    Cost-benefit analysis? DDT achieves a 25% to 50% reduction in malaria incidence and disease, when used in conjunction with other malaria-fighting methods. Application costs about $12 per hut, and must be repeated at six month intervals — $24/year.

    Bednets cost about $10, and last five years. $2/year. Nets achieve reductions of 50% to 85% in malaria incidence and deaths.

    DDT sucks up the money for bednets, is less effective, and more expensive, limiting the number of people protected.

    You originally asked whether DDT was effective at reducing malaria, and I said no, not really. You persist in assuming it works better than anything else, an assumption wholly ungrounded in fact.

    No cost-benefit can work if you don’t start with good, accurate data.

    Like

  27. Antoine says:

    James,

    I suspected you would make that argument concerning my cost benefit analysis as I knowingly left out the benefit of not using DDT vs the cost of using it. I did that for several reasons. Mainly, the arguments for those areas of the analysis are not convincing enough to me to sway my opinion. Therefore, the only remaining areas of importance to me are the benefit of using DDT vs the cost of not using it. I also did it for the sake of brevity.

    If, for example, S. Africa reintroduced DDT and found a 100 fold increase in respiratory illness and resultant death (directly connected to DDT use) while seeing only a 10% reduction in malaria deaths — I may have a different opinion. That is not the case nor is anything similar. In this instance, hundreds of lives were saved and tens of thousands were spared the pain and mutilation of infection. I have not ignored the arguments to which you allude. I simply don’t find them convincing. They are certainly not convincing enough to condone one million people dying every year.

    I’m curious, in your cost benefit analysis what do you see as the benefits of using DDT and the cost of not using it?

    As for my math, I’m not sure what your questioning. The chart you linked proves my point. The reintroduction of DDT led to a significant reduction in malaria deaths in S. Africa.

    I was using S. Africa as an example. They were able to achieve approximately an 80% reduction in malaria deaths (95% over 3 years according to your chart). If, for example, other countries could achieve similar results — 800,000 lives worldwide would be saved. Forgive me for not stating the obvious. I know all countries are not the same as S. Africa. Nigeria, for example, suffered over 225,000 deaths in 2006.

    For me, it boils down to saving lives. I have not seen any convincing evidence that DDT does anything to the contrary.

    Like

  28. Ed Darrell says:

    Nits – Don’t know how effective DDT is at wiping out nits, nor elephants for that matter. Now that you mention elephants though….just how much of an effect does indoor residual spraying with DDT have on the environment? Surely IRS would minimise environmental exposure and help to wipe out malaria when used in combination with other tools?

    If the hut walls are not washed and the wash water cast into local streams, the effects are probably small on wildlife. Recent studies suggest a lifetime rise in mortality from cancers and other problems that occur because children are exposed to DDT.

    Taylor Rutledge isn’t calling for Indoor Residual Spraying — that’s already being done almost to the maximum. He’s calling for “more,” which must mean broadcast spraying, right?

    Can he be so silly as to have missed the fact that DDT is currently in use across Africa?

    Like

  29. PCBs says:

    @ James – interesting chart on malaria deaths in South Africa. The other thing it does show is how the number of deaths changed with the policy on vector control. Synthetic pyrethroids were reintroduced in place of DDT in 1995/96. The number of deaths increased for a number of reasons. DDT was then reintroduced. Subsequently there was a marked decrease in the number of malaria cases and deaths in the country since 2001.

    So it’s important to be able to change strategy and most importantly, to have the choice to be able to change.

    Like

  30. PCBs says:

    @ Karl

    And PCBs don’t cause egg shell thinning?

    Like

  31. Spotting the elephant says:

    Nits – Don’t know how effective DDT is at wiping out nits, nor elephants for that matter. Now that you mention elephants though….just how much of an effect does indoor residual spraying with DDT have on the environment? Surely IRS would minimise environmental exposure and help to wipe out malaria when used in combination with other tools?

    Like

  32. Ed Darrell says:

    Getting back to egg shell thinning:

    You’re picking at nits and missing the elephants.

    Since Carson published in 1962, there have been more than 1,000 studies done which verified her fears that DDT harms birds, with no clearly substantiated studies to the contrary.

    Discover Magazine, November 2007:

    In fact, Carson may have underestimated the impact of DDT on birds, says Michael Fry, an avian toxicologist and director of the American Bird Conservancy’s pesticides and birds program. She was not aware that DDT—or rather its metabolite, DDE—causes eggshell thinning because the data were not published until the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was eggshell thinning that devastated fish-eating birds and birds of prey, says Fry, and this effect is well documented in a report (pdf) [497 pages!]on DDT published in 2002 by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The report, which cites over 1,000 references, also describes how DDT and its breakdown products accumulate in the tissues of animals high up on terrestrial and aquatic food chains—a process that induced reproductive and neurological defects in birds and fish.

    Like

  33. karl says:

    @PCBs

    It’s 2010. In the intervening 42 years, it has been well established that DDT/DDE causes eggshell thinning in many bird species. See http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp35.pdf for a more recent assessment review of the evidence. This, too, is a little old now (from 2010) but is very comprehensive.

    Like

  34. PCBs says:

    Getting back to egg shell thinning:

    Drs. Joseph J. Hickey and Daniel W. Anderson, reported in 1968 that high concentrations of DDT were found in the eggs of wild raptor populations. The two concluded that increased eggshell fragility in peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and ospreys was due to DDT exposure.

    However….. what is often not brought to light is that in a follow up study, using a more modern methodology, Drs. Hickey and Anderson admitted that the egg extracts they had studied contained little or no DDT. Indeed, they said they were pursuing PCBs, as the culprit.

    The two studies mentioned above are:
    Hickey JJ, Anderson DW. Chlorinated hydrocarbons and eggshell changes in raptorial and fish-eating birds. Science. 1968; 162:271–273.
    Anderson DW, Hickey JJ, Risebrough RW, Hughes DF, Christensen RE. Significance of chlorinated hydrocarbon residues to breeding pelicans and cormorants. The Canadian Field-Naturalist. 1969; 83:91–112.

    Like

  35. James Hanley says:

    OK, I hate to be that kind of commenter, but I just decided to follow up Antoine’s claims a bit more. According to this chart from the South African Department of Health, between 1971 and 2003, there were only two years in which South Africa had as many as 400 deaths from malaria.

    Like

  36. James Hanley says:

    By the way, Antoine, let’s look at your math.

    Using S. Africa’s results as an example, the cost of not using DDT is over 60,000 cases of malaria a year with more than 400 deaths…Using DDT to combat malaria could save 800,000 lives a year in developing nations.

    OK, if South Africa has 400 deaths per year, then you’d need 2,000 countries like South Africa to reach 800,000 lives a year. Since there are just under 200 countries in the world, and not all of them are developing, you’re off by more than an order of magnitude.

    Is that how your side of the debate works, by using obviously false numbers?

    Like

  37. James Hanley says:

    Antoine,

    No, you don’t know how to do cost-benefit analysis. It’s not “what is the cost of not doing X vs. the benefit of doing it.” It’s what are the benefits and costs of doing X versus the benefits and costs of not doing X. Whichever has a higher benefit to cost ratio is what you should do.

    So the cost-benefit analysis is: what are the the benefits and costs of using DDT vs. the benefits and costs of not using it. And cost isn’t just the dollars, but the negative environmental and health benefits of using it. If all you look at is the benefits of using it, and you ignore the costs of using it, of course it looks good, but it’s not a correct analysis.

    For example, let’s say scientists discovery miracle chemical Q. Q will completely eliminate typhus, eradicating it completely from the face of the earth, saving 1,400 lives per year, at a cost of only pennies per person. From your perspective, we ought to immediately put chemical Q to use. But there’s a cost. Q is carcinogenic and mutagenic. It will cause approximately 1,000 cancer deaths per year and approximately 2,000 severely deformed babies per year. Suddenly miracle chemical Q doesn’t look so good.

    Q isn’t meant to directly represent DDT, so I’m not making those specific claims about DDT. But DDT does comes with costs to its use, and you are ignoring them. If your argument about its use is really sound, you don’t need to do that, and you can demonstrate that the benefits of its use would in fact outweigh the costs of its use. Instead, you simply ignore those costs.

    Like

  38. karl says:

    @ Antoine “Seems to me that the main question should be — is DDT effective in fighting malaria?”

    Actually, if your goal is to stop people from getting malaria, the main question should be, “What’s the best tool or suite of tools for fighting malaria?” Spraying DDT isn’t the only way to fighting malaria, and pretending that it is doesn’t help inform the debate. What’s more effective: DDT or malathion or bifenthrin or some other insecticide? What’s more dangerous to people and the environment? What’s most cost effective? What’s more effective: bedbugs or spraying insecticides or getting the right drugs into people’s hands? These are the question that folks fighting malaria must ask. And the answers to these questions will be different depending on where you are and when you are. For a time in the 1950’s DDT was very cheap and very effective and there weren’t other pesticides and other (non-chemical) alternatives hadn’t been invented. DDT was probably the best option then, even considering its adverse health and environment effects. But it’s 60 years later, and we have better, safer tools, and DDT isn’t nearly as effective because or resistance.

    A recent letter to Environmental Health Perspectives made a similar point, calling out Africa Fighting Malaria (who’s Roger Bate is seen in 3 Billion’s trialer) for their narrow minded focus on DDT.

    Below is the letter in its entirety (sans references). The letter can be found at http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1002279, the reference is Herren HR, Mbogo C. 2010. The Role of DDT in Malaria Control. Environ Health Perspect 118:a282-a282.


    The Role of DDT in Malaria Control

    Hans Rudolf Herren, Charles Mbogo
    Millennium Institute, Arlington, Virginia, E-mail: hansrherren@mac.com, icipe–International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya

    The letter “DDT and Malaria Control” (Tren and Roberts 2010) is the latest in a long string of opinion pieces placed by authors associated with Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM). Appearing in both the popular media (e.g., AFM 2006; Bate 2009; Bate and De Lorenzo 2007; Roberts 2007a; Tren 2002) and scientific literature (e.g., Attaran et al. 2000; Roberts 2001, 2007b; Roberts et al. 2000, 2004; Tren 2009), these articles and letters reduce the complex issue of malaria control to a single, dichotomous choice between DDT and malaria. Framing the issue in this manner is a dangerous oversimplification and an distraction from the critical dialog on how to effectively combat malaria around the world—particularly in African communities.

    The question that AFM and malaria control experts must ask is not “Which is worse, malaria or DDT?” but rather “What are the best tools to deploy for malaria control in a given situation, taking into account the on-the-ground challenges and needs, efficacy, cost, and collateral effects—both positive and negative—to human health and the environment, as well as the uncertainties associated with all these considerations?”

    Tren and Roberts (2010) briefly acknowledged that alternatives to DDT exist (while denigrating them as “supposed solutions”), but in typical fashion they focused most of their letter on the chemical, arguing that the health effects of malaria are much worse that those of DDT exposure. As malaria professionals we are well aware of the dire health consequences of malaria, but also of DDT. The challenge before us is therefore to determine how much weight to give to vector control within the broader context of a malaria control program; within vector control, how much weight to allot to nets versus indoor residual spraying (IRS); and within IRS, how much weight to give to DDT or some other chemical.

