While that story has clocked up almost 4,000 hits, it seems we only just scratched the surface.
Locals are furious, not just at the fact that once pristine water supplies have been turned to toxic sludge, they are wild at the way wind power outfits and their pet consultants are lying about the cause.
The first story goes right to the heart of that piece of wind industry spin.
Debate Continues on Water Wells and Contamination
20 February 2018
Geological engineer Maurice Dusseault wasn’t surprised to hear that Chatham-Kent water…
Bring back DDT – Save Africa and other impoverished areas
Over 80% of infectious diseases are caused by insects and other arthropods. DDT is desperately needed in impoverished countries where insect borne diseases kill and sicken millions every year, cutting lifespans and productivity. Africa, India and South-Central Americas are most affected. This unpardonable crime amounts to continuing genocide of brown races by western powers.
Without these insect borne diseases, populations may increase at first, but better health will facilitate the building of infrastructure, agriculture and industry that can raise millions out of poverty, ignorance and hopelessness. These changes will benefit the environment, because healthy people raised above dire poverty will be able to care for their environment. Recent claims of mosquito resistance to DDT are grossly overblown and used as an excuse to prevent resumption for insect control. WHO has required proof of NO resistance for its use in an area, but that requires proving a negative, which is impossible. The aim is not to kill every mosquito, but to reduce or eliminate the transmission of malaria and other diseases between insect vectors and humans. Mosquitos emerge clean and must acquire malaria from infected people. That’s why it did not return to countries where it was eliminated. Break the cycle to end the misery.
“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.” — Out of My Life and Thought: An Autobiography, Dr. Albert Schweitzer (translated from Ma Vie et Ma Pensee)
DDT worked so well that malaria and similar diseases were eradicated in most developed countries and were near eradication in poorer countries before DDT was banned in 1972 by EPA in spite of failure to find any harm to humans or the environment by an overwhelming body of research.
“To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It has contributed to the great increase in agricultural productivity, while sparing countless humanity from a host of diseases, most notably, perhaps, scrub typhus and malaria. Indeed, it is estimated that, in little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable. Abandonment of this valuable insecticide should be undertaken only at such time and in such places as it is evident that the prospective gain to humanity exceeds the consequent losses. At this writing, all available substitutes for DDT are both more expensive per crop-year and decidedly more hazardous.”
Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, was filled with lies, half-truths, misinterpretation of research results and wild speculations. Rather than being an attempt to protect humans and the environment as stated, it was really part of an effort to stop population increases in Africa, India and other impoverished countries.
“My own doubts came when DDT was introduced for civilian use. In Guyana, within two years it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it has greatly added to the population problem.”
—Alexander King, cofounder of the Club of Rome, 1990
Population Bomb by Paul Erilich (1968) was a another book based on Malthusian, (overpopulation), eugenicist, racist lies, aka propaganda.
“The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate…” — Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb, 1968
Population control groups such as the Club of Rome, supported by charitable foundations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, continue to spread the myth of overpopulation. Many rural areas have too few healthy people to build roads, other infrastructure and industry.
In 1972 DDT was banned by US EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence presented at hearings that refuted claims of harm by activist groups such as Environmental Defense Fund and Audubon Society.
“DDT is not a carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic hazard to man. The uses under regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on fresh water fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife…and…there is a present need for essential uses of DDT.” — EPA Administrative Law Judge Edmund Sweeney, after months of hearings, “In the Matter of Stevens Industries, Inc., et al., L.F. & R. Docket Nos. 63, et al.). Hearing Examiner’s Recommended Findings, Conclusions, and Orders, April 1972.” (40 CFR 164.32). (Consolidated DDT Hearings) As summarized in Barrons, May 1, 1972
Note that this case was brought on behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund, an advocacy group that opposed any use of modern fertilizers and pesticides as harmful to the environment, regardless of evidence to the contrary.
Beginning in the 1970’s, US AID, UN WHO, UNESCO and the World Bank have pressured leaders of poor countries to discontinue DDT as a prerequisite to receiving essential aid. This continues to the present with exception of WHO recently allowing limited spraying of interior walls in selected areas.
Although DDT is the most studied pesticide on the planet, it is still listed as an environmental toxin and possible carcinogen because the EPA listing has not been changed, in spite of all of the studies that failed to find harmful effects on humans or the environment. It is much safer and more economical than any of the proposed replacements.
