DDT, Fraud, and Tragedy

Reply Fri 25 Feb, 2005 12:16 pm

The American Spectator

Special Report
DDT, Fraud, and Tragedy
By Gerald and Natalie Sirkin
Published 2/25/2005 12:08:42 AM


"Fraud in science is a major problem." So begins "DDT: A Case Study in Scientific Fraud" by the late J. Gordon Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Entomology at San Jose State University in San Jose, California.

The article was published shortly after his death last July in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Fall, 2004. It is based in part on his 34-page manuscript discussing fraud in acid rain, ozone holes, ultraviolet radiation, carbon dioxide, global warming, and pesticides, particularly DDT.

His publications distinguish Edwards as the leading authority on the environmental science and politics of DDT.

In World War I, prior to the discovery of the insecticidal potential of DDT, typhus killed more servicemen than bullets. In World War II, typhus was no problem. The world has marveled at the effectiveness of DDT in fighting malaria, yellow fever, dengue, sleeping sickness, plague, encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, fleas, and lice.

Today, the greatest killer and disabler is malaria, which kills a person every 30 seconds. By the 1960s, DDT had brought malaria near to extinction. "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 otherwise would have been inevitable," said the National Academy of Sciences.

But the handwriting was on the wall when William Ruckelshaus, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in an address to the Audubon Society in Milwaukee in 1971, clearly stated his position:

As a member of the Audubon Society myself, and knowing the impact of this chlorinated hydrocarbon in certain species of raptorial birds, I was highly suspicious of this compound [DDT], to put it mildly. But I was compelled by the facts to temper my emotions.

"As you know, many mass uses of DDT have already been prohibited, including all uses around the home. Certainly we'll all feel better when the persistent compounds can be phased out in favor of biological controls. But awaiting this millennium does not permit the luxury of dodging the harsh decisions of today.

Rachel Carson began the countrywide assault on DDT with her 1962 book, Silent Spring. Carson made errors, some designed to scare, about DDT and synthetic pesticides. "For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from the moment of conception to death," she intoned.

"This is nonsense," commented pesticide specialists Bruce N. Ames and Thomas H. Jukes of the University of California at Berkeley. (Ames is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, world renowned. Jukes, who died a few years ago, was a professor of biophysics and a leader in the defense of DDT.) "Every chemical is dangerous if the concentration is too high. Moreover, 99.9 percent of the chemicals humans ingest are natural... produced by plants to kill off predators," Ames and Jukes wrote in Reason in 1993.

Carson, not very scrupulous, implied that the renowned Albert Schweitzer agreed with her on DDT by dedicating Silent Spring "to Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who said 'Man has lost the capacity to foresee and forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.'" Professor Edwards doubted the implication. He got a copy of Schweitzer's autobiography. Dr. Schweitzer was referring to atomic warfare. Professor Edwards found on page 262, "How much labor and waste of time these wicked insects do cause, but a ray of hope, in the use of DDT, is now held out to us."

But Miss Carson's skillful writing was enough to direct a new-born environmental industry looking for a hot issue into a feverish campaign against DDT. "Rachel Carson set the style for environmentalism. Exaggeration and omission of pertinent contradictory evidence are acceptable for the holy cause," wrote Professors Ames and Jukes.

THE FIRST CHARGE AGAINST DDT was that it causes cancer. No search has ever turned up any evidence, despite massive use of DDT in agriculture in the 1950s and 1960s. Wayland Hayes, U.S. Public Health Service scientist, for 18 months, fed to human volunteers, daily, three times the quantity of DDT that the average American was ingesting annually. None experienced any adverse effect, then or six to ten years later.

Workers without wearing protective clothing, with nine to 19 years of continuous exposure to DDT in the Montrose Chemical Company which manufactured DDT, never developed a single case of cancer. DDT caused no illness in the 130,000 men who sprayed it on the interior walls of mud and thatched huts, nor the millions of people who lived in them. Professor Edwards in his classroom occasionally ate a tablespoon of DDT to illustrate to his students that it is not harmful. Indeed, DDT is so safe that canned baby food was permitted to contain five parts per million.