    These decisions are indeed complex and location specific. In this regard, van den Berg’s commentary, “Global Status of DDT and Its Alternatives for Use in Vector Control to Prevent Disease” (van den Berg 2009), is a most useful contribution. In contrast, Tren and Roberts’ (2010) advice that “van den Berg’s concerns should be ignored” strikes us as reckless and irresponsible.

    In 2006, Allan Schapira, former coordinator of vector control and prevention of World Health Organization’s Global Malaria Programme, observed that malaria control discussions had become “polluted,” and warned, “The renewed interest in indoor residual spraying could lead to interminable debates in countries about the pros and cons of DDT” (Schapira 2006). However well intentioned, Tren and Roberts (2010)—as with much of AFM’s output—do more to fuel those “interminable debates” than to meaningfully inform decisions that will save people’s lives.

    Like

  39. Ed Darrell says:

    Also, Antoine, you should know that South Africa didn’t rely on DDT in the second round — Bendiocarb was the stuff. Read the full, and more complex, story at Deltoid.

    Here’s a mystery for you: Mexico has used DDT without stop since 1946, but still has a rising malaria problem. Were DDT a panacea against malaria, this should not be — what’s going on?

    What about India, China and North Korea, where DDT manufacturing continues or continued until just recently?

    Like

  40. Antoine says:

    James, I’m definitely considering the costs vs the benefits and my considerations are centered around fact that lives are at stake.

    Using S. Africa’s results as an example, the cost of not using DDT is over 60,000 cases of malaria a year with more than 400 deaths. The benefits of using DDT is less than 8,000 cases per year and less than 80 deaths.

    Using DDT to combat malaria could save 800,000 lives a year in developing nations.

    Like

  41. Ed Darrell says:

    Seems to me that the main question should be — is DDT effective in fighting malaria?

    No, it’s not effective in fighting malaria, especially as a sole tool. Malaria parasites are relatively unaffected by DDT, while the human victims of the parasites would be driven to severe organ damage with enough DDT to slow the parasites.

    DDT is a tool useful for temporarily knocking down the populations of mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite from human to human.

    The World Health Organizatio had an ambitious campaign to eradicate malaria from the world, once upon a time. DDT was a key tool — if 80% of homes in any one area could be made inhospitable to mosquitoes with DDT, the local health authorities had six months to cure all the human victims. Then, when the mosquitoes came roaring back — as they always do come roaring back when DDT is used — there would be no pool of malaria infection in humans for the mosquitoes to catch. The malaria parasite’s life cycle would be broken, and malaria would disappear. Mosquito bites would be just mosquito bites (except of course for a few other mosquito-borne diseases).

    Alas, DDT advocates went hog-wild with DDT in Africa and Asia, spraying it all over the place, especially on crops. Mosquitoes breed quickly, and they consequently evolve quickly. By 1965, mosquitoes in Africa showed serious resistance and even immunity to DDT.

    Sadly, WHO called off the eradication of malaria campaign. Overuse of DDT had made it impossible.

    There is powerful irony to poison advocates like Rutledge Taylor (who probably wasn’t alive in 1965) urging the overuse of DDT once again, claiming it will save lives. Overuse of DDT prevented the eradication of malaria once before — how many millions have died? 3 billion, Taylor incorrectly calculates.

    Some people never learn from history.

    To beat malaria, we need improved health care delivery systems to accurately diagnose the disease quickly, and which form of the disease, to quickly prescribe appropriate medicines to cure the disease in human victims, and some method to be certain that medicine or other therapeutic protocol is carried out completely. We need education on prophylaxis: How to prevent human/mosquito contact during times when malaria-carrying mosquitoes bite (evening to very early morning), how to drain mosquito breeding areas within about 50 yards of places where humans frequent (mosquitoes rarely travel more than 50 yards in a lifetime), improved housing with better window screens (one of the keys to eradicating malaria from the U.S.), and other common-sense, permanent solutions to the problem.

    DDT has a small role to play, but it is a very small an decreasing role. DDT does not fight malaria, but temporarily — TEMPORARILY — knocks down some non-immune mosquito populations, granting time for other solutions.

    We can’t poison Africa to good health. No, DDT is not very effective at fighting malaria any more. Bednets are twice as effective in most areas of Africa, and dramatically less expensive. Abuse of DDT can exacerbate the problem, as it did in the past. Plus, DDT is a deadly environmental toxin that kills a lot more than just mosquitoes.

    Like

  42. James Hanley says:

    Antoine wrote:

    Seems to me that the main question should be — is DDT effective in fighting malaria? The answer is yes..This fight against DDT is becoming a fight against protecting people … from a deadly disease.

    You’re focusing on only one effect of DDT. You’re considering the benefit without considering the cost. I doubt you do that as a consumer, so why would you do it when people’s lives are at stake?

    The question you should be asking is: “How do the costs and benefits of using DDT to fight malaria add up?”

    Like

  43. Antoine says:

    Seems to me that the main question should be — is DDT effective in fighting malaria? The answer is yes. In 2005 S. Africa reported a reduction of malaria cases of over 55,000 versus the number of cases in 2000. They went from over 400 deaths per year to less than 75 during the same time period. They attribute this directly to the reintroduction of DDT.

    This fight against DDT is becoming a fight against protecting people (one million deaths a year and mostly pregnant women and children) from a deadly disease.

    Like

  44. Ed Darrell says:

    Somebody mentioned the “hidingthetruth” site, and their wildly hysteric article favoring poisoning Africa with DDT.

    How far from the truth are they? They use this quote at the top of the article:

    “To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. In little more than two decades DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable.”
    – National Academy of Sciences, 1970

    But they fail to mention that, in that same publication, the National Academy of Sciences calls for a complete phase out of DDT, because of its dangers.

    Their “500 million deaths” was a typo, too — but focus on the dishonesty of taking a book that calls for DDT to be eliminated from use, and using a quote from that same book to claim that the group instead calls for DDT to be used more heavily.

    If they’ll lie to you like that, on issues you could track down, why would they ever bother to tell the truth?

    Like

  45. Ed Darrell says:

    Peter, I notice you are very selective in your reading, in the questions you answer, and the issues you pursue. You wish to cross-examine me.

    Alas, I am not a full-time blogger. My apologies. You lose. I haven’t got to your first post here, yet. We met at another blog? You probably didn’t read the links I offered there, either.

    Peter said:

    Ed, I notice you are very selective in the questions you answer. I’m going to repost this question I asked you last week in the blog “Death by 1000 papercuts” which you never answered. The repost is as follows.

    Peter on September 30, 2010 at 17:24

    Ed, there’s several questions I’d like to ask in reference to several statements you made. You said for me to ” Read Sweeney’s hearing record — all 9,000+ pages, and the decision — and you’ll see key difference in what was proposed and claimed at this blog, and what Sweeney’s talking about.” What you infer Ed is that you have read the 9,000+ pages of Sweeney’s hearing record. My question is: Have you read the entire 9,000+ pages of the hearing on DDT which begun on August 17, 1971 in which Edmond M. Sweeney was the Hearing Examiner. Yes or no ?

    If it's a "yes or no," the answer is yes. That puts me ahead of Rutledge Taylor, and you.

    Did you want an accurate answer? A serious answer?

    When I first discovered this unholy campaign against Rachel Carson, several years ago, I got a copy of Sweeney's hearing decision, which was difficult to do at the time, and I borrowed a library copy of what one technical library had of the 9,000 pages. I read many of them. I did not have a photocopier or a scanner at the time, and there was some hope that they would be turned into internet-available products. I don't have it now.

    I did read Sweeney's decision, and it is available on line. I also read Ruckelshaus's decision — which overturned only one small part of Sweeney's decision, people keep failing to mention, the part about enforceability. I read the decisions in the two cases that forced the hearings, first at the Department of Agriculture (from which Sweeney came in the reorganization of duties required under THE EPA's creation law), and then at EPA. I read the studies that Gordon Edwards referenced, so far as they can be tracked down — several of his citations are bum citations, including his citation of the EPA hearings and decision ("40 CFR 164.32" is not a citation to any part of the hearings nor Sweeney's decision, but is instead part of the Edwards/Milloy/Taylor campaign to make false statements about DDT, Rachel Carson and the hearings, and make it so difficult to check on that no reporter would pursue any claim through the mazes to check them out — Milloy has refused to correct that false citation for over a decade now).

    DDT and its effects took up a lot of pages and a lot of lectures in my coursework in biology and electives as an undergraduate, and in my law courses, in the land development program at George Washington. Cancer and its causes, FDA rulings and EPA procedures, were topics I know intimately from years staffing the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.

    Any claim that DDT was deregistered for crop spraying "arbitrarily" is a legal falsehood. Any claim that the U.S. ban on spraying DDT on cotton somehow caused a leap in malarial mosquitoes in Africa is patently absurd, legally specious since U.S. authority does not extend to Africa nor Asia, and geographically impossible (mosquitoes migrate maybe 100 yards in a lifetime, never across oceans).

    Claims against Rachel Carson, William Ruckelshaus, science and the government arise as much out of ignorance of administrative and trial law as out of sheer malice toward science and scientists.

    Now answer my questions, please: Have you even seen a single page of the hearing transcript? Is that relevant to this discussion in any way? Did you bother to read EPA's history of regulation of DDT? Have you read any of the four decisions in the court cases on DDT and EPA's ruling? Have you read Rachel Carson's book (you don't appear to know anything about it)? Have you checked any of the citations offered by any of the crank critics of Rachel Carson, including Gordon Edwards, Steven Milloy, or Taylor Rutledge?

    My next question which is more of a request is for you to prove that DDT causes cancer in humans.

    Have you even bothered to look for any studies? When you don’t do your homework, why do you bother me for it?

    Of course I can’t prove DDT causes cancer. Science doesn’t work on affirmative “proofs,” but on disproofs of hypotheses. Your hypothesis that DDT is safe was disproven in 1939 when Paul Müller demonstrated it kills insects with abandon. The hypothesis that DDT doesn’t continue to kill was disproven by the DDT manufacturers’ studies, which they touted in their advertising, that it was long-lived (Mueller knew this, too).

    The hypothesis that DDT does not cause cancer has been disproven in a long series of experiments that show it increases damage to organs that leads to cancer, including livers, and that it causes cancer in mammals. There is no strong link to cancers in humans from DDT — breast cancer in women exposed to DDT appears not to be linked in any significant way; the link was disproven. But attempts to disprove DDT as a carcinogen confront the fact that, if not carcinogenic to humans, it would be the only substance known to be a carcinogen for other mammals that is not a carcinogen for humans, and that is highly unlikely. Consequently, every cancer-fighting group in the world lists DDT as a “probable human carcinogen.” You doubt the American Cancer Society? Take it up with them.

    In the meantime, studies continue to provide evidence that DDT is a cause of cancer; leading cancer authorities agree. Got any studies contradicting them?

    Understand that your asking for proof that DDT causes cancer is a red herring argument. DDT was not banned from food by USDA and FDA because it causes cancer, but solely because it is a contaminant, toxic poison. DDT was not banned from agricultural use because of human cancers, but solely because it is a destroyer of ecosystems.

    So, if anyone could, hypothetically, “prove” that DDT causes cancer in humans, there would be no regulatory action to change.

    And finally I would like to ask you to prove that DDT destroys ecosystems.