Verifying the Claims of Silent Spring
None of Rachel Carson’s “facts” about environmental and human harm were true. Most of the facts below, except where noted, are from “DDT: A Study in Scientific Fraud,” by J. Gordon Edwards, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004. (See link below)
Dr. Edwards examined each of Silent Spring’s claims and found them wrong and possibly fraudulent.
Not one person has been harmed or died from DDT.
The only death associated with DDT was a 3 yr. old child that drank a solution of DDT in kerosene, which is a hydrocarbon known to be toxic.
J. Gordon Edwards was a Ph.D. entomologist who sometimes ate a spoonful of DDT powder at his lectures as a demonstration of its safety. He suffered no significant ill effects and died of a heart attack at age 84 while hiking in the Rockies.
DDT is not carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic
“Workers in the Montrose Chemical Company had 1,300 man-years of exposure, and there was never any case of cancer during 19 years of continuous exposure to about 17mg/man/day.”
“Concerns were sometimes raised about possible carcinogenic effects of DDT, but instead its metabolites were often found to be anti-carcinogenic, significantly reducing tumors in rats.”
Expected rise in leukemia in children and breast cancer years later in girls exposed during puberty never happened.
Bird deaths, thin egg shells and buildup in the environment have proven to be false.
Bird deaths at the University of Michigan, cited by Carson, were not from DDT, but were probably from soil fungicide containing mercury. In later tests, mercury was found in the soil and earthworms there. Other areas did not experience bird deaths from spraying of DDT. Carson’s Source was: Bird Mortality in the Dutch elm disease program in Michigan, Bulletin 41, Cranebrook Institute of Science by George John Wallace; Walter P Nickell; Richard F Bernard
According to Audubon Society Annual Christmas Bird Counts, bird populations actually increased during the thirty years of DDT use. Numbers rose from 90 birds seen per observer in 1941 to 971 birds seen per observer in 1960.
The eggshell thinning studies cited by Carson could not be replicated and had actually reduced dietary calcium, needed to build egg shells, of experimental birds to get that result.
Museum specimens compared to wild population eggs may have led to false claims of thinning because the museums used the best specimens available; natural variability in the wild may have been interpreted as thinning. “the whole idea that pesticides are concentrated as one moves up the food chain, which is crucial to Carson’s arguments about distant and delayed effects, has become increasingly dubious in the years that followed” (Fleming, New Conservation Movement, 31). Source: Reading Rachel Carson by Charles T. Rubin
DDT is not metabolized by birds and is rapidly excreted in their droppings.
“The counts of raptorial birds migrating over Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, indicated that there were many more hawks there during the “DDT years” than previously. The numbers counted there increased from 9,291 in 1946 (before much DDT was used) to 13,616 in 1963 and 29,765 in 1968, after 15 years of heavy DDT use.”
Aquatic life has not been harmed by DDT; it is practically insoluble in water, with only 1.2 parts per billion at saturation.
A study cited by Carson claimed 500 ppb DDT in seawater inhibited photosynthesis and killed algae. The problem with this study is that alcohol was added to the tank to dissolve the DDT in the water. Alcohol alone would do that.
The assumption of persistence of DDT in seawater for decades was also challenged. Tests showed DDT and its metabolites disappeared in as few as 38 days.
See “DDT: A Study in Scientific Fraud,” by J. Gordon Edwards, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004. On the web at:
Many international organizations propagate drastic population control measures under the radar while publicly advocating and providing (some) aid to the poor and endorsing environmental concerns. This includes governmental and nongovernmental agencies such as UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities), The World Bank, USAID (United States Agency for International Development), the Club of Rome and its many spin-offs, Worldwide Fund for Nature, formerly called World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Green Peace, Population Council, International Planned Parenthood Federation, etc.
As a part of the Population Control Agenda and the overpopulation myth, in addition to enforced sterilization, abortion and birth control methods, other means of limiting both population and life span have been applied to impoverished countries and are often tied to reception or denial of aid or loans[i].
Of these, disease control and electrical power are the most important because they can facilitate many of the other items on the list, and kick-start the economy. A healthy workforce and power to run industry, business, medical facilities and develop transportation systems are key to economic development. Although many African countries need foreign aid and international loans now, the goal should be to help them raise their economy to the point where they are net contributors to the world economy or at least are self sufficient.