"There has never been any convincing evidence that DDT (or pesticide residues in food) has ever caused cancer in man," concluded Ames and Jukes.

In fact, DDT prevents cancer. "DDT in the diet has repeatedly been shown to enhance the production of hepatic enzymes in mammals and birds. Those enzymes inhibit tumors and cancers in humans as well as wildlife," wrote Professor Edwards in 1992.

Unable to find harm to human health, DDT opponents turned to bird health, alleging a decline of bald eagles and other birds of prey, which they associated with heavy DDT usage. Rachel Carson led the accusation. It has been repeated so often and so passionately that the public is still convinced of it.

The charge is that DDT thinned the shells of eggs. When nesting parent birds sat on the eggs, the shells cracked and no babies hatched. Carson charged that DDT was bringing bald eagles and robins to the "verge of extinction" -- while noted ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson was reporting that the robin was the most abundant bird in North America.

Bald eagles between 1941 and 1960 migrating over Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, doubled during the first six years of DDT-use. Their numbers increased from 9,291 in 1946 -- before much DDT was used -- to 16,163 in 1963 and 19,765 in 1968.

Professor Edwards reviews how bald eagles died of non-DDT causes. In Alaska, 128,000 were shot for bounty payments between 1917 and 1956. Between 1960 and 1965, 76 bald eagles found dead were autopsied: 46 had been shot or trapped; 7 had died of impact injuries from flying into buildings or towers. Between 1965 and 1980, shootings, trappings, electrocutions, and impact injuries chiefly accounted for their deaths.

Although some birds declined before DDT, they became much more abundant during the years of greatest DDT-use. But facts have not impeded the endless repetition of Carson's bird myth.

Scientists tested the popular shell-thinning hypothesis. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists fed birds for 112 days on a diet with 100 times as much DDT as they were getting from the environment. No thinning of egg shells was found. The DDT had no effect on the birds.

One experimenter, to demonstrate eggshell-thinning, fed quail a diet with DDT but containing only one-fifth of the normal amount of calcium. His experiment succeeded in producing thinner eggshells, but his deception was exposed.

IN 1969, THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND (then, three guys with a clipboard; now "Environmental Defense"), Sierra Club, and National Audubon Society petitioned the Secretary of Agriculture to ban DDT, claiming it is carcinogenic to humans. He agreed to partially phase it out by December 31, 1970, which did not satisfy the environmentalists.

The Audubon Society and the Natural Resources Defense Council, to stop exports of DDT to third-world countries, instituted a number of lawsuits, ultimately gaining the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1977.

EPA appointed Administrative Law Judge Edmund Sweeney to evaluate DDT. In 1971-2 he conducted a seven-month hearing. EPA actually participated, testifying against DDT!

Judge Sweeney, after 80 days of testimony from 150 expert scientists, ruled that DDT "is not a carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic hazard to man" and does "not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wild life. There is a present need for the continued use of DDT for the essential uses defined in this case."

The Environmental Defense Fund appealed Sweeney's decision. The appeal should have been passed to an independent jurist, according to Ruckelshaus's general counsel, John Quarles, but Ruckelshaus decided to rule on it himself. Not surprisingly, he upheld his own ban "on the grounds that 'DDT poses a carcinogenic risk' to humans." (In 1994, he was to deny that that was the basis for the ban.) He had banned DDT though he had not attended a day of the 80-day hearing nor read a page of the transcript (as he told the Santa Ana Register, July 23, 1972).

In 1979, on April 26, Ruckelshaus wrote the American Farm Bureau Federation that his ban was imposed for political, not scientific, reasons: "Science, along with other disciplines such as economics, has a role to play, but the ultimate judgment remains political," he wrote. But in 1994 he wrote in a letter to the Wall Street Journal, "The scientific basis for the ban was solid then and still stands. DDT is a highly persistent chemical that moves up the food chain, and it accumulates in the fatty tissue of humans." However, according to Professor Edwards, it does no harm. Professor Edwards says that "DDT residues do not 'build up' in animal food-chains, because they are metabolized and excreted by fish, birds and mammals."