    Zero on your second homework assignment. Do you know anything about the history of bald eagles on the endangered species list, or are you being a passive aggressive pest, just to be a pest? Are you being obnoxious, are are you really so helpless with the internet, and Google-challenged?

    First, read Edmund Sweeney’s decision in the EPA case. Well documented in those 9,000 pages is the damage DDT causes to ecosystems, insects, fish, small mammals, amphibians and reptiles, and Sweeney noted the damage in his decision. (The Army asked to keep DDT to kill bats in barracks; they were relying on poison instead of screening to keep bats at bay. DDT nearly destroyed bat populations in the American southwest — a high irony, because bats consume about ten times their body weight in insects every evening, and many bats prey heavily or exclusively on mosquitoes.) That decision reveals the falsehood of the claims that Sweeney found DDT harmless.

    But — seriously — have you ever studied this issue at all?

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  46. James Hanley says:

    Mr. Hanley’s other concerns are carried out by Audubon’s own qualifications at charts made at the site: [etc. …]

    Dang, I didn’t find that in their website, and I hate missing important things like that. But I was hoping they did in fact have some discussion of that, so thanks for pointing that out.

    My excuse is I was in a rush to get outside and get back to painting my house. Barrels o’ fun. You should all come join me tomorrow.

    Like

  47. karl says:

    Let’s set a few more facts in place. I haven’t seen the movie, so I can’t comment on how many deaths it attributes to the (nonexistent) DDT ban. But I have read the press release (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/3-billion-and-counting-opens-in-new-york-at-the-quad-cinema-102170689.html), which begins: “Junk Science + Junk Politics = 3 Billion Dead and Counting”. So somehow a DDT ban has killed 3 billion people? Let’s pretend for a minute that there is a ban on DDT (there isn’t, but for the sake of argument….) And, as I gather from this discussion and the press release, the film obsesses over the EPA’s 1972 ban on non-public health uses of DDT within the US, so let’s assume the “ban” that’s responsible for 3 billion deaths came into effect in that year. So then almost 79 million would have had to die of malaria each year, for each of the 38 years since then. According to WHO, just under 900,000 died of it 2008. In previous years, WHO was saying 1 to 3 million a year, but has since stated that these are likely overestimates. For sure, these are appalling numbers of deaths, but they are no where the numbers claimed by Rutledge.

    In short, the producers of 3 billion and counting don’t know what they’re talking about (or are being intentionally deceitful.) There is no ban on using DDT against malaria and there never was. And even if there was, and even if you blamed it for every single malaria death since it’s enforcement, you’d still have nowhere near the number of deaths as claimed by the press release.

    Alarmism anyone?

    Like

  48. Ed – I think one of my comments was caught in the spam filter.

    Like

  49. Peter says:

    Here’s an account for everyone to read about the Consolidated Hearing on DDT which took place in Washington,D.C. and began August 1971 and ended March 1972. The Hearing Examiner was Edmond M. Sweeney appointed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The entire hearing was transcribed and put into print. The total number of pages printed recording the entire preceding was 9,312. These pages from the Hearing include the testimony of 125 witnesses and 365 exhibits. I think this will give the readers of this discussion some background info whenever the 9,312 pages Dr. Rutledge has is referred to.

    So far Ed has alluded and inferred to me in some of his statements to me that he HAS read these 9,312 pages from this Hearing. I have repeatedly asked him point blank if he has or has not read them. He refuses to answer this question.

    Anyhow below is the link for you all to read about the Consolidated Hearings on DDT which began August 1971 in which Edmond M. Sweeney was the Hearing Examiner.

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/1296271

    This information is stored on:

    * DDT Stands Trial Again
    * Thomas H. Jukes
    * BioScience
    Vol. 22, No. 11 (Nov., 1972), pp. 670-672
    (article consists of 3 pages)
    * Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences
    * Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1296271

    Like

  50. Ed Darrell says:

    IM AFRAID YOU ARE INCORRECT. THE AUDOBON SOCIETY’S CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT IN 1941 SHOW BALD EAGLE POPULATIONS AT 197. IN 1960 THEY WERE AT 891. THE ROBIN COUNT OF 1941 WAS 19,616 AND IN 1960 THEY HAD RISEN TO 928,639. FEEL FREE TO DOUBLE CHECK ME.

    You’re misusing the Audubon Christmas bird count data, which is why I asked you for a specific citation. You’re citing a raw count of how many bird counters saw an eagle or a robin. Those counts rise dramatically as the number of bird counters rise, and as the number of places birds are counted rise. That is not a firm count of how many birds there are.

    That’s also why I noted that your claim that birds rose in number is the opposite of what the Audubon Society found. There is no Audubon bird count, and no ornithologist, who claims that thge number of eagles rose significantly while DDT was being used heavily — especially no increase in the number of reproducing birds.

    So I repeat my request: If you’re claiming that eagles and robins, or any other bird species, rose in numbers while they were under assault from DDT, can you cite any serious research that makes that claim?

    Gordon Edwards is unreliable on this point. He used the raw count numbers from Audubon, too — which is part of the reason he couldn’t get any science journal to publish his claims for DDT. His “science” was not possible to replicate, and his conclusions were the opposite of the conclusions of the actual researchers.

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  51. Ed Darrell says:

    Did you know that there has not been ONE documented death caused by DDT?

    I know that’s inaccurate and misleading hyperbole.

    Several people have died from acute DDT poisoning, or the syndrome that results from it. DDT has become a method of suicide in Asian nations where DDT is still manufactured (see an example here, and a much more scholarly comment on the issue at Bug Girl, here).

    More importantly, there were scattered reports of non-suicide acute poisoning early on, including the sad case of a kid who licked the stuff off of an applicator used by her farmer father. <a href+"If you check the "lethality" listings on DDT, you'll find that there are listings for humans, which can only be established from confirmed fatalities. These cases are complicated by the fact that the solutions into which DDT is suspended (I hesitate to say "dissolved," because I don't think that's accurate) are themselves often toxic. However, deaths due to an ingestion of 30 milliliters of DDT + naphtha or DDT + kerosene suggest DDT poisoning, since that amount of the solvent is generally not fatal, and treatable:

    The earliest symptom of poisoning by DDT is hyperaesthesia of the mouth and lower part of the face. This is followed by paraesthesia of the same area and of the tongue and then by dizziness, an objective disturbance of equilibrium, paraesthesia and tremor of the extremities, confusion, malaise, headache, fatigue, and delayed vomiting (probably centrally mediated). Convulsions only occur in severe poisoning. It is not clear whether cardiac arrhythmia might be a possible cause of death in acute poisoning. In most instances of fatalities following ingestion of DDT solutions, the signs and symptoms were predominantly or exclusively those of poisoning by the solvent vehicle.

    DDT is not acutely toxic to very large animals, generally. (The EPA hearings including testimony on acute deaths of cattle attributed to DDT — bet Taylor doesn’t mention that stuff in his film, nor anywhere else.) But it is false to say it has not killed anyone. That level of disregard for the truth, claiming DDT as “safe” and having ‘never killed anyone,’ permeates and saturates all of the literature and arguments from people who try to mislead us into thinking DDT is harmless and wonderful, and a panacea against malaria, in part of their (perhaps unwitting) campaign to impugn science and scientists, and to delay work to decrease malaria.

    DDT is not the answer to malaria, and never was.

    Like

  52. Ed Darrell says:

    James Hanley is right — raw sitings increased. Mr. Hanley’s other concerns are carried out by Audubon’s own qualifications at charts made at the site:

    The graph below was generated using the number of birds reported per party hour; a measure of the amount of time spent searching for birds or the amount of effort expended. This is one way to standardize Christmas Bird Count data over time. Some years, there may have been a lot of people counting birds, while other years there may have been fewer participants in the field. As CBC participation fluctuates (and as the number of CBC Count Circles increases), raw count numbers may also fluctuate (more counters can often lead to more birds reported). The graph below is one way of correcting for the differences in effort over time. Other types of statistical corrections for differences in effort also exist, and you may download these data for your own use.

    The claim was that the number of eagles had increased during the time DDT was used most heavily. I don’t see evidence of that (the heaviest use of DDT was in 1959-1960). More importantly, Audubon professionals and other ornithologists who analyze the bird count numbers all agreed during that time that eagles were in decline as a species, as those scientists and professionals noted in dozens of articles published in Audubon and other science journals, including especially the ornithological and bird-watching journals. This is exactly the opposite of the claim that ‘Audubon magazine reported an increase in eagle populations’ made by Gordon Edwards after he stopped doing science, repeated by the political radical group surrounding Lyndon Larouche, and apparently engraved in stone at the aptly-named website, Junk Science (which promulgates nothing but junk science, so far as I have found).

    Did the Audubon Society say their birdcounts showed increasing eagles? No.

    And if you contest that claim, please cite the article to the publication and at least the month and year, so we can confirm your proof that I am in error.

    I have searched every Audubon bird count from 1941 to 1972, and every issue of Audubon magazine in those years. I have not found any article hailing an increase in eagle numbers, but there are dozens lamenting the decline of eagles, including especially America’s national bird, the bald eagle.

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  53. Ed Darrell says:

    Kathy said of Rutledge Taylor’s film and the documentation of his hyperbolic and hysterical claims:

    NONE of them are documents submitted by manufacturers of DDT.

    Then we must assume that Ruckelshaus knew exactly what he was doing, since he had the benefit of the testimony of 32 different DDT manufacturers. Ruckelshaus’s decision was based on ALL the data, as the federal courts determined, and not on a weirdly biased and strangely skewed sample.

    However, I wonder: Does the film cite any of these spokesmen for the chemical and tobacco industries?: Richard Tren, Roger Bate, Steven Milloy, Elizabeth Whelan, Donald North, the Competitive Enterprise Institute — or any of these radically bizarre political activists: Lyndon LaRouche and his publications, including those authored by Gordon Edwards.

    If those sources are quoted, and not identified as cranks with an axe to grind, the unfairness of the film is firmly established.

    I doubt any of those sources spoke with Taylor “under oath.” If it was under oath as you claim, what was the purpose of that — what was the official proceeding that would have required such an oath?

    Like

  54. karl says:

    @Rutlegde apologist et al.

    That DDT bioaccumulates and harms certain birds is well established science. Sure, Milloy, Edwards, and their ilk can point to a studies that don’t find this. But these are mostly old studies and…[drum role, please]…DDT doesn’t affect all birds equally. Maybe DDT doesn’t harm chicken reproduction, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t harm raptor reproduction. Also, many early studies (and I suspect these are the ones cited in the film) were testing the wrong hypothesis. Initially they thought DDT might be directly fetotoxic, so they injected eggs with it, but found the chicks were most normally. Then they observed that the real issue was eggshell thinning–not direct toxicity to unhatched chicks, so scientists fed DDT to adult birds and measured shell thickness. And they often found that shell thickness was unaffected. Starting to look like DDT is off the, right? Not so fast: It turns out that, at least for some species, exposure to DDT in ovo (i.e. before hatching) doesn’t kill the bird or noticeably harm it, except that later as an adult that bird’s egg glands are messed up, and it lays thin eggs. (Reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17022422) This is an effect you can observe in nature, but you’d miss in the lab unless you did a multigenerational study in an appropriate, something they weren’t doing initial.