Throwing crumbs at the problem is not enough to accomplish this goal without actual investment in infrastructure. See detailed list below of essential necessities that international organizations have denied or failed to provide/ promote :
DDT and Disease Control: Banning DDT has caused a rebound of malaria, once almost eradicated in many areas, and many other insect borne diseases, resulting in an estimated million deaths each year from malaria alone. (Estimates vary, but the real number is unknown.) Many of the agencies named above, as well as many Western nations, withheld funds from foreign aid and loans for development unless underdeveloped countries abandoned DDT. Poorer nations had no choice but to “voluntarily” ban the use of DDT to control insect borne diseases, which account for 80% of infectious diseases in these countries. The economic loss in human productivity from malaria, TB and other diseases is incalculable.
Further research has disproved the claims of Rachael Carson’s book, Silent Spring, that DDT causes environmental harm to birds or aquatic life, cancers or other human harm. Predictions of an upsurge in cancer and extinction of birds failed to materialize. Not one human has ever been seriously harmed or died from its use or abuse, and robins to eagles flourished during and after its 30 year use in the United States. DDT is practically insoluble in water, so no aquatic toxicity is possible and soil bacteria destroy it in a few weeks or months, ending any persistence.
It is cheaper than other insecticides, and is safer and easier to make, handle and distribute. The claims that insects in poor countries developed immunity to it are false or grossly overblown. (Also, many African countries lacking transportation infrastructure never used DDT in the past so that development of resistance was impossible.) India never participated in the ban, manufactures its own DDT and uses it judiciously with occurrence of very little resistance. The UN standards for allowing use of DDT include unrealistic proof of NO resistance in the area. That’s proving a negative, which is impossible. The aim is not to exterminate every mosquito, but to reduce their numbers until there are no more human carriers.
In addition to DDT treatment on interior walls for mosquito control, insect and parasite control must also include replacing thatched roofs where mosquitos hide with metal or tile, sealing the interior of homes from insects with wire screens that allow cooling air in but exclude insects, as well as education, fly swatters and glue strips, clean water to prevent dysentery and waterborne parasites, shoes/ sandals to keep pinworms and other parasites from entering through the feet, closed toilets, preferably with septic systems, to reduce fly-borne diseases.
Malaria Facts: Malaria drugs can cure malaria if available, but symptoms only appear after 9 to 14 days or longer, by which time there may be liver or kidney damage. Once symptoms appear, malaria can kill in as little as one day or persist for weeks or relapse over a longer period of time. Reinfection is possible since the parasite imparts only partial immunity. Each bout of malaria destroys red blood cells equivalent to a pint of blood, resulting in chronic anemia and kidney damage from repeated bouts for much of the African population. Babies, children, pregnant women, the elderly and the infirm are especially vulnerable.
The malaria parasite requires both humans and mosquitos to complete its life cycle. Mosquitos are “born” clean and must pick up the parasite (Plasmodium sp.) from an infected person. It takes another 10 days for the parasite to change into the stage that is infectious to humans. No infected humans, no malaria even though the mosquito vector may still exist. That is why it did not recur in North American and European countries when DDT was banned after 30 years’ use. Human malaria does not infect animals and vice versa, with the rare exception of Plasmodium knowlesi, a primate species found in the Southeast Asia.
Power Plants: Over 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity. Based on CO2 reduction, Climate Change advocates and international agreements provide funding preferentially for renewable energy such as solar and wind power, which are unreliable, intermittent, environmentally harmful and require exotic elements, meanwhile discouraging or prohibiting development of power plants based on abundant fossil fuel, (coal, oil or natural gas), hydroelectric, geothermal or nuclear energy. Hydroelectric power is necessarily clean, renewable and sustainable, but is hated by environmentalists for assumed harm to ecosystems. Earlier successes in other countries over time have proven this assumption false except for temporary local effects. Nature adapts.
Solar and wind power are, by their nature, inconsistent, unreliable, intermittent. Solar only works during the day when the sky is clear or nearly clear. Wind only works on windy days, but only in a narrow range of velocities; too slow doesn’t generate power; too fast and both blades and generators are damaged. Wind power kills birds and bats that are important for insect control, and creates infrasound that is harmful to humans and animals. Both solar and wind power require backup generation by other means: fossil fuel, hydroelectric, etc. Solar and wind power are only useful as supplemental sources so they are at best temporary solutions. Single home solar panels are only a feel-good drop in the bucket for the estimated 600 million needy people in sub Saharan Africa. It would be impossible to supply enough of these to make much of a difference, and is at best a temporary solution until rural power systems can be provided. Arguments against other types of power plants usually involved cost of installing transmission lines. However, except for single home solar systems, all types of power have the same requirements, including solar and wind.