In his March 24, 1994 Wall Street Journal letter, Ruckelshaus wrote that the direct ecological effect, and the basis for his decision, "was its proven impact on the thickness of egg shells of raptors, birds such as the brown pelican and the peregrine falcon. The decision was not based on any claim of human carcinogenicity." But in 1972, he had overridden Judge Sweeney on the ground that DDT does pose a carcinogenic risk to humans.

THE BROWN PELICAN AND the peregrine falcon did suffer declines in population, but not because of DDT, according to Professor Edwards's article, "DDT Effects on Bird Abundance and Reproduction."

Brown pelicans suffered, not from fish they ate but from their catastrophic reproductive failure caused by the great Santa Barbara oil spill surrounding their nesting colonies on the island of Anacapa. Federal and California officials ignored the oil spill and attributed pelican difficulties "solely to DDT in the environment."

In Texas, peregrine falcons declined from 5,000 in 1918 to 200 in 1941, three years before DDT. Around the Gulf of Mexico, they declined from 1918 to 1934 by 82 percent, but the 1935 survey was done 15 years before any DDT appeared.

Likewise, in the East, peregrine falcons declined long before there was any DDT present there, because of egg-collectors and falconers. Falconers "raided every nest they could find" and shot falcons on sight.

Ruckelshaus, besides ruling on the appeal to uphold his own reversal of Sweeney's decision, refused Freedom-of-Information-Act demands for papers relating to the case -- he called them "internal memos" -- effectively preventing scientists from refuting his Opinion. He also refused to file an Environmental Impact Statement on the effects of his DDT ban.

In 1970, in a brief supporting the Secretary of Agriculture in the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Ruckelshaus praised DDT: "DDT is not endangering the public health and has an amazing and exemplary record of safe use. DDT, when properly used at recommended concentrations, does not cause a toxic response in man or other mammals and is not harmful. The carcinogenic claims regarding DDT are unproved speculation."

Subsequently, Ruckelshaus, alleging adverse effects of DDT, signed fund-raising letters on behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund. On his personal stationery, he wrote, "EDF's scientists blew the whistle on DDT by showing it to be a cancer hazard, and three years later, when the dust had cleared, EDF had won."

In a January 12, 2005, letter to the editor of the New York Times, Ruckelshaus rose to the plight of the poor by urging more spending. "If the world were to invest on an annual basis even a small percentage of the funds pledged to tsunami relief toward improving health care systems, transportation, infrastructure and communications systems, we would improve the quality of life for millions of poor people around the world . . ." He said nothing about how his ban on DDT was causing the death of millions from malaria.

FOLLOWING RUCKELSHAUS'S BAN, the USAID, prodded by a lawsuit by the Audubon Society and the Natural Resources Defense Council, undertook to discourage other countries from using DDT by threatening to stop foreign aid to any country using it. Its threat spread Ruckelshaus's ban worldwide.

The effects of giving up DDT were immediately felt in the malarial areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Sri Lanka (Ceylon), reacting to Silent Spring, in the 1960s gave up DDT. Its malarial cases had decreased from 2.8 million down to 17. After Sri Lanka gave it up, malaria shot back up to over 2.5 million.

South American countries gave up DDT and suffered the customary rise in malaria. Ecuador, which manufactures DDT, resumed using it in 1993. By 1995, Ecuador had reduced its malarial cases by 61 percent.

Spraying the inside walls of huts with DDT once or twice a year stops the spread of malaria by repelling mosquitoes from huts. USAID agreed, but it determined that insecticide-treated bed nets are "more cost-effective."

The search for an effective substitute for DDT continues to fail 30 years after the Ruckelshaus ban. The search for a treatment for malaria continues to fail; the mutations of the malaria virus soon make a drug ineffective. The search for a malaria-vaccine continues to fail.

The environmentalists' ideological opposition to pesticides has no basis in science. It is a death sentence to millions.