    The point is, you can’t just look at a few archaic studies and pretend to know what’s going on. You need to look at everything, the whole picture. Milloy and Edwards basically engaged in some severe cherry in their JPANDS paper, and Dr. Taylor and others have continued this tradition.

    If you ignore all the studies that show smoking causes cancer, you can write a great, well referenced review article that concludes smoking doesn’t cause cancer. But your review would be wrong. This was what Taylor, Milloy, Edwards, Dreissen, Bate, etc have done with DDT.

    More later… gotta run now….

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  55. kathy says:

    Hey Everyone.. I found this on http://www.hidingthetruth.com in an article titled: “How the DDT ban is killing millions”. Thought you would be interested .. I am.

    Ruckleshaus’ decision, amazingly, disregarded the science of his own EPA hearings. After seven months and 9,000 pages of testimony, Hearing Examiner, Edmund Sweeney, concluded that, based on scientific evidence, DDT should not be banned. He told Ruckleshaus and the committee, “DDT is not carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic to man [and] these uses of DDT do not have a deleterious effect on fish, birds, wildlife, or estuarine organisms.” So much for science and reason.

    The “popular book” that set off the storm against DDT and began the politically-driven environmentalist movement was Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962. The “Villain and Victim” politics of pity and fear from leftwing scociocrats was underway, wending its way to the present day, carrying more and more radical social agendas as their power grows.

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  56. Ed Darrell says:

    I’ve got meetings all day, and limited time. Answers ad seriatim.

    Can you give us a list of these studies? Allegations in the film run 180 degrees from all research done through 2009. Which studies do you refer to?

    YES, THE REPEATED BITMAN’S STUDY, FITZU AND DAVIS(THEY SAID THAT DDT FED RATS DEVELOPED CANCER, BUT FAILED TO MENTION THAT THE DDT MICE DEVELOPED 26% LESS CANCER THAN CONTROL MICE), EDWARD LAW STUDY(EFFECTS OF DDT ON TUMORS), WHELAN HAYES, JOURNAL OF AMERICAN MEDICINE, 1956 SHOWING THE RESULTS OF REPEATED ORAL DDT IN A DIET, EDWARD LAWS STUDY ON THE MONROSE DDT FACTORY WORKERS, BUREAU OF COMMERICAL FISHERIES PESTICIDE FIELD STATION IN GULF BREEZE FLORIDA(1969) THAT SHOWED THE STABILITY/PERSISTANCE OF PESTICIDES IN SEA WATER(SHOWING DDT DEGRADES FASTER THN DIELDRIEN AND PARATHION)—I’M NOT SAYING ALL OF THESE ARE PEER REVIEWED, BUT I BELIEVE SO—THESE ARE JUST WHAT I CAN THINK OF OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD—I ALSO, AM BUSY TODAY. THESE ARE ENOUGH FOR YOU FOR NOW.

    I was hoping for actual references. It’s easy to say “Bitman’s study,” but Joel Bitman was a chemist with a long and storied career — which Bitman study? The series of studies to which you may be referring including Bitman’s ground-breaking study in Nature that showed Japanese quail, a non-predator species that would get DDT almost solely from eating residues left on seeds in the field in the wild, got thinning eggshells when they were exposed to DDT levels normal in fields. This pushed the damage frontier well past predator birds and worm-eaters like robins (who died from acute DDT poisoning with no chance to get thinning eggshells), to birds who were thought to be out of the danger zone completely.

    Criticism of the studies by DDT manufacturers pushed Bitman to do further studies, including one in which the quail were fed calcium supplements. Those studies demonstrated that if the quail got more calcium, the eggshell thinning could be counteracted. Critics, your colleagues in disinformation, say this shows the first studies were flawed. No one has ever suggested how to get calcium supplements to all exposed birds — and remember, these birds would have been the least-DDT-exposed. Eggshell thinning was unstoppable among predators at the top trophic levels, like brown pelicans, peregrine falcons, osprey and eagles.

    Bitman’s work also demonstrated that DDT acts as a female hormone, estrogen, in mammals (Joel Bitman, Helene C. Cecil, Susan J. Harris, Vernon J. Feil, J. Agric. Food Chem., 1978, 26 (1), pp 149–151 (DOI: 10.1021/jf60215a002, Publication Date: January 1978). He found that DDT acts as an endocrine disruptor, a further health problem unknown when Rachel Carson wrote her book, and one which plagues the entire world today (rockfish in the Potomac and Susquehanna Rivers, for example, are prevented from breeding because the males have egg-producing ovaries and shrunken, inactive male sex organs; these same effects have been observed in humans and all other vertebrates tested, from similar compounds).

    This under-citing of published work, making it difficult or impossible to check the publications, is the mark of crank science and quack physicians. When we find the studies we discover they don’t say what the pro-poison forces claim. In this case, we are not even sure which Bitman paper is referred to, the one that demonstrates DDT causes eggshell thinning in seed-eating birds, or the one that suggests we could cure the harm with a pill each day to millions of birds worldwide.

    Experts in pesticides agreed with Bitman’s own views, and work, that show grave concern for the use of DDT at all — you, and I assume Dr. Taylor, fail to mention what Bitman himself said.

    There are serious problems with several of these studies referring to cancer, not least that the latency periods for cancers generally run 25 to 50 years, so, consequently, none of these studies looked at the cohorts at the times cancer would be expected to manifest.

    But the chief problem is this: You claimed the studies show that DDT is harmless. They don’t show that DDT is not a deadly poison at all. They merely tend to indicate that DDT is NOT a powerful carcinogen.

    This is a red herring argument on your part. DDT was not banned because it is carcinogenic. It was banned because it kills ecosystems as a deadly, long-lived poison.

    None of these papers even attempts to rebut that fact.

    DDT doesn’t cause the common cold, nor HIV, either — but noting what it does not cause does not negate, nor even question, the harms it does cause.

    As to cancers, DDT is listed as a “potential human carcinogen” by every cancer-fighting agency on Earth (I’ll trust the American Cancer Society to get it right, and shame on Taylor for calling ACS “liars,” even if implicitly).

    Recent studies confirm a link from DDT to breast cancer in women (an area of great controversy since the carcinogenicity appears weak). Worse, studies show a strong trend to cancers in the children of women exposed to DDT — no studies prior to 2000 even thought to look at such a link, though we’ve known about the “generation-skipping” effects of such chemicals since the studies on diethylstilbesterol (DES), used in the 1950s to combat morning sickness in pregnant women.

    But overall, you cite studies you have not read, claiming they say things they may or may not say (you aren’t specific in which studies you cite), and nothing there contradicts the summaries of these studies done by the professionals whose job it is to determine which of those studies should be more weighty in considering how to deal with the chemical when humans may be exposed to it — here are the health effects as noted by the Agency for Toxic Substances Review and Disease Registry:

    1.5 How can DDT, DDE, and DDD affect my health?

    Eating food with large amounts (grams) of DDT over a short time would most likely affect the nervous system. People who swallowed large amounts of DDT became excitable and had tremors and seizures. They also experienced sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. These effects on the nervous system went away once exposure stopped. The same type of effects would be expected by breathing DDT particles in the air or by contact of the skin with high amounts of DDT. Tests in laboratory animals confirm the effect of DDT on the nervous system.

    No effects have been reported in adults given small daily doses of DDT by capsule for 18 months (up to 35 milligrams [mg] every day). People exposed for a long time to small amounts of DDT (less than 20 mg per day), such as people who worked in factories where DDT was made, had some minor changes in the levels of liver enzymes in the blood. A study in humans showed that increasing concentrations of p,p’-DDE in human breast milk were associated with reductions in the duration of lactation. An additional study in humans found that as the DDE levels in the blood of pregnant women increased, the chances of having a pre-term baby also increased. It should be mentioned, however, that the levels of DDE in the blood at which this was noticed were higher than those currently found in women from the general population in the United States, but not higher than those that may be found in women in countries where DDT is still being used.

    To protect the public from the harmful effects of toxic chemicals and to find ways to treat people who have been harmed, scientists use many tests.

    One way to see if a chemical will hurt people is to learn how the chemical is absorbed, used, and released by the body; for some chemicals, animal testing may be necessary. Animal testing may also be used to identify health effects such as cancer or birth defects. Without laboratory animals, scientists would lose a basic method to get information needed to make wise decisions to protect public health. Scientists have the responsibility to treat research animals with care and compassion. Laws today protect the welfare of research animals, and scientists must comply with strict animal care guidelines.

    Animal studies show that long-term exposure to moderate amounts of DDT (20-50 mg per kilogram [kg] of body weight every day) may affect the liver. Tests in animals also suggest that short-term exposure to DDT and metabolites in food may have a harmful effect on reproduction. In addition, we know that some breakdown products of DDT can cause harmful effects on the adrenal gland. This gland is situated near the kidney and produces hormones (substances produced by organs and released to the bloodstream to regulate the function of other organs).

    Studies in animals have shown that oral exposure to DDT can cause liver cancer. Studies of DDT-exposed workers did not show increases in deaths or cancers. Based on all of the evidence available, the Department of Health and Human Services has determined that DDT is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. Similarly, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that DDT is possibly carcinogenic to humans. EPA has determined that DDT, DDE, and DDD are probable human carcinogens. See Chapter 3 for more information on the health effects associated with exposure to DDT, DDE, and DDD.

    That is the scientific consensus on DDT. Do you or Dr. Taylor have research to rebut or refute that summary? Bring it forward, then. But don’t claim, counter to the facts, that these studies from decades ago that you mention but don’t cite, have any findings to alter the judgment of the ATSDR, unless you’ve got the study.

    As I understand it, Dr. Taylor is trying to break into filmmaking, not toxic substances research. His film may be a first step to further filmmaking, but it’s not research, and it damages the fight against malaria.

    Gotta run.

    Like

  57. Ed Darrell says:

    ED–AGAIN, I WILL ANSWER YOU IN ALL CAPS. I DONT THINK THIS WAS TO ME, BUT WILL ANSWER IT ANYWAY. SO MY ANSWERS ARE IN ALL CAPS, AND YOURS ARE REGULAR TEXT..

    One may always set things off with a little HTML, as I have above. At the bottom of the reply box you should get hints.

    Indent an entire section by inserting the “less than” sign, (which I can’t post here because the program thinks it’s a command and hides it), followed by “blockquote” followed by the “greater than” sign. Close that command by inserting a /blockquote command at the end, again between the symbols “less than” and “greater than” at the end of the section you want to set aside.

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  58. James Hanley says:

    Addendum: I downloaded the entire Audubon series for Bald Eagles and did a simple line graph in Excel for total Bald Eagle count by year, then added a trendline with a moving 5 year average. There’s a distinct upturn in the rate of increase in the mid to late ’70s. People focusing solely on the years 1941-1960 are going to miss that important development.

    With most U.S. use stopping in the early ’70s, that’s pretty much where you would expect to see such an increase if DDT had a negative effect.

    Like

  59. James Hanley says:

    You know, you can go to Audubon’s webpage and look up historical bird counts by species. http://audubon2.org/cbchist/table.html. The data’s a little fuzzy, since the number of counters increased over the year (if a species’ stock remains constant, more counters should equal more sitings).

    Their data shows the count of bald eagles at 111 in the 1940-41 count, and 620 in the 1960-61 count. (I selected Bald Eagle as the species, and United States as the country.) But of course there were more counters–more people looking–so it’s hard to say what that data means.