It is well documented that environmentalists have stopped or prevented over 200 hydroelectric dams in Africa, although it is the most sustainable, reliable, cleanest and safest energy source and uses conventional materials and technology. Hydroelectric power doesn’t require huge dam projects. Systems based on even small waterfalls, dams or run-of-the-river systems can supply local power much sooner and cheaper. African rivers have sufficient hydroelectric power generation capacity to supply all of the continent’s needs for the foreseeable future. Only a tiny fraction of it has been developed. One ray of hope is the large Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) being built on the upper Nile with a capacity of 6000 MW. For comparison, the Aswan High Dam in Egypt has 2100 MW capacity and Cohora Brassa in Mozambique has 2075 MW capacity. There are already a number of medium to small capacity systems in Africa including three plants at Victoria Falls. Many more are possible and needed. India was an early pioneer and has become a leader in hydroelectric power generation, exports power and provides engineering support for new systems to other countries.
Geothermal energy is available in seismically active areas in Africa, mostly in the Rift Valley. By sinking wells into thermal strata, steam or hot water can be used to run electricity generators. The technology is well established but development is just beginning in Africa. Other sources of electrical power generation include biomass and tidal generators. Biomass has major drawbacks, including pollution and loss of vegetation from biomass burning. Nuclear is among the cleanest power sources with no emissions, and only limited waste handling issues.
The way out of Energy Poverty should involve an all-of-the-above approach, including fossil fuels, geothermal, hydroelectric, nuclear, solar, tidal, biomass and wind. The need is too great in lost lives and productivity to wait. The need is urgent. Once Energy Poverty is eliminated and other systems are in place, then fossil and bio-fuel power plants could be phased out or reduced in favor of hydroelectric, geothermal and nuclear power.
Availability of reliable electricity and natural gas are important for economic development, industry and medical infrastructure as well as home cooking and refrigeration, which are needed to provide a safe, clean food supply and to reduce harmful indoor air pollution from bio-fueled cooking and heating fires. Electricity can solve a host of other problems including water purification, sanitation, roads, railroads, airstrips, access to markets and medical facilities.
Clean Water and Sanitation: Lives and health are impacted by holding as a low priority the development of village clean water wells or providing city slums with at least rudimentary piped-in purified water and sanitation systems. The environmentalist myth of dwindling global water supplies and limited resources is included in the justification of these policies, although village wells and reservoirs behind even modest hydroelectric dams could supply all their needs. Many African women spend hours each day carrying water from streams and lakes, which contains dangerous bacteria and parasites. The result of this is high infant and childhood mortality from intestinal parasites and diarrhea, the number one killer of young children in poor countries.
Sanitation is also needed but ignored, now consisting of open pit toilets, at best, or simply defecation and urination in fields and streams. Flies carry disease from these sources, including tuberculosis (TB), leprosy, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, polio, anthrax, salmonella, parasite eggs and numerous other diseases. As a start, clean water wells with manual pumps are needed in local villages as well as replacing open pit toilets with septic systems that enclose waste. With electricity, water pumping and purification as well as flush toilets and local sewage treatment plants are possible.
Transportation: The development of roads and railroads needed for economic development and access to healthcare facilities, employment opportunities and markets is discouraged or prohibited, as disruptive to wildlife habitats. Roads and railroads are erroneously assumed to break up habitats, isolate wildlife populations and disrupt seasonal migration patterns. All of these myths have been thoroughly refuted in areas where new roads and pipelines have not disrupted migration and sometimes resulted in more not less wildlife.
Modern Agriculture: Modern agricultural methods and high yield crops are discouraged or prevented in favor of less productive, more labor intensive subsistence, so-called sustainable, aka organic, farming, “for the good of the environment.” This has the opposite effect and causes soil depletion that naturally results in slash and burn deforestation as depleted fields must be abandoned for freshly cleared land. Modern agriculture is a more sustainable practice, requiring only rotation of crops on fewer acres than subsistence farming and greatly increased yields per acre. Higher yield per acre means fewer acres are needed to feed a population, saves forests and makes surplus produce available to sell or trade. Modern agriculture using fertilizers, pesticides and improved crop varieties are opposed by organic farming organizations and subsidizing governments in developed nations. The Green Revolution of improved varieties and practices, available for 50 years, has been applied successfully in some African nations, but only in areas with adequate roads for access to markets. Building the transportation infrastructure could facilitate introduction of modern agriculture in less developed areas.