Gerald and Natalie Sirkin write the "Natalie's Corner" column for Citizen News, a weekly in New Fairfield and Sherman, Connecticut.

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Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 07:03 am
Wow, all the sudden DDT sounds as safe as breakfast cereal, maybe even more safe, given how much sugar is in breakfast cereal. I'm gonna go get me a spoonful, maybe it'll kill this flu bug I've got.
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Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 07:24 am
DDT breaks down in sunlight, but if it evades sunlight (in the soil and in oceans), then it takes years to break down. It also accumulated in the fat tissue of humans and other mammals, and even though it doesn't appear to cause cancer (or have any other nasty side effects), I'm still a bit leery of having something build up in my body tissues with no end in sight.

On the other hand, DDT appears to be much safer in comparison to other insecticides, and probably does not induce raptor decline through egg shell thinning as suggested in the 1960's and 70's.

After doing some web reading beyond Gunga's article, my feeling is that DDT should probably be un-banned but used in a much more controlled way than it was back in the 1960's when it was sprinkled onto the environment like salt on bad steak.
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Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 08:23 am
By the 1960s, DDT had brought malaria near to extinction. "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

This is a totally dead wrong statement gunga, by 1956 Anapholes mosquitoes were about 70 to 95% resistant to DDT, that was the main point that Carson was about in Silent Spring

. It was found that DDT was , like most organo chlorines and Organo Phosphates, soon assimilated in the bug population and a resistance by the malaria mosquitoes developed(as well as resistance by lice, ants , flies,all kinds of bugs). By 1962, DDT was essentially ineffective in the SE Asia, West Africa, Lower Europe areas. The heavy spraying of DDT conferred a resistance to the mosquitoes that is now in their genome. To ignore this fact is almost like beating your head on a wall to stop a headache.

Also gungas article does suffer from a bit of misquoting of Carson. She NEVER saidthat robins were disappearing universally. She stated , that the robins around Lansing Michigan were dying in huge numbers after the spraying for dutch elm disease and Gypsy Moths began in 1953. Robins were dropping like flies. Why? DDT was being applied at 22 lb/acre and the drift was being sucked up in the soil (DDT has a large adsorption coefficient). Worms process soil and the DDT was ingested and amplified. Robins ate the worms and then died in the thousands. The area around Lansing was robin-free for many years, and since the ban on DDT it had to recover naturally

The eagles and hawks that fly OVER Hawk Mountain dont live there. They are transients coming in the flyway from other parts of their ranges. The fact was that , in 1970, there was only 2 breeding pairs of eagles in the state of Pa and that was near the Pymatuning reservoir( Thats a neat trick by the author to let us assume that many eagles flying OVER Hawk Mountain meant that the population locally, was OK). Hunting eagles had been going on for years before DDT with no apparent effect on population (thats where your Dr Meng is Full of it gunga)From the late 40s through 1972 , the eagle population in Pa(as well as many other states where DDT was used for gypsy moths) crashed. Eagle investigators were the ones who climbed to rookeries, collected eggshells from abandoned nests and were able to actually plot the thinning of the shells with time(There are a number of web pages that display these data and I assume youve seen them). The only variable in that time was the use of DDT. They stopped its use (mostly because it was ineffective any more) the eagle s recovery was a welcome collateral side benefit(It was aided by bringing in eagles from Alaska and Canada). They are still hunting eagles in some of the western states and even here in Pa they nailed a guy who was making Indian head dresses. (guy should have his ball sack hairs pulled out one by one)

