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DDT is safe: just ask the professor who ate it for 40 years
Daily Telegraph ^ | originally: 07/19/2001 | Terence Kealey

Posted on 07/03/2002 4:09:24 AM PDT by backhoe

Culture/Society Editorial Editorial
Source: The Telegraph (U.K.)
Published: 07/19/2001 Author: Terence Kealey
Posted on 07/18/2001 16:55:32 PDT by Pokey78

THE World Health Organisation, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, the UN environmental programme and its development programme, USAID, and almost all the other international representatives of the great and the good now campaign against DDT.

But, perversely, the Third World still uses it. To those who believe that America under George W Bush and his gas-guzzling, permafrost-drilling accomplices is the source of all global pollution, this Third World defection is disappointing. Where are the virtuous blacks when we need them?

DDT was introduced as an insecticide during the 1940s. In Churchill's words: "The excellent DDT powder has been found to yield astonishing results against insects of all kinds, from lice to mosquitoes."

And astonishing they were. DDT was particularly effective against the anopheles mosquito, which is the carrier of malaria, and people once hoped that DDT would eradicate malaria worldwide. Consider Sri Lanka. In 1946, it had three million cases, but the introduction of DDT reduced the numbers, by 1964, to only 29. In India, the numbers of malaria cases fell from 75 million to around 50,000.

But, in 1962, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, the book that launched the environmental movement. In that book, Carson showed how DDT was imperilling wildlife, particularly predators at the top of the food chain that accumulated the chemical in their fat and in their thinning egg shells.

Within a decade, the developed countries had banned DDT, as did some developing countries, to the detriment of their health. In Sri Lanka, cases of malaria soon rose to 500,000. Worldwide, malaria has returned with a vengeance, accounting annually for 300 million cases and, sadly, one million deaths, mainly of children.

As the Third World now knows, there is no ready substitute for DDT. The spraying of houses with DDT prevents malaria because most people are infected after dusk as they sleep indoors. DDT permeates the walls of buildings, and a single spray will provide indoor protection for months.

Other chemicals are available, but they are generally less effective, shorter-acting and - most importantly for the Third World - more expensive. And DDT is extraordinarily safe for humans. Prof Kenneth Mellanby lectured on it for more than 40 years, and during each lecture he would eat a pinch.

Nor need DDT imperil wildlife. The destruction that Carson described was caused by the agricultural use of DDT as a mass insecticide in vast quantities on crops. But the discriminating application of DDT indoors involves only a tiny, contained, environmentally tolerable, reversible fraction of the dose. That is why some international health (as opposed to environmental) agencies, including Unicef, still support the judicious use of DTT. Even the WHO is now softening its stance.

Malaria was once endemic in Britain. Cromwell died of it and both Pepys and Shakespeare described it. Until the 1930s, it was still active in Essex. But we are lucky in our frosty climate, which kills anopheles, and we have eradicated the disease. Yet Greenpeace and other environmental agencies resist the appropriate use of DDT in the tropics.

Politics has long bedevilled malaria. Its first effective cure was quinine, which was discovered by Jesuit missionaries in South America during the 1630s, but for decades Protestants preferred to die rather than swallow "Jesuit's Powder". Today, Third World health is endangered by comfortable Western environmentalists, some of whom, discreetly, view black natives as threats to the local wildlife.

Supporting those black natives, however, are two researchers, Richard Tren and Roger Bate, whose Malaria and the DDT Story, recently published by the Institute for Economic Affairs in London, shows how to foster both a healthier and an environmentally friendlier Third World. Greenpeace, in its self-assurance, embodies a contemporary cultural imperialism as offensive as any Jesuit's.

1 Posted on 07/18/2001 16:55:32 PDT by Pokey78

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News
KEYWORDS: ddt; deathcultivation; malaria; pesticides; un
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To: Sabertooth
If the DDT banning isn't responsible, what is?

Habitat protection and restoration. Falcons have done especially well since building owners learned how to make their properties more hospitable- when I was working downtown a family lived under a window on a neighbouring building and watching them catch sparrows mid-air was quite a show.

41 posted on 07/03/2002 12:06:04 PM PDT by Squawk 8888
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To: Squawk 8888
Habitat protection and restoration. Falcons have done especially well since building owners learned how to make their properties more hospitable- when I was working downtown a family lived under a window on a neighbouring building and watching them catch sparrows mid-air was quite a show.

I've seen falcons in the suburbs where both my brother and mother live, in Orange and San Jose CA. Both of these subdivisions were built before DDT was banned, but there weren't any falcons there until recently.

That falcons do well among skyscrapers is a given. But I've seen falcons roost in skyscrapers that had no special provision for them.