GMO[ii] aka Biotech and Improved Crops: Banning or discouraging the use of more productive, more drought, insect and disease resistant and more nutritious conventional high yield and GMO crops for improved yields and better nutrition is a crime against humanity. For example, GMO Golden Rice, provides vitamin A that could end the cycle of blindness and death among the poor whose diets are dominated by rice. The European Union has a ban on all agricultural products, not just GMO, from countries that grow any GMO crops. This ban is largely based on protecting subsidized European farmers from competition by African, Asian and American produce.
Governments of many poor countries choose to ban GMO crops so they can sell their produce to the European Union, not because of any fears of GMO scare stories propagated by anti-GMO advocacy groups. These advocacy groups are backed by Western organic farming organizations to suppress their domestic and imported competition from high yield conventional and GMO crops, thus increasing their market share. GMO is a term used by these groups for biotech improved varieties to imply harmful when it really means improved food crops by inserting specific genes to enhance characteristics such as higher nutrition and crop yields, drought, disease and insect resistance and reduced need for pesticides.
Contrary to scare stories, most companies have given away rights to many of these crops to help poor people, who can choose to grow them or not. Contrary to propaganda of anti-GMO advocates, no one is forced to grow GMO or buy any agricultural chemical. Propaganda would have you believe the big bad Monsanto is holding the world hostage, but the truth is that there are at least 60 developers in a dozen countries involving at least one beneficial modification in each of 30 varieties of fruits, vegetables and fibers. Why would so many develop and promote products that harm their customers? That’s illogical and ridiculous!
Industry: Environmentalists and communists discourage development of industry, including manufacturing and natural resource extraction (oil, gas, coal, minerals), as exploiting the workers and harmful to the environment, rather than, in reality, providing employment while raising the standard of living and improving environmental stewardship. The result is high unemployment, unabated poverty and an inability to care for the environment. Control of diseases that now cause high absenteeism and low productivity is as important as reliable electricity for industry. (see DDT above) Foreign and domestic investment and development should be encouraged. Support from industry could further economic and infrastructure development.
Medicine: The UN and environmental organizations have failed to make local medical facilities and medicines available to rural areas. This is tied to failure to provide adequate roads and railroads as well as natural gas and electrical power needed for these facilities and their availability to the rural poor. This is also linked to the population control agenda. In many areas, healing medicines and facilities are lacking essential medicines and devices, while birth control and sterilization facilities are well stocked.
Education: Failure to build schools or to provide instruction in hygiene, nutrition and childcare, and to train the people for skilled and semi-skilled labor, modern agriculture and small business administration. There is also a great need for higher learning facilities to provide medical, technical and leadership personnel.
HIV/AIDS: Diagnosis in rural areas based on symptoms without confirmation of the virus is an excuse for not treating longstanding endemic illnesses and malnutrition. Most of those “diagnosed” with AIDS in poor countries have not been tested for the actual HIV virus. They have been assumed to have HIV/AIDS through disparate symptoms such as fever, headache, rash, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, chronic diarrhea and/or cough, all of which can be caused by malnutrition and many common parasites or infectious diseases as well as severe illnesses such as malaria or tuberculosis (TB). The United Nations has named TB as a leading indicator of AIDS. By the UN diagnosing AIDS from symptoms without lab tests, many TB and malaria victims were left untreated, resulting in higher death rates, (falsely attributed to HIV/AIDS).
While TB and other chronic illnesses often weaken the immune systems and cause acquired immune deficiency, i.e. AIDS, it has nothing to do with HIV or sexual behavior. This deception has a triple whammy for the UN. It excuses high death rates and failure to treat endemic diseases, it incentivizes HIV/AIDS research funding in developed countries by falsely declaring it a pandemic, and it has the potential for vindicating population control programs in the minds of potential donors by creating a false picture of rampant immorality and promiscuity. Even with HIV/AIDS diagnosis, treatment should concentrate on treating the presenting malnutrition and endemic diseases first, e.g. malaria, TB, etc., instead of starting with AIDS chemotherapy, which further depresses the immune system, or no treatment at all.