The article was entertaining , but, Im sure, its a secondary source that youve pulled from some issue driven news source that doesnt bother to check facts.When you use authorities , make sure that you dont get embarrased like you did when you quoted Dr Keith
Since youve brought this point up before gunga, Ive gone and re read silent spring. As I said before. Im not amazed at the paleo science she had used, instead, Im amazed as to how she was so prescient at a time when DNA and mutational driven adaptation was not as well understood as today.
Im not against using ag chemicals. Im just here to remind us all that we shouldnt be making these sweeping statements about "effectiveness of DDT will prevent malaria" . Its not true and Im surprised that any reasonable biochemist or geneticist would be preaching that. Resistance is inborn as a adaptation. It takes a number of generations. If one were a mosquito, a generation is about 30 days. We missed our opportunity to apply DDT because, when we first used it in WWII, we just flung it all over the place. It may have lasted longer if they used it like they originally did in Greece (where they only sprayed it indoors) but even that technique, only extended the effectiveness timeclock to an additional year or two (at most) In Greece Anapholes Sacharovi (the first malarial mosquito s6tudied) was found to have limited immunity in 3 years , and almost complete immunity within 7 years. It was so bad that, mosquitoes could actually live in the houses while spraying occured and only about 5% were affected.
Now, perhaps, we could get a good year or two of DDT effectiveness before the resistant population reasserts itself. Maybe not. However, to make DDT sound like a "magic bullet" against all diseases is just wrong headed. I can see a bunch of old scientists who cling to paleo beliefs still supporting its use, but the industry is leading toward "Integrated Pest Management" wherein we use the genetics against the very bugs we target. This means that formulations must be "boutiqued" and formulations must be changeable rapidly. AND, we now know that even Genetically modified crops and natural genetic insecticides have similar problems. I was a big supporter of GM foods because there was no compelling research that showed it to be harmful. What a difference two years made to my thinking.
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Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 09:16 am
farmerman wrote:

This is a totally dead wrong statement gunga, by 1956 Anapholes mosquitoes were about 70 to 95% resistant to DDT, that was the main point that Carson was about in Silent Spring

. It was found that DDT was , like most organo chlorines and Organo Phosphates, soon assimilated in the bug population and a resistance by the malaria mosquitoes developed(as well as resistance by lice, ants , flies,all kinds of bugs). By 1962, DDT was essentially ineffective in the SE Asia, West Africa, Lower Europe areas. The heavy spraying of DDT conferred a resistance to the mosquitoes that is now in their genome. To ignore this fact is almost like beating your head on a wall to stop a headache.

You seem to be in a sort of a minority opinion here since nothing else I read reads that way. As I've read and understood it, mosquitos began AVOIDING DDT but having them avoid DDT and areas sprayed with it prevented malaria and other diseases every bit as effectively as having them die.

As to safety as I've noted, there were guys who fell into vats of the stuff in the 50s who are still walking around.
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Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 10:05 am
Falling into a vat of DDT is not exactly a demonstration of product chronic toxicity.

You seem to get most of your information from certain sources that coalesce about a single world view. If you wish, just put "DDT resistance- anapholes mosquitoes" into google and youl find lots of World Health Org info on the call for controlling adaptive resistance to DDT and pyrethroids as well as a number of other pesticides. We know so much about the biochemistry and molecular genetics that produce resistance in insects. We didnt know much of this ten or more years ago, so, Its not a simple"lets bomb the suckers with DDT" in most areas of the world itll only work for a short time until the resistant population becomes the majority population.
Your right, I am in a minority view when you only read HAEC or other worldview e-pubs. Youve gotta open yourself to other points of reference. The scientists at WHO arent trying to scam anyone. They handle their jobs with the same skill and dedication that you do. Theyre just a lot more trained in molecular biology than we on the chat line
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Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 08:20 pm
farmerman wrote:
You seem to get most of your information from certain sources that coalesce about a single world view.

Gunga's selected article does seem a bit extreme, but I did a bunch of Google's on the subject and found several reputable sources which seemed to agree that DDT is not the "nightmare" chemical which many people seem to think it is.

I didn't research it extensively, but several sites and articles are saying that DDT is far less dengerous than other insecticides, and that it's more effective than most, and that the raptor egg shell thinning problem we heard so much about in the 70's simply isn't true.

The articles I read also warned that DDT stays in the environment for a long time, and that it can build up in fat tissue (though nobody knows if that's bad or not). And they warn that insects are evolving resistance to it (just like other pesticides), so to use it judiciously (evolution in action... right Gunga Wink )
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Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 09:59 pm
rosborne979 wrote:
farmerman wrote:
You seem to get most of your information from certain sources that coalesce about a single world view.