Since skyscrapers and subdivisions existed when falcon populations were in decline, the population of the falcons since then in both urban and suburban envirionments can't be attributed exclusively to habitat preservation or special building provisions.

So, if not them, and not the DDT ban, then what is responsible for the falcons' comeback?

42 posted on 07/03/2002 12:26:09 PM PDT by Sabertooth
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To: Sabertooth
43 posted on 07/03/2002 12:49:05 PM PDT by Publius6961
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To: eagleninja
"It is a well established fact that DDT destroyed the egg shells of a wide range of birds including the bald eagle, our nation's symbol of freedom."

That's actually a matter of some scientific debate. Counts of bald eagles from 1941 to 1960, the period from DDT introduction to large-scale use, apparently showed bald eagle populations actually increased:

"A comparison of the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Counts between 1941 (pre-DDT) and 1960 (after DDT’s use had waned) reveals that at least 26 different kinds of birds became more numerous during those decades, the period of greatest DDT usage. The Audubon counts document an overall increase in birds seen per observer from 1941 to 1960, and statistical analyses of the Audubon data confirm the perceived increases. For example, only 197 bald eagles were documented in 194111; the number had increased to 891 in 1960.12" micals/ddt.html

"Not all chemical compounds are safe. That's why DDT was banned."

That's definitely incorrect! DDT was banned by William Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the EPA. He banned DDT, despite the fact that DDT had been ruled by a federal judge to be safe, when used appropriately:

"In April 1972, after seven months of testimony, Judge Edmund Sweeney stated that “DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man. . . . The uses of DDT under the regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife. . . . The evidence in this proceeding supports the conclusion that there is a present need for the essential uses of DDT.”31"

"Wake up and smell the coffee and let's move on to some real issues."

Perhaps it's not a "real issue" to YOU that over 1 million people die every year of malaria, and that DDT could save 10s of thousands, or even 100s of thousands of those lives. It IS an issue to those of us who care about thousands and thousands of people dying needlessly, every year.

DDT has probably saved more lives than any man-made compound ever developed. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences stated, in 1970: “In little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths due to malaria, that would otherwise have been inevitable.”

The people who are actually on the front lines in fighting malaria in the third world are solidly in favor of the continued use of DDT. It's truly a shame that their opinions get so little support.

Mark Bahner (environmental engineer)
44 posted on 07/03/2002 2:03:42 PM PDT by Mark Bahner
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To: Sabertooth
"Not that there's necessarily a demonstrated cause and effect, but Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon populations have increased greatly since the 60s, since DDT was banned."

Yes, but bald eagle populations apparently increased from 1941 to 1960 (while DDT was introduced in the 1940s). See my previous post.

Further, there are other chemicals that can cause bird shells to thin (presumably due to insufficient calcium). Lead can cause bird shells to thin. Oil can, too. Mercury can. faq.htm#ref6

Lead started to be removed from gasoline circa 1975, with the introduction of catalytic converters on cars. Lead levels in human blood began to decline at that time (mid-1970s).

Mercury concentrations in the environment have been declining since...well, for at least the last 10 years. Perhaps longer.

Oil spills have dramatically decreased from the 1960s. (Though that doesn't necessarily correlate with oil in the environment, since leaks from automobiles are a larger total source.)

So all of these other chemicals, which have declined in the environment since approximately the same time, may have produced egg shell thinning in wild birds.
45 posted on 07/03/2002 2:20:00 PM PDT by Mark Bahner
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To: StolarStorm
It was completely in line and surely does have a place.

I was pointing up the hypocrisy of the poster I was originally replying to.

All he wants is to be able to see eagles and he doesn't give a rats fat butt about people in third world countries (all predominately black by the way) dying from easily preventable diseases.

It's called sarcasm. You might want to look it up.


46 posted on 07/03/2002 3:20:35 PM PDT by Lurker
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Comment #47 Removed by Moderator

To: backhoe
If you've ever watched the film footage or seen photos of the concentration camps being liberated in WWII Germany, you'll see the GIs dumping vast quantities of white powder which if my memory serves me was talcum powder and some percentage of DDT (10%, I think). You'll note that no one has come forward saying that DDT was killing thousands of survivors. If people who are starving and whose immune system is probably in pretty bad shape aren't affected, I'd say that it, if used properly has virtually no effect on humans.

For the falcons and birds issue, Stephen Milloy at has written some very good articles about DDT and birds.
48 posted on 07/03/2002 3:32:21 PM PDT by historian1944
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To: mfumento
A ping if you are still lurking.
49 posted on 07/03/2002 3:40:25 PM PDT by TomB
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To: shigure
Ironic, isn't it, that the two greatest lifesavers of this century, DDT and bioengineered food (see: Norman Borlaug), are considered evil by the environmentalists.