    Perhaps the best measure in their data is the “Number/Party Hr.” I assume–although Audubon does not make it clear–that means the number of Bald Eagles sited per hour of observation by parties of observers. That increases from 0.0124 to .04. But I’m not sure exactly how to evaluate that, either, as a larger party ought to spot more birds, because they have more eyes. I don’t know if the increase in number of people participating in the count resulted in just more groups looking, or also larger groups looking.

    But so far as the raw number of bald eagles reported goes, the number seems to have increased. I hesitate to report that because I know scientifically illiterate folks here will see that single item of data as dispositive proof both that bald eagles increased during that time and that DDT is harmless. But others’ scientific illiteracy is not justification for not reporting the data, and people with some training in research methodology will know that neither conclusion can be made with any certainty and that the complete story is obscured by changing methodology and clear variation in human effort. For example, the number reported in the 49th annual count is 393, in the 50th annual count it’s 1649 (!) and in the 51st count it falls back down to 432. Clearly there are some data collection issues that any honest person must take into account.

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  60. kathy says:

    In response to James:
    NONE of them are documents submitted by manufacturers of DDT. My friend worked on this documentary is how I know. The testimony, under oath, was by Luminaries world wide, doctors, scientists, Nobel prize winners, the U.S. Surgeon General, over ONE HUNDRED in all, and the evidence was just overwhelming!!!!! Not only was this the LAST hearing mere MONTHS before DDT was banned, but Dr. R. Taylor cut the bands on the evidence as it had NEVER been opened and was BURIED in the national archives. Only a “tip” by someone gave him the location and the MOTHER LODE
    of evidence. This evidence is just too overwhelming to question. All this was as implausible to me as it is to you. My friend had SEEN this evidence and it is overwhelmingly
    in favor of DDT and these were SERIOUS, respected docs and scientists, world renown with no “axe to grind”. Did you know that there has not been ONE documented death caused by DDT? Did you know that the “substitutes” not “alternatives” because an alternative is supposed to be “equal” to that it is replacing–have ALL caused DOCUMENTED DEATHS? You need to educate yourself as to the truth———-when you take “authority to be the truth” rather than “truth to
    be the authority” you get in trouble. I know. Been there, done that. THAT is why I went to see the film.

    Like

  61. Teri says:

    ED–AGAIN, I WILL ANSWER YOU IN ALL CAPS. I DONT THINK THIS WAS TO ME, BUT WILL ANSWER IT ANYWAY. SO MY ANSWERS ARE IN ALL CAPS, AND YOURS ARE REGULAR TEXT..

    And I’m just an every day high school history teacher who has read the books

    ED, DON’T BE SO MODEST. YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF ALL OF YOUR CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS—PARTICULARLY YOUR CAREER AS AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYER. PLEASE DON’T LEAVE THAT OUT. I KNOW YOU DONT WANT TO BE ACCUSED OF JUST TELLING HALF THE TRUTH, AND LEAVING OUT THIS FINE ACCOMPLISHMENT IS HALF TRUTH.

    Taylor claims don’t exist, has read the studies Taylor claims don’t exist,

    WHICH BOOKS HAS HE SAID DO NOT EXIST? PLEASE LIST THEM. WHICH STUDIES HAS DR. RUTLEDGE CLAIMED DO NOT EXIST? LIST THOSE AS WELL.

    and has read the materials Taylor cites, and have found that Taylor either misread them, or is lying about them.

    WHAT MATERIALS ARE YOU REFERRING TO? DON’T JUST THROW GENERALIZATIONS OUT THERE. KEEP IN MIND, DEAR READER, THAT ED SAID THAT HE HAS NOT SEEN THE FILM, AND SO I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW SPECIFICS THAT YOU ARE SPEAKING OF. OR ARE THESE ASSUMPTIONS?

    You could check, too, if you wished. You won’t check — you know I’m right, and you don’t want to know the truth.

    I WILL GLADLY CHECK, IF AGAIN, YOU WILL MENTION WHICH BOOKS, ARTICLES, AND SO FORTH DR. RUTLEDGE HAS SAID DO NOT EXIST OR HE HAS “MISREAD”. PUT IT ON THE TABLE.

    If I can do it, anyone can do it. Taylor’s failure to do that is a gross lapse of ethics on his part, both as a licensed physician, and as a film maker (I won’t give him the title “journalist,” because he doesn’t deserve it.)

    TO DO WHAT? AGAIN, PLEASE STATE WHAT BOOKS AND STUDIES HE IS DENYING—BEFORE WE LEAP TO ACCUSING SOMEONE OF A “GROSS LAPSE OF ETHICS”….ARE YOU GUILTY OF THAT ED? DENYING SOME STUDIES AND BOOKS WITHOUT THOROUGHLY LOOKING INTO THEM? AS A LAWYER WOULD SAY, “DON’T ANSWER THAT”.

    The premises of the film, according to the press material, is contrary to science, contrary to history, and contrary to law. Were he a high school debater, I’d send him back to the library so he’d stop losing rounds.

    “ACCORDING TO PRESS MATERIAL”…..NOW ED, IF ANY OF US THAT ARE “TEAM DDT” BASED SOMETHING ON PRESS MATERIAL IM AFRAID YOU WOULD SUBJECT US TO A 4 PARAGRAPH SNOOZE FEST OF OUR IDIOCY. HAVE YOU SEEN THE FILM? NO. SO YOU ARE BASING THESE CLAIMS ON “PRESS MATERIAL”…HMMMMM

    There is no such document. No document of any length shows DDT to be anything other than the deadly poison it is. If Taylor claims there is, he’s fibbing. Were there such a document, the National Archives is not the place to find it — science journals are the places.

    AGAIN, YOU ARE MISREADING. TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND READ EXACTLY WHAT IS WRITTEN. NOBODY SAID THERE WAS A 9,000 PAGE STUDY. WE ARE INDEED REFERING TO THE HEARING RECORDS, AND IT IS, SORRY TO INFORM YOU, KEPT AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES. IT IS FULL OF TESTIMONY FROM SCIENTISTS, EXPERT WITNESSES, DOCTORS, ETC ETC.

    So, what was the document he actually retrieved? Is he lying about that, too?

    SEE ABOVE.

    If it’s 9,000 pages, give or take a few, he’s probably talking about the hearing transcript in the administrative law hearing at EPA on the labeling of DDT. Those hearings clearly showed that DDT is a danger (and the hearing judge, Edmund Sweeney, said as much in his decision).

    NO, EDMUND SWEENEY RULED THAT IT SHOULD NOT BE BANNED. SURPRISE! IT DID NOT SHOW THAT DDT WAS CLEARLY A DANGER. WERE YOU THERE? HAVE YOU READ IT? THEN YOU HAVE AS MUCH AUTHORITY TO COMMENT ON IT AS RUCKLESHAUS. NONE.

    There is a long-standing hoax run by a chemical industry sock puppet-cum-lobbyist named Steven Milloy, which has been lying about that hearing record for years. Jim Easter at Some Are Boojums tracked down the decision in the EPA’s library.

    BUT THE LINK YOU POSTED ABOVE CLEARLY SHOWS THAT SWEENEY FELT THAT THE BENEFITS OF DDT OUTWEIGHED ANY NEGATIVE EFFECTS, AND THAT IT WAS NOT A CARCINOGENIC HARM TO MAN. THAT’S NOT A LIE. IT’S CLEARLY WRITTEN THERE. AND ISNT THAT THE POINT? THAT THE BENEFITS OF DDT FAR OUTWEIGH ANY(AND OFTEN OVER EXXAGERATED RISKS)?

    How could the 9,000 pages be kept secret? There were more than 30 different DDT manufacturers involved in the hearing on the pro-DDT side — they would have had all transcripts, and the final transcript. Much of the material was published studies, which were publicly available then, and have remained available since then in dozens, if not hundreds, of scientific journals.

    AGAIN…WHAT IS YOUR POINT? YES, THERE WERE LOTS OF TESTIMONY…AND IN THE END THE EPA OVERSIGHT COMMITEE RULED THAT IT SHOULD NOT BE BANNED. IF THIS DOCUMENT IS SO READILY AVAILABLE, THEN WHO HAS SOME OF IT? WHERE ARE THE LINKS TO IT? YOU REALLY THINK EVERYONE IN THAT TRIAL HAS ALL 9, 312 PAGES OF IT? WHY ARENT SECTIONS OF IT POSTED ON THE EPA SITE?

    No, we can’t say that, at least not honestly. DDT manufacturers were plaintiffs or defendants in three of the four court hearings.

    You appear fuzzy on what the law requires. Under U.S. law, no regulatory agency may make a regulatory decision without a huge mountain of evidence backing the action the agency proposes. In both of the pre-EPA hearing trials, and in the appeal by the DDT manufacturers from the EPA ruling, DDT manufacturers were fully represented, DDT manufacturers presented a fully line-up of witnesses and evidence. DDT manufacturers’ lawyers got to cross-examine the scientists and others from the other side.

    No, in America, no honest person would claim that the courts did not have the full story.

    AGAIN, NOT SURE WHERE ALL OF THIS COMES FROM, AS YOUR DESCRIPTION OF WHAT THE LAW REQUIRES IS A SORT OF UTOPIA. IF ONLY!! I DONT THINK ANYONE THAT HAS BEEN PAYING ATTENTION TO WHAT GOES ON IN THIS COUNTRY REALLY THINKS THAT REGULATORY AGENCIES DONT MAKE DECISIONS WITHOUT A MOUNTAIN OF EVIDENCE.

    You really don’t have a clue how the courts or regulatory agencies work, I assume. Because if you do, that’s one of the biggest whopping lies told in a long while. I assume you make such a statement out of profound ignorance and uncured naivete.

    SO DRAMATIC. SO EMOTIONAL. GOES RIGHT ALONG WITH YOUR SCIENTIFIC REASONING. MUST WE RESORT TO NAME CALLING WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH? I CANT SEEM TO FIND YOUR POINT IN THIS MOUNTAIN OF VERBAGE….BUT I THINK YOU ARE IMPLYING THAT THERE IS NO WAY RUCKLESHAUS WOULD MAKE A DECISCION WITHOUT READING THE RECORDS? WELL ONE WOULD HOPE, BUT ACCORDING TO 07/23/1972 ARTICLE IN THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, MR. RUCKLESHAUS’ ASSISTANT, MARHALL MILLER WAS ASKED IF RUCKLESHAUS READ THE HEARING TRIAL, TO WHICH HE ANSWERED, “NO HE DIDN’T. HE WOULD HAVE SUNK OUT OF SIGHT!” YOU’VE ALREADY STATED IN ANOTHER BLOG POST THAT YOU KNOW HE WAS NOT AT THE HEARINGS.

    So you’re gullible on much of science.

    Yes, I’ve heard of the stolen e-mails. Five different official proceedings have now determined that they revealed no problems with the science that shows global warming, or with the scientists who performed the studies.

    So, you’re saying Taylor’s movie is as much a hoax as the claims against global warming are?

    LETS STAY ON THE POINT ED. WE ARE DISCUSSING DDT. WE CAN ALL COME BACK AND DEBATE GLOBAL WARMING LATER.