Gunga's selected article does seem a bit extreme, but I did a bunch of Google's on the subject and found several reputable sources which seemed to agree that DDT is not the "nightmare" chemical which many people seem to think it is.

I didn't research it extensively, but several sites and articles are saying that DDT is far less dengerous than other insecticides, and that it's more effective than most, and that the raptor egg shell thinning problem we heard so much about in the 70's simply isn't true.

The articles I read also warned that DDT stays in the environment for a long time, and that it can build up in fat tissue (though nobody knows if that's bad or not). And they warn that insects are evolving resistance to it (just like other pesticides), so to use it judiciously (evolution in action... right Gunga Wink )

The idea is to use it to protect humans, and not crops. Pretty simple. The only thing which ever gave insects enough exposure to it to develop resistance was its use as an area pesticide for crops.
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Reply Sun 27 Feb, 2005 07:29 am

Rosborne, the arguments against eggshell thinning were started mostly by Dixie Lee Ray's "Trashing the Planet" Her work was arguably the sloppiest piece of reportage that any scientist was ever accused of doing. She was agenda driven and failed to bring out the pertinent facts that many of Gungas sources also do.
1The Christmas bird records showed that birds were increasing in the DDT years (this was spotty data mostly on blackbirds , etc

2 DDT wasnt associated with eggshell thinning. This is a carefully worded piece of crap thAT STATES THE SCIENCE WAS 30 YEARS OLD (DURING THE REAGAN YEARS) Careful research found that the DDT metabolite DDE was interfering with egg gland perfor.
..mance within birds that produce single or twin eggs (like pelicans, eagles, peregrines etc)
3The Hawk mountain count was a count of migrating , not local birds. While the migrating birds didnt have a body burden of 2-5000ppm needed for egg shell thinning at that time, the local populations were plummeting (I have personal knowledge from Maurice Brown , the late director of Hawk Mountain. When I was a kid we helped out in bird banding, watching , and Lincoln index calculating. Peregrines and bald eagles plummeted in NY and Pa (and other states as the fringes of the body burden were approached Maurice was a teacher whopostulated some of these pesticide interrelations and was in communication with Carson)

If you look carefully at many of the "no eggshellthinning occured- papers" youll see that ,many were supported via a group at UNL (I have no idea what U that is), and they were run by a dude named Green. These papaers get to be self progenating and are further quoted by others in an ipsidixit chain of BS. The HAEC and REASON lines are no longer tied to the UNL site and , if you go to Greens home page , ITS NO LONGER THERE.

DDE is the "active ingredient" in eggshell thinning . DDT is 2 benzene rings bonded by a carbon and attached are 2 chlorines and a molecule of trichloroethane. DDE and DDD just have a dichloroethane and a chlorethane , respectively. DDE is formed rapidly in soil by reductive dechlorination of DDT (Montgomery and Welcome, 1994 and Montgomery 1996 2nd ed).As the number of Cls decreases, the solubility increases to an active cell intake limit. (Thats why many of the"lets load these birdies with DDT and see what happens, studies didnt show anything unusual, the actual active metabolite was not there in a body burden level, so many times the animals just died of poisoning, or they survived)

I get a kick out of everyones flailing at Carsons "flawed Science" when Dixies work was just shot through with myth, bad work, and outright deceptions.

The eggshell thinning DID occur, and , although there is a lot of crap on the net that is agenda driven, there is also some science done by WHO, and EPA contractors (all done within last 10 years) that confirms the strong relationship of DDE to thinning eggs
Its also occured to the various agencies that, because of this "Rush Limbaugh" style science , that maybe we should re- look at the data and the studies. We now have ways to quantitate the body burden of DDE that trips the egg thinning in susceptible birds (yes there are some birds that are sort of immune because they lay a dozen eggs in a clutch, and the studies done on quail were found to be flawed because the very food was low in Calcium to begin with)
Thats all old news