This single fact tells you exactly how important they hold human life.

50 posted on 07/03/2002 3:56:32 PM PDT by TomB
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To: historian1944
When I was young, SOP to treat a person infested with parasites ( lice, ticks, fleas, chiggers, etc. ) was to dump DDT powder all over them- like you, I *think* it was talc treated with DDT.
51 posted on 07/03/2002 3:57:04 PM PDT by backhoe
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To: Lurker
I understood your sarcasm. I had an issue with you equating his position with racism.

Not everyone's life revolves around the issue of race. For some it never enters into their minds at all when having an opinion on an issue. For others, EVERYTHING is connected to race.

You jumped too hard and too viciously on someone who simply was stating that they valued eagles and didn't want to allow something that might be harmful to them.

I don't necessarily agree with this poster that DDT would be harmful... but that's not the point. You attacked this person and implied that they didn't care about "darkies" (as you put it). Hate to break it to you , but I really doubt the poster thoughts had ventured in that direction at all. You could have brought the concept up in a less disgusting way (race baiting).

52 posted on 07/03/2002 4:21:59 PM PDT by StolarStorm
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To: StolarStorm
" but I really doubt the poster thoughts had ventured in that direction at all. "

I doubt he had either. Sometimes it's necessary to smack someone in the face with the cold, hard truth of things. He's perfectly willing to let thousands of persons in third world ratholes die from perfectly preventable diseases in order to gain for himself some perceived benefit.

Truth be told, I doubt the poster has the actual intellectual capacity to think at all. He values the lives of eagles (btw there's absolutely no evidence that DDT harms them at all but that's another subject) over the lives of black and brown people around the world. To my mind, it's the absolute worse sort of racism.

He's got his, and the rest of the world be damned. His kids can see eagles (although I seriously doubt he actually lives somewhere where they can see eagles) so it's perfectly alright for some African villagers kids to suffer from malaria, or west nile fever, or some other mosquito borne disease.

He's fortunate he lives in a Western country where we can afford more expensive pesticides in order to control disease carrying pests. In Africa, Asia, and South America they don't have that luxury. The proper use of DDT could save quite probably hundreds of thousands of lives annually in those regions but folks like him don't give a damn about those people. Apparently, all they are fit for is making his Nikes and dying young.

It's an attitude that's endemic to the environmental movement and it makes me sick.

Sorry if I offended you, but people like that need to be called exactly what they are as loudly and as often as possible.

Scratch a liberal, find a fascist. That's just the way things are.


53 posted on 07/03/2002 4:35:39 PM PDT by Lurker
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To: Lurker
You've made some very big assumptions based on very little info. Assuming racism with regard to that simple post is just plain paranoid.
54 posted on 07/03/2002 4:49:55 PM PDT by StolarStorm
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To: backhoe; Pokey78
The article ignores the most salient point. With every 3 degree celsius rise in temperature, the speed of most organic processes doubles. In the tropics, DDT decomposes and is harmless; in the northern(most) latitudes, where Silent Spring was researched, it lingers.
55 posted on 07/03/2002 5:11:30 PM PDT by a history buff
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To: a history buff
56 posted on 07/03/2002 5:23:10 PM PDT by backhoe
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To: StolarStorm
At this point, racism as the prime motivation behind people wanting to keep DDT banned is the simplest solution and the one which Occam's razor would favor. Somebody supporting the ban on DDT would have to prove to me that he wasn't a racist.
57 posted on 07/03/2002 6:05:58 PM PDT by medved
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To: medved
Huh? Are you people nuts??? Did you ever think that someone actually might.. just might.... think that pesticides are bad for people's health? I assure you, there are a LOT of people who believe that. The success of organic food stores attest to it. This viewpoint that pesticides are unhealthy may be silly... but it sure ain't racism.

I hope you are just yanking my chain... and having a laugh... because this "fear of pesticides = racism" opinion has got to be the most disjointed stupid arguement I've ever heard. Geeeeeeezzzzzz. Ug. No more. I feel dirty even responding to this absurdity.

58 posted on 07/03/2002 6:24:22 PM PDT by StolarStorm
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To: backhoe
Banning DDT was about thinning world human populations. Especially in underdevelped nations. But "they" came up with a better tool.......HIV/AIDS.
59 posted on 07/03/2002 6:37:07 PM PDT by hove
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To: StolarStorm
Anybody who believes there's any sort of a reason to want any of those kids in the image on item 22 above to die of malaria for the benefit of some fricking mosquito or woodpecker is a pig of some stripe or other. Assuming him to be a racist pig is about the kindest assumption I could make; anything else would be worse.
60 posted on 07/03/2002 6:56:14 PM PDT by medved
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