    Like

  62. Peter says:

    Ed, I notice you are very selective in the questions you answer. I’m going to repost this question I asked you last week in the blog “Death by 1000 papercuts” which you never answered. The repost is as follows.

    Peter on September 30, 2010 at 17:24

    Ed, there’s several questions I’d like to ask in reference to several statements you made. You said for me to ” Read Sweeney’s hearing record — all 9,000+ pages, and the decision — and you’ll see key difference in what was proposed and claimed at this blog, and what Sweeney’s talking about.” What you infer Ed is that you have read the 9,000+ pages of Sweeney’s hearing record. My question is: Have you read the entire 9,000+ pages of the hearing on DDT which begun on August 17, 1971 in which Edmond M. Sweeney was the Hearing Examiner. Yes or no ?

    My next question which is more of a request is for you to prove that DDT causes cancer in humans. And finally I would like to ask you to prove that DDT destroys ecosystems.

    Like

  63. Ed Darrell says:

    Getgoin, if someone writing in JPANDS properly cites a serious science article, and if the science can be independently verified, I’d trust it.

    But JPANDs itself is not trustworthy.

    See here for example:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/03/journal_of_american_physicians.php

    Like

  64. Teri says:

    ED I HAVE ANSWERED YOUR QUESTIONS IN ALL CAPS WITHIN YOUR TEXT BELOW. NOT SHOUTING AT YOU…JUST THINK THIS WILL BE SIMPLER TO VIEW THIS WAY. SO FOR THE REST OF THE CROWD…

    Been busy with other stuff, but wanted to jump in.

    Teri said:

    Now, IF you had seen the film, you would know that this is simply a compilation of peer reviewed studies . . .

    Can you give us a list of these studies? Allegations in the film run 180 degrees from all research done through 2009. Which studies do you refer to?

    YES, THE REPEATED BITMAN’S STUDY, FITZU AND DAVIS(THEY SAID THAT DDT FED RATS DEVELOPED CANCER, BUT FAILED TO MENTION THAT THE DDT MICE DEVELOPED 26% LESS CANCER THAN CONTROL MICE), EDWARD LAW STUDY(EFFECTS OF DDT ON TUMORS), WHELAN HAYES, JOURNAL OF AMERICAN MEDICINE, 1956 SHOWING THE RESULTS OF REPEATED ORAL DDT IN A DIET, EDWARD LAWS STUDY ON THE MONROSE DDT FACTORY WORKERS, BUREAU OF COMMERICAL FISHERIES PESTICIDE FIELD STATION IN GULF BREEZE FLORIDA(1969) THAT SHOWED THE STABILITY/PERSISTANCE OF PESTICIDES IN SEA WATER(SHOWING DDT DEGRADES FASTER THN DIELDRIEN AND PARATHION)—I’M NOT SAYING ALL OF THESE ARE PEER REVIEWED, BUT I BELIEVE SO—THESE ARE JUST WHAT I CAN THINK OF OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD—I ALSO, AM BUSY TODAY. THESE ARE ENOUGH FOR YOU FOR NOW.

    . . . testimonies of scientific experts . . .

    But not malaria experts, nor legal experts. You’ve already said you don’t have interviews from Ruckelshaus — and we can understand why he wouldn’t want to talk to someone with such a bias against history and the facts — but did anyone interview Socrates Litsios? Any interviews with veterans of Fred Soper’s operations at WHO? Any interviews with any bird experts on DDT?

    YES MALARIA EXPERTS. WE INTERVIEWED NICK NUTTAL OF THE UN’S ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM, DESMOND CHAVEZ, GLOBAL DIRECTOR OF THE MALARIA PROGRAM WITH PSI, TIM FREEMAN WITH UNICEF MALARIA CONTROL, CHRIS BAUGH, AN ENTOMOLOGIST WITH WHO(THAT KILLS TWO BIRDS–MIND THE PUN–WITH ONE STONE) AND MANY OTHERS–THESE ARE JUST ONES I CAN THINK OF OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD. AS FAR AS “LEGAL” CAN YOU CLARIFY THAT? NOT TO SURE WHAT LAWYERS HAVE TO DO WITH SCIENCE….BUT IF YOU WILL CLARIFY, I WILL ANSWER

    Why not?

    SEE ABOVE

    . . . bird counts from the time of DDT use and before and after

    Generally the most authoritative bird counts would be Audubon’s annual bird counts — so it’s obvious you didn’t use Audubon’s authoritative bird counts. Audubon found decreasing numbers of eagles, no “teen-age” eagles, and ultimately no young ones during the reign of DDT. Why should we give credence to a second-rate bird count? Whose bird count was used, and what was the methodology?

    IM AFRAID YOU ARE INCORRECT. THE AUDOBON SOCIETY’S CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT IN 1941 SHOW BALD EAGLE POPULATIONS AT 197. IN 1960 THEY WERE AT 891. THE ROBIN COUNT OF 1941 WAS 19,616 AND IN 1960 THEY HAD RISEN TO 928,639. FEEL FREE TO DOUBLE CHECK ME.

    . . . interviews with government officials . . .

    But no one from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? No one from EPA? No one from USDA? Why so selective?

    THEY REFUSED INTERVIEWS, AND IT IS WELL DOCUMENTED. WE WANTED THEM TO IN THE FILM, BUT THEY WOULD NOT. SAVE THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE, IN WHICH CASE MICHAEL BEAN WAS WILLING TO SPEAK WITH US.

    . . . not to mention the 9,000 page Hearing Trial, which up to this point, has not been exposed.

    Who told you that hadn’t been “exposed?” Did your researchers find the stories about it in the newspapers, and the court hearings?

    DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN BY THIS.

    Who said these well-known hearings were not known? Did anybody bother to fact check that claim?

    WELL, ALL I KNOW IS THAT DR. RUTLEDGE CUT THE ORIGINAL STRING BINDINGS OFF OF THE RECORDS. THEY HAD NOT BEEN OPENED, SAVE MAYBE 6-12 OF THE 81 VOLUMES…. SINCE THEY STILL HAD ALL THE BINDINGS ON THEM DOUBTFUL THEY HAD BEEN READ SINCE THEN. . CAN YOU SHOW ME ANY TESTIMONY FROM THAT TRIAL? I MEAN, HAVE YOU SEEN ANY OF THIS FLOATING AROUND? IF SO, PLEASE DIRECT ME TO IT.

    Like

  65. Ed Darrell says:

    I am just an every day person, who found out about this on his web site and went to see the film. Actually…to argue with him!

    And I’m just an every day high school history teacher who has read the books Taylor claims don’t exist, has read the studies Taylor claims don’t exist, and has read the materials Taylor cites, and have found that Taylor either misread them, or is lying about them.

    You could check, too, if you wished. You won’t check — you know I’m right, and you don’t want to know the truth.

    If I can do it, anyone can do it. Taylor’s failure to do that is a gross lapse of ethics on his part, both as a licensed physician, and as a film maker (I won’t give him the title “journalist,” because he doesn’t deserve it.)

    The premises of the film, according to the press material, is contrary to science, contrary to history, and contrary to law. Were he a high school debater, I’d send him back to the library so he’d stop losing rounds.

    LOL In the film he shows going to the National Archives and retrieving the over 9,000 pages of documents that show DDT to be SAFE!

    There is no such document. No document of any length shows DDT to be anything other than the deadly poison it is. If Taylor claims there is, he’s fibbing. Were there such a document, the National Archives is not the place to find it — science journals are the places.

    So, what was the document he actually retrieved? Is he lying about that, too?

    If it’s 9,000 pages, give or take a few, he’s probably talking about the hearing transcript in the administrative law hearing at EPA on the labeling of DDT. Those hearings clearly showed that DDT is a danger (and the hearing judge, Edmund Sweeney, said as much in his decision).

    This was IGNORED Ed. And, it appears that Dr. Rutledge was the FIRST to even bother checking these documents.

    There is a long-standing hoax run by a chemical industry sock puppet-cum-lobbyist named Steven Milloy, which has been lying about that hearing record for years. Jim Easter at Some Are Boojums tracked down the decision in the EPA’s library.

    How could the 9,000 pages be kept secret? There were more than 30 different DDT manufacturers involved in the hearing on the pro-DDT side — they would have had all transcripts, and the final transcript. Much of the material was published studies, which were publicly available then, and have remained available since then in dozens, if not hundreds, of scientific journals.

    I think that claim doesn’t smell right.

    So, what was given to the courts..could we say…was not all the facts .. or dare I say…junk science or tainted info?

    No, we can’t say that, at least not honestly. DDT manufacturers were plaintiffs or defendants in three of the four court hearings.

    You appear fuzzy on what the law requires. Under U.S. law, no regulatory agency may make a regulatory decision without a huge mountain of evidence backing the action the agency proposes. In both of the pre-EPA hearing trials, and in the appeal by the DDT manufacturers from the EPA ruling, DDT manufacturers were fully represented, DDT manufacturers presented a fully line-up of witnesses and evidence. DDT manufacturers’ lawyers got to cross-examine the scientists and others from the other side.

    No, in America, no honest person would claim that the courts did not have the full story.

    Hmmm..probably wasn’t the first or last time this could/would happen!

    You really don’t have a clue how the courts or regulatory agencies work, I assume. Because if you do, that’s one of the biggest whopping lies told in a long while. I assume you make such a statement out of profound ignorance and uncured naivete.

    Have you heard of the leaked documents on our world wide sham around global warming? So, yes, it is possible that things are not what they appear to be!!

    So you’re gullible on much of science.

    Yes, I’ve heard of the stolen e-mails. Five different official proceedings have now determined that they revealed no problems with the science that shows global warming, or with the scientists who performed the studies.

    So, you’re saying Taylor’s movie is as much a hoax as the claims against global warming are?

    Like

  66. Ed Darrell says:

    On bird counts. The Audubon Society annual Christmas bird counts recorded that bald eagle populations rose from 197 in 1941 to 891 in 1960 – When DDT use in America was at its historic high.

    That’s quite contrary to what the Audubon Society scientists said they found, in their summaries of the bird counts published in Audubon magazine, and in all the ornithological journals. Do you have a source for that claim?

    There may have been more ticks of counts, since the number of people counting rose dramatically. But that does not equal a greater number of birds, and neither the Audubon Society nor any other scientist published any claims of increasing numbers of eagles in reproductive form from 1941 through about 1965.

    Critically, beginning in the late 1940s, the numbers of immature eagles plunged. Those would be the eagles who had just hatched, through those about three years old. It appeared to many observers that the eagles hatched in the early 1940s may have increased slightly, but none of them could reproduce, so overall numbers kept dropping as older ones died off and there were no new babies.

    Who has a contrary study? Please cite the Audubon count you claim — is it from Audubon?

    Like

  67. Ed Darrell says:

    I found Dr. Rutledge’s documentary, 3 BILLION AND COUNTING, which I saw in New York, and website very helpful and eye-opening.

    You should read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. And follow the footnotes.

    You should read Linda Lear’s biography of Carson, Witness for Nature.

    There is a great, well-researched book on malaria out just this year, by Sonia Shah: Fever: How Malaria has ruled mankind for 500,000 years. (Read a review of the book by NPR, here.) You may get a flavor for her views with this article she wrote for Yale’s 360.

    You should read Socrates Litsios’s The Tomorrow of Malaria. You should read Malcolm Gladwell’s profile of super-malaria-fighter Fred Soper in The New Yorker.