HOWEVER, the very point of DDT's non reintroduction by most of the countries where malaria is endemic is that the stuff doesnt work anymore. That was my original point from Silent Spring.They even know , now, which gene is responsible for confierring thisDDT resistance(its an example of microevolution gunga).The POP committee, of WHO is looking at the complete ban of DDT by 2007, even though its being used in many parts of the world still. The degree of insect resistance has been pretty much confirmed by numerous genetic and moecular genetic studies. As Anderson says,"Weve moved on from DDT to other chemicals in the mid 80s" , so the people who wish to push the "conspiracy to kill " theory for DDT have had a field day at a coincidental time when the growth of the internet can make any person sound like an expert. Its often hard to know what to believe.
Im a general skeptic and I admit that I was a big believer that GM foods were, at worst, neutral in environmental effects. I admit that I was wrong and I renounce my old abuzz posts on the subject because of recent data findings. The same way with DDT/DDE. I follow the trail of research papers on the web by looking as far back at the "trail of pedigree" of the work. If it stops at a few people who are posted or quoted many times in different sites, I begin to doubt veracity.Also, if someone is quoted out of context(as many of these sites are fond of doing) I like to go back to the original sources. Also, is there is an evidence of peer reviewing , does affect my own decisions what to believe. Therefore, my understanding and strong trail of evidence leads me to the conclusion that
A. DDT breaks down to DDE, which is an agent responsible for past declines in raptors (and some robins in Lansing Mich)

B. DDT was showing strong evidence that malarial mosquitoes were becoming resistant to its use in many parts of the world by , at least, the late 50s and , by the time it was being pulled in the early 70s, it had almost no effects on Anapholes mosquitoes (and other insects) in the West Africa, SE Asia, Sunda, S Europe areas.
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Reply Sun 27 Feb, 2005 07:58 am

So, it sounds like your main argument against using DDT now, is that it's simply ineffective due to resistance.

Other than that, you seem to agree that it's not a particularly dangerous biological hazard.

Where do you stand on GM foods at this point?
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Reply Sun 27 Feb, 2005 08:29 am
rosborne. Yeh, that was my point all along. If we had to suffer the loss of bald eagles to kill off malaria, that would have been painful, but a necessary thing. I dont think that we have a worldwide conspiracy to protect eagles instead of saving human lives. The arguments are always more complex than these "Blogophies" want to make it. Conferred resistance has been a problem with almost all the pyrethrins(boutique versions ) organophosphates , and organo chlorines. Its like drug resistance .We see drug resistant TB in humans and cows that bears close watching or we will have another epidemic.
Although youre comment that there are no environmental hazards isnt quite whAT I said. There is strong evidence that DDT ?DDE was causing egg shells to thin in determinate birds. Andersons intervieww stated that best. Also, Carson did correctly state that Michigan robins were being wiped out by biomagnification from eating worms that ingested DDT. Gungas article incorrectly inferred that this was a worldwide loss of robins.
If DDT worked on malarial mosquiroes , I would sadly state that we should use it to control malARIA . However, weve lost that opportunity long ago. These pro-DDT articles are just a popular Science approach to stir up a pot that aint boiling. Might I say, just like evolution

My standings on GM foods have taken a turn toward the cynical in the last 2 years. I once posted on abuzz a series of lines about how I was for "Roundup ready" soybeans .Ive gone 180 on this . I think the thread was called "Frankenfoods".
Ill see if I cant gather a link or two on some of the problems were finding with latest research into GM foods. Some points Ive been reading are that GM plants have quickly crossed with weeds and are responsible for SUPERWEEDS that require , even stronger herbicides. If I used Roundup Ready soybeans (GM- prod ADM mafg), then, over as ahort as 3 years, wild strains of Roundup resistant quackgrasses, foxtails , spurge etc have developed. So, in order to wipe out the resistant weeds , we have to resort to Dicamba or 2,4D. Wheres the sense in that. We invent a perfectly safe herbicide like roundup or other glyphosates (they quickly decompose to a vinegar and organic salt that also hydrolyzes) , and then we come in and make the weeds Roundup tolerant. IZZAT stupid or what?
Cross pollination by associate alleles also confers deeper resistance than even the companies recognize. Weve got volunteer second growth **** crops that have returned from hybrid status to their original form yet they are herbicide resistant.
Also BT is spliced onto GM hybrids. This can kill off honeybees and pollinators, thus endangering collateral crops like apples and cherries

Last, but not least, There is a concern that, by induced genetic capturing, we may (this is only a maybe) be showing that certain diseases may become resistant to standard meds.
As you may know, we have a sheep farm. I was reading in the Sheepmans news about an occurance out west of a new strain of Lysteria (a soil pathogen) that seems to have glommed onto a genetic resistance that , when sheep get it, it increases the virulence of Lysteriosis (circling disease) . I dont know how true the article was , but Im keeping my eyes open for news that isnt just so damn "rosy" about how GM foods and crops are gonna be the big boon to farmers and consumers.

Always remember your Mandelbrot series and chaos theory. Nature will adapt and overcome.
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Reply Tue 1 Mar, 2005 05:21 am
Nobody these days is asking to use DDT on crops, and mosquitos do not become resistent to it when it's used to protect humans. Again the junkscience.com DDT FAQ notes:



Some mosquitoes became "resistant" to DDT. "There is persuasive evidence that antimalarial operations did not produce mosquito resistance to DDT. That crime, and in a very real sense it was a crime, can be laid to the intemperate and inappropriate use of DDT by farmers, espeially cotton growers. They used the insecticide at levels that would accelerate, if not actually induce, the selection of a resistant population of mosquitoes."

[Desowitz, RS. 1992. Malaria Capers, W.W. Norton & Company]


"Resistance" may be a misleading term when discussing DDT and mosquitoes. While some mosquitoes develop biochemical/physiological mechanisms of resistance to the chemical, DDT also can provoke strong avoidance behavior in some mosquitoes so they spend less time in areas where DDT has been applied -- this still reduces mosquito-human contact. "This avoidance behavior, exhibited when malaria vectors avoid insecticides by not entering or by rapidly exiting sprayed houses, should raise serious questions about the overall value of current physiological and biochemical resistance tests. The continued efficacy of DDT in Africa, India, Brazil, and Mexico, where 69% of all reported cases of malaria occur and where vectors are physiologically resistant to DDT (excluding Brazil), serves as one indicator that repellency is very important in preventing indoor transmission of malaria."

[See, e.g., J Am Mosq Control Assoc 1998 Dec;14(4):410-20; and Am J Trop Med Hyg 1994;50(6 Suppl):21-34]
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Reply Tue 1 Mar, 2005 11:22 am
you really rely upon that website to the total exclusion of science that disagrees.
I never said that DDT was used on crops didI? Why would it be?Most crop insecticides in the US were even worse (we used to use Lead Arsenate for worms and aphids)

DDT breaks down to DDE, which is more soluble and mobile> Ive posted some articles on DDT and resistance. Junk science.com is exactly that, they dont look for and review articles that post the genetic data and genomic mapping in whichDDT resistance had been conf irmed inarguably. Continue to "believe" what you will gunga, that doesnt change reality.
Remember, even Art Bell said on a UFO show last week with Peter Jennings
"We get some good calls and we get a bunch of nuts, many times we have to be able to tell the difference".Its kinda the same with science

POP (an international treaty) has been slowly tagging , for bans, lots of organochlorine and organophosphates by 2007. DDT is still not on the list worldwide because there are some pockets of places where the resistance hasnt been fully expressed yet. So they are allowing DDT to be used (presumably till the Anopholes become resistant to a significant degree).
By the way, your above literATURE quote number 2 doesnt at all deny that resistance has developed.In that article, I guess the point is that mosquitoes will keep away by the odor repellant effects of DDT. (Carson even stipulated that DDT and organochlorines, like CITRONELLA, do have a repellant effect.)
BUT, people do have to go out of doors once in a while , your article implies that its safe inside where DDT can act as a repellant by odor. Thats a pretty weak argument against resistance. In fact, Id think that its downright stupid for JunkScience to even quote this without any deeper thinking.
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