    You’re new to the issue of malaria fighting, right?

    Read those, and you may begin to understand why Taylor’s claims sound so contrary to the facts.

    Like

  68. BirdWatcher says:

    Ed – you mention the following:
    “Generally the most authoritative bird counts would be Audubon’s annual bird counts — so it’s obvious you didn’t use Audubon’s authoritative bird counts. Audubon found decreasing numbers of eagles, no “teen-age” eagles, and ultimately no young ones during the reign of DDT. Why should we give credence to a second-rate bird count? Whose bird count was used, and what was the methodology?”

    On bird counts. The Audubon Society annual Christmas bird counts recorded that bald eagle populations rose from 197 in 1941 to 891 in 1960 – When DDT use in America was at its historic high.

    Like

  69. Ed Darrell says:

    Been busy with other stuff, but wanted to jump in.

    Teri said:

    Now, IF you had seen the film, you would know that this is simply a compilation of peer reviewed studies . . .

    Can you give us a list of these studies? Allegations in the film run 180 degrees from all research done through 2009. Which studies do you refer to?

    . . . testimonies of scientific experts . . .

    But not malaria experts, nor legal experts. You’ve already said you don’t have interviews from Ruckelshaus — and we can understand why he wouldn’t want to talk to someone with such a bias against history and the facts — but did anyone interview Socrates Litsios? Any interviews with veterans of Fred Soper’s operations at WHO? Any interviews with any bird experts on DDT?

    Why not?

    . . . bird counts from the time of DDT use and before and after

    Generally the most authoritative bird counts would be Audubon’s annual bird counts — so it’s obvious you didn’t use Audubon’s authoritative bird counts. Audubon found decreasing numbers of eagles, no “teen-age” eagles, and ultimately no young ones during the reign of DDT. Why should we give credence to a second-rate bird count? Whose bird count was used, and what was the methodology?

    . . . interviews with government officials . . .

    But no one from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? No one from EPA? No one from USDA? Why so selective?

    . . . not to mention the 9,000 page Hearing Trial, which up to this point, has not been exposed.

    Who told you that hadn’t been “exposed?” Did your researchers find the stories about it in the newspapers, and the court hearings?

    Who said these well-known hearings were not known? Did anybody bother to fact check that claim?

    Like

  70. bev says:

    I have been reading this lively discussion on DDT with much interest. I have been investigating for myself to find out The Facts: The Truth about DDT and its banning by the EPA. I found Dr. Rutledge’s documentary, 3 BILLION AND COUNTING, which I saw in New York, and website very helpful and eye-opening. I also would recommend to anyone serious about the Facts to see: US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Hearing Statements: http://epw.senate.gov/hearingstatements.cfm?id=246769 It’s time to STOP DENYING THE TRUTH and BRING DDT BACK. It’s the Cheapest, Safest, and most Effective way TO ERADICATE BLOODSUCKERS.

    Like

  71. Jim Stanley says:

    Teri,

    I was responding to the post just prior. James was discussing the creation “science” mindset. I was not commenting on climate change or environmental stewardship, though I am a liberal on those issues.

    My response (and I am a Christian) was aimed at my fellow Christians (and other religious folk) who act as though their faith would collapse if every word of Genesis is not literally true. It’s an either-or, all or nothing proposition…which I find (again, as a Christian) tremendously unimaginative and sad.

    Your point that environmentalist can become a religion of sorts is quite apt. It’s true of everything…good things and bad things. Atheism (and I have the highest respect for the Atheists I know) can become a religion of sorts in the sense that it can produce fundamentalists. All movements have their terrorists and fundies, don’t you think?

    Much as I support environmentally-friendly legislation, I can’t even conceive of someone vandalizing or setting fire to a laboriatory where testing is done on animals. I’ve met some diehard PETA people and some Greenpeace activists who could be described as irrational fundamentalists. So thanks for that insight. It may be the only thing we agree on. (And for the record, the Tea Party and Anarcho-Libertarian movement is fairly swollen with angry fundamentalists right now — religious and otherwise.)

    Oh, I use the word flaccid to describe anything that is limp, lifeless or wimpy. You’re right, of course, that it can apply to a male with erectile dysfunction. It can also apply in a litany of other contexts. Aren’t words wonderful?

    Like

  72. Oh, and their journal definitely isn’t indexed for PubMed, and is listed as untrustworthy by QuackWatch.

    Like

  73. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

    Just so everyone can get a flavour of the journal which Teri is pushing, the AAPS has the following stated policy positions:
    – Opposes mandatory vaccination: http://www.aapsonline.org/testimony/mandvac.htm
    – Calls Social Security and Medicaid “evil and immoral”: http://www.aapsonline.org/brochures/princip.htm
    – Opposes evidence-based medicine: http://www.aapsonline.org/brochures/princip.htm
    – Opposes over-the-counter contraception and abortion: http://www.aapsonline.org/testimony/fda-ab.php
    – Opposes electronic medical records: http://motherjones.com/politics/2009/11/tea-party-doctors-american-association-physicians-surgeons
    – Published an article implying that Barack Obama was using Neuro-linguistic Programming: http://www.aapsonline.org/newsoftheday/0089

    Now, I don’t want to prejudice anyone’s opinion against them, but… Well, they’re clearly whackjobs of the first order.

    Like

  74. Teri says:

    Jim—who says:

    James Hanley says, >>>”What do all these anti-science types have in common?”<<<

    A very small, flaccid religious faith.

    What about me? I'm not the LEAST bit religious. Neither is Dr. Rutledge. However, I do feel that this environmentalist movement smells a lot like religion. The FEAR, my god(pun intended) the FEAR!! The earth is melting, the birds are dying, our air is killing us, and on and on…and the solution–GUILT!! We are guilty just by breathing. And we must atone for these sins–by giving money, to the great green god in the sky(I still wish someone would explain to me how higher taxes combat global warming and/or ozone disintegration) and following a growing list of "commandments". Don't look into it for yourself people, just believe what we tell you, obey us, and you can save the earth and build up treasures in heaven, I mean, save the earth for eternity. Whatever. Same thing.

    'Flaccid" was an odd choice of words to use. Hope that's not a problem for you…if so, I know a Dr. that's great at treating those sort of issues.

    Like

  75. Teri says:

    Now, onto “James”…who states:
    What do all these anti-science types have in common? No matter how familiar you are with the science, they don’t think you can comment on their contra-science film unless you’ve seen it, even though you already know every argument they’re going to put in it, because you are thoroughly familiar with the people, and the things they say, and know that if they actually had any real scientific findings on their side, they’d publish them in the peer-reviewed literature, like real scientists, instead of making a film.

    We aren’t saying you can’t comment on our film without seeing it—comment away! I was simply shocked that someone might write an entire blog or article about it, without having seen it…but as it turns out, I am GLAD Ed has opened this discussion—-Now, IF you had seen the film, you would know that this is simply a compilation of peer reviewed studies, testimonies of scientific experts, bird counts from the time of DDT use and before and after, interviews with government officials, not to mention the 9,000 page Hearing Trial, which up to this point, has not been exposed. If you ARE a scientist, you do have access to these sorts of things(which is why it would surprise me to see you on the side you seem to be on) but the common person does not know where to look, so we have presented them in this film, and HIGHLY encourage them to continue to look into the matter on their own. We ENCOURAGE it. The thing that makes this film different to the DDT nay-sayers I have run across, is that we are NOT trying to hide anything. We WANT it all to be laid on the table. Yet, on the other side of the fence, the fallacy of the Bitman study is “hush hush”, the 9,000 pages were all but hidden away, William Ruckleshaus REFUSES to discuss it, EPA refuses to discuss it. We aren’t hiding anything, but rather, boldly stepping out and Dr. Rutledge INVITED them to present their side in the film. They refused, many times. If the ban on DDT were truly based on science, and if it was a GREAT thing to ban it, then the EPA would have a whole section devoted to it on their website. They would be thrilled to discuss it. They would probably have a DDT awareness month or some nonsense. It would not be a taboo subject. Yet…it is. So if you know that you have read absolutely everything on DDT, are familiar with all of the scientific evidence presented during the hearing, and are 100% convinced that it should have been banned in the US and discouraged from use overseas….then I think that is fabulous, and please continue on your merry way. But we still aren’t convinced of that….thus, the questioning. That’s really all this film is—an open question: Why are millions still dying every year when we have the means to eradicate it? Can you answer that?

    Like

  76. Teri says:

    Ed,

    You are correct. Not many HAVE seen the film. That’s why it is thrilling, to me, that there has been such a HUGE surge of movement in regards to this documentary. It seems that those that HAVE seen it, can not, and will not be silent about it. And I said before, it only takes a small minority of determined folks(to paraphrase) to shake things up and spark interest. You are also correct in your assumption the script has not been seen by many because…well, there is NOT a script, as there typically is not with most great documentaries. This film was shot “cinema verte”. Wikipedia that.

    However, in regards to Dr. Edwards—and this is where you can be rather tricky, as you tend to state half truths and so forth, in hopes that it will be taken as the full truth, the title of this blog is a prime example—he died, at the age of 89, of a heart attack while mountain climbing. Mountain climbing! At the age of 89. 89. At the age of 89, death from anything, is considered…well, most likely NOT due to DDT use. I won’t say that his long life was BECAUSE of DDT, but it certainly didn’t shorten it anyway. According to most of the statements made by you, he should have dropped dead IMMEDIATELY. Or at least suffered from a lot of illnesses. Or SOMETHING…

    Like

  77. edward says:

    ED, You mention in your above comments that America wiped out Malaria by working for 30 years to improve medical care, beef up the Public Health Service and county public health officers, educate people on how to drain mosquito breeding areas near their homes, be certain people with malari were fully treated to a cure, and to raise incomes to improve housing so that people could live in a home where mosquitoes could not enter at night.
    If it is that simple Why has America not been doing the same in Africa, Bill gates spends $50,000,000 a year and god knows how much is spent on Bednet, US Aid have a budget of $90,000,000 a year for Malaria.
    So why are 3000 people a day still dieing from Malaria ?
    Edward

    Like

  78. Peter G says:

    There’s several questions I’d like to bring up in reference to what is being said here. First would someone show proof that Dr. Rutledge said that malaria could be eradicated if DDT were not banned from Africa. From what I’ve gathered is that Dr. Rutledge has said that if Africa were permitted to use DDT freely without being threaten to cut off funding that this would drop malaria rates immediately.

    The next question I have is will someone provide information where I can listen to the archived radio show where Dr. Rutledge was on the Howard Stern program. This way everyone here can verify that the claim in this article is accurate. If this claim is not true it shows a serious flaw in the credibility of the rest of the article.

    Another question I have is will someone provide proof and prove that DDT does not work against bedbugs. If you look into this you will find that there have not been any studies done on bedbugs in the last 30 years according to Dr. Don Roberts in Bethesda. If anything this debate on bedbugs is heating up and it may bring out a study with bedbugs and DDT.

    Now in reference to the documentary no one ever said “pesticides” were not sprayed in Africa. The documentary shows how more deadly pesticides ( not DDT ) are sprayed.

    And my final question will someone provide proof and prove that bio-magnification happens in reference to DDT. The article claims that because of bio-magnification that DDT kills the predators of mosquitoes more effectively thus setting the stage for mosquitoes to come roaring back because all the natural checks on the mosquito population are out of commission. Well this claim is not proven. Bio-magnification is NOT proven.

    Like

  79. Peter G says:

    There’s several questions I’d like to bring up in reference to what is being said here. First would someone show proof that Dr. Rutledge said that malaria could be eradicated if DDT were not banned from Africa. From what I’ve gathered is that Dr. Rutledge has said

    Like

  80. RealStats says:

    Ed you say in a response to someone called “Royce” that:

    “By 1939, malaria was essentially eliminated from the U.S. DDT was not available for use for another seven years”.

    I’m finding this rather difficult to reconcile with the following which clearly indicates that some 3.2 million house were sprayed with DDT between January 1945 to September 1947.

    “….beginning in 1945, the [Malaria Control in War Areas] MCWA launched its Extended Program of Malaria Control. The extended program was not limited to military posts, camps, and stations, but instead was extended to more malarious civilian areas (CDC Bulletin, Jan, Feb, Mar, 1947). It consisted of spraying DDT on interior walls of homes and privies. The spraying program covered large areas of the southern US. From January 1945 to September 1947, 3.2 million houses were sprayed (CDC Bulletin, Oct, Nov, Dec, 1948)”.

    Like

  81. Ellie says:

    One of the major contributors to malaria in Brazil is deforestation. The bugs are given huge new areas in which to breed and they do.

    I’m not saying the reduction of the use of DDT didn’t have something to do with increases in the disease, merely that deforestation is very much one of the factors and will continue to be.

    Like

  82. MadAboutDDT says:

    Well, what debate! How about throwing in some evidence from a Professor of Tropical Public Health before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works Hearing Statements in 2005?
    And I quote:
    “I conducted malaria research in the Amazon Basin in the 1970s. My Brazilian colleague—who is now the Secretary of Health for Amazonas State—and I worked out of Manaus, the capitol of Amazonas State. From Manaus we traveled two days to a study site where we had sufficient numbers of cases for epidemiological studies. There were no cases in Manaus, or anywhere near Manaus. For years before my time there and for years thereafter, there were essentially no cases of malaria in Manaus. However in the late 1980s, environmentalists and international guidelines forced Brazilians to reduce and then stop spraying small amounts of DDT inside houses for malaria control. As a result, in 2002 and 2003 there were over 100,000 malaria cases in Manaus alone”.

    Like

  83. James Hanley says:

    Getgoin,–The question is whether the article uses those citations correctly. The articles cited to may be trustworthy, while the way they are used may not be.

    Kathy–And how do you know those 9,000 pages actually showed DDT to be safe? Have you reviewed them? How many of them are documents submitted by the manufacturers of DDT? How many of them are testimonies before Congressional committees by people without actual scientific data who were supporting DDT?

    Frankly, the idea that all the peer-reviewed literature condemns DDT’s safety, but that the smoking gun that scientifically proves it’s safe is sitting in the National Archives is too unrealistic to be taken seriously. It’s as plausible as the plot of that supremely silly movie National Treasure.

    Like

  84. GetGoin says:

    Ed – was interested by your comment about the legitimacy of the article I found on the web from the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. So, just wondered, does this mean that the references cited in this paper from eg The Journal of the American Medical Association, Archive of Environmental Health, Journal of the National Cancer Institute are all invalid?

    Like

  85. kathy says:

    Ed…I do not know about the box office results of the film. From what I understand, it was shown in New York, where I viewed it, and L.A. You would have to contact Dr. Rutledge, which I believe you can do by going to his web site: http://www.3billionandcounting.com and I’m SURE he will fill you in.
    As far as your “dare”: I dare you to cite a single peer-review study which contradicts the courts and those thousand studies! I would suggest, once again that you contact Dr. Rutledge. I am just an every day person, who found out about this on his web site and went to see the film. Actually…to argue with him! LOL In the film he shows going to the National Archives and retrieving the over 9,000 pages of documents that show DDT to be SAFE! This was IGNORED Ed. And, it appears that Dr. Rutledge was the FIRST to even bother checking these documents. So, what was given to the courts..could we say…was not all the facts .. or dare I say…junk science or tainted info? Hmmm..probably wasn’t the first or last time this could/would happen! Have you heard of the leaked documents on our world wide sham around global warming? So, yes, it is possible that things are not what they appear to be!!

    Like

  86. Ed Darrell says:

    Jim Stanley, you are so vicious! But yes, I suppose their religious faith could be small, too.

    Like

  87. Jim Stanley says:

    James Hanley says, >>>”What do all these anti-science types have in common?”<<<

    A very small, flaccid religious faith.

    Like

  88. James Hanley says:

    I can’t imagine devoting an entire blog post to something I had not personally viewed,

    Heh. That doesn’t sound like creationist claptrap at all. Not at all, I tell you!

    What do all these anti-science types have in common? No matter how familiar you are with the science, they don’t think you can comment on their contra-science film unless you’ve seen it, even though you already know every argument they’re going to put in it, because you are thoroughly familiar with the people, and the things they say, and know that if they actually had any real scientific findings on their side, they’d publish them in the peer-reviewed literature, like real scientists, instead of making a film.

    Like

  89. Ed Darrell says:

    Teri, there is only a select handful who could possibly have seen the movie. Generally, movies without strong scripts are kept carefully under wraps, and I must assume from the publicity material that is the case with this one.

    Like

  90. Teri says:

    Hi Ed,

    Have you not SEEN it? I thought, by all of the commentary that SURELY you wouldn’t make so many comments about a film you had not yet SEEN!! My apologies! I can’t imagine devoting an entire blog post to something I had not personally viewed, but I am quite new to the blog thing. I have informed Dr. Rutledge of your request, and he said as soon as the DVD’s are available for general distribution, we will send you a copy. You may private message me your address and I will make sure you are one of the first to get one.

    Like

  91. Ed Darrell says:

    Teri,

    Thanks for dropping by. Can you get Dr. Taylor to send a reviewer’s copy DVD of the movie?

    Thank you.

    Like

  92. Teri says:

    Hi, I’m Dr. Rutledge’s nurse. First of all, let’s clear up some information you have incorrect. Dr. Rutledge was NOT on Howard Stern, his website only references the episode where Howard discusses DDT. It was Paul Driessen that Stern used as a reference in that particular episode.
    Number two, I don’t know who Royce is, and it certainly isn’t Dr. Rutledge’s publicist.
    Thirdly, the film played for an entire week at both the Quad Cinemas and Laemmle’s Sunset 5 in Los Angeles. This is typical for a documentary that qualifies for Academy Awards. Not many do. We are proud that we do. It neither means it was a success or a failure, simply the protocol we were more than happy to follow to ensure our eligibility for Academy Awards. The turnout, particularly in LA, was great! Thanks for asking, and thank you, Ed Darrel, for your continued mention of Dr. Rutledge and this film. YOU have been very quite instrumental in getting this film mentioned LOTS. And we LOVE that!! Cause whether people agree or disagree with you, it DOES tend to make folks look into it more, dig into the science of it, and of course, those that stand on the truth side would want nothing more. I’m sure that’s why you keep mentioning it, so that people will find out for themselves. I hope for the same.
    BUT I did want to clear up the incorrect information you have here. Checking these three small facts would have been simple, you could have even asked Dr. Rutledge and I’m sure he would have told you. I know you ALWAYS want to make sure you have everything straight, and certainly would never mislead or over exaggerate to make your point. I’m sure this was an isolated incident.

    You are right. We do seem to lack the religious fanatics to support this film. We aren’t looking for that. What WE do have, is a “small, irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of truth into the minds of men” (to quote Samuel Adams) and that, is all we need. Much like his medical practice, it may be small, but it is MIGHTY, and those that come in contact with it never walk away the same. Also, as his patient, I KNOW I would not stand alone in saying his medical care is superior. He is a perfectionist, and although this might not be a favorable attribute for some things, it sure is for someone you have as your physician. It sure is for someone that is going to present scientific facts as a documentary.

    Dr. Rutledge does not need me to defend his character(it speaks for itself), or what he is as a physician or film maker(as a matter of fact, I just may be in a heap of trouble for doing so without asking) but I WANTED to. Maybe you have some people in your life that you have changed for the better, healed, educated, or any other similar thing…that will come and defend what you are saying. Or maybe not…

    By the way, I am a huge fan of the boyscout outfit you don on your facebook profile. It is SO adorable. I have found that lately, when I am tired from my 20 hour work days, taking a peek at that gives me a joyous boost, for a reason I can not explain.

    Like

  93. Ed Darrell says:

    GetGoin, JPANDS is notorious for publishing crank science and quack medicine — it is not considered a high quality journal (I’m not sure it’s indexed for PubMed, even).

    Gordon Edwards was a well-respected entomologist, but he appears to have gone around the bend on DDT issues, an instability perhaps aided by his habit of drinking a bit of DDT solution prior to lectures to demonstrate its safety (Edwards was well past child-bearing age at the time, and male, so real effects of DDT were not demonstrated by his actions — plus he died of a syndrome common to DDT poisoning victims). Several people have tried to follow Dr. Edwards’s citations, without success (see here, here, here, and here, for example). It appears he was imagining the case in favor of DDT.

    Like

  94. GetGoin says:

    You all might find the following of interest – it is fact based science – the subject is DDT:

    Click to access edwards.pdf

    Like

  95. Ed Darrell says:

    Kathy, do you know what the box office on the movie has been? Is it playing anywhere, still?

    Like

  96. Ellie says:

    Poison is good. War is peace. Up is down.

    Listen to Doc Hollywood — er Rutledge — er Taylor.
    And don’t confuse yourself with facts.

    Like

  97. Ed Darrell says:

    And, the ban on DDT was done, we now know, from use of emotionalism and junk science.

    There are four different federal court decisions that say the opposite, that it was done according to law, based on the science. There are more than a thousand peer-review studies published since Silent Spring confirming the accuracy of the science.

    I dare you to cite a single peer-review study which contradicts the courts and those thousand studies!

    Like

  98. kathy says:

    Typically, when one does not have facts, they attack from an emotional stance. And, the ban on DDT was done, we now know, from use of emotionalism and junk science. All the propaganda here on how DDT didn’t wipe out malaria and thinning of bird eggshells is not factual, but the continuance of the propaganda around DDT. IF you had taken the time to investigate the facts provided in the film, you could not find yourself repeating such nonsense! And to say that DDT was not banned in Africa, is not totally true. What is true is that they are told IF they use it they will not receive aid from the Unites States. Have you ever heard of “dystopia”? Here: Wikipedia notes:
    “A dystopia (from Ancient Greek: dys: bad-, ill- and Ancient Greek: topos: place, landscape) (alternatively, cacotopia,[1] or anti-utopia) is, in literature, an often futuristic society that has degraded into a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian. This is what the environmental movement that started with the ban on DDT has in store for us! I know it is a stretch to question for yourself and investigate for yourself the truth .. but give it a try. Stop denying the truth about DDT! It is safe for humans and birds alike. It only kills blood sucking insects.
    I applaud anyone who will check out http://www.3billionandcounting.com and find the facts for themselves.

    Like

  99. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Howard Stern Tweets, Alltop Education. Alltop Education said: “3 billion and counting” — the errors one makes when using Howard Stern as a science advisor http://bit.ly/bRwOgS […]

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