It should also be noted that those actually tested for HIV/AIDS in urban settings may be misdiagnosed due to low specificity of the test, failure to properly retest and several factors such as pregnancy or other diseases that cause false positives. Manufacturers of the tests require retesting by more than one type of detection protocol for confirmation. The unusually high incidence in South Africa, (60% female at a rate of 15-25% compared to less than 2% in other countries,) may be due to administration at gynecological clinics and failure to retest by a more than one method. Any retests are only done by the same protocol as the original diagnosis. Here again, treatment of the endemic diseases first is crucial. HIV/AIDS doesn’t kill people; it cripples the immune system and reduces resistance to other diseases. Note: retesting after HIV/AIDS treatment is started may result in false negatives.
Cultural Preservation (Stagnation): Environmentalists promote preservation of primitive cultures in toto as of higher importance than developing higher standards of living while preserving cultural heritages. There is no harm to the cultural heritage by replacing thatched roofs with metal roofs and adding doors and screens to keep out insects and small animals, as well as other “modern” improvements such as electric lights, refrigerators and stoves; a clean water well and proper toilets; a road passable by vehicles to get to markets and clinics, etc.
Political Unrest: Failure to address political corruption, violence and terrorism creates a climate that tends to keep out aid workers from charitable organizations. It also puts roadblocks in the way of developing the economy, industry, education, healthcare, electrical power and transportation infrastructure. Violence in any form must be controlled for development to advance. Pressure by international organizations should be applied to address corrupt governments, lawlessness and violence.
Anticolonial propaganda was and is spread by socialists and communists as a way to control the people and make them suspicious of development efforts by Western charities. Muslim groups have also propagated these scare stories. In the 1960s the Soviet Union stirred up anti-colonialism among African nations leading to demands for independence from colonial powers without adequate preparation for proper self-governance. This was #43 of the 45 Communist Goals revealed by Dr. Cleon Skousen in his 1958 book The Naked Communist and read into the Congressional Record in 1963, “#43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.” 35 African nations became independent in the 1960s, half a dozen in the late 1950s and a similar number in the 1970s. Of course, part of the blame falls on the colonial powers that failed to prepare the people for self government or to develop sufficient infrastructure needed for economic development. Rather than a fast overthrow without preparation, a more gradual training and handing over of the government would have prepared them better for self-government.
In Summary: As can be readily seen, these priorities are upside down, many having the opposite effect of their stated goals. Keeping people on bare subsistence almost guarantees high birth rates to help farm and in anticipation of high infant and childhood mortality, while causing maximum harm to the environment.
To develop a robust economy, a healthy workforce and infrastructure to facilitate economic development are needed. By far, disease control and electrical power are most needed and can drive development. DDT and electricity could jump-start this development followed by transportation, clean water, sanitation, and medical facilities. Control of insect borne diseases would eliminate high rates of employee absenteeism, encourage both domestic and foreign investment in manufacturing and other industries, and provide much needed jobs and money to raise families out of poverty.
Private corporations in Western countries need to take a fresh look at Africa for investment in foreign production in lieu of communist China. Investment in infrastructure could produce significant benefits while raising the standard of living of millions and developing new markets and protecting the environment. Such successes could have a domino effect. Small starts can become large movements.
Get involved. You can do your part as individuals by donating to worthy charities, not UN and Red Cross/Crescent, which squander donations and work through corrupt governments. World Vision http://www.wvi.org/about-world-vision and Samaritan’s Purse https://www.samaritanspurse.org/ ) lead my list of worthy charities for helping needy people directly. Both feature designated donations and have Christmas catalogues that allow donors to buy shares of projects such as clean water wells, medicines, schools, cattle and small animals, agriculture and small business training and support, etc.
[ii] GMO or “Genetically Modified Organisms” is a term invented by the Organic Farming Industry to scare people into avoiding such improved foods. “Non-GMO” is an ignorant term that is used for advertising purposes and to placate Big Organic’s smear campaigns. There is absolutely no benefit to it. The better terms are Precision Agriculture or Biotech Crops. So-called GMO involves a process where a specific plant gene is inserted into a plant to give it beneficial characteristics. Earlier plant breeding processes used a shotgun approach where whole genomes are involved in cross breeding or radiation treatment, and hoping that more beneficial than harmful genes will show up in some off-spring.
“…terrible toll in human lives (tens of millions dead — mostly pregnant women and children under the age of 5), illness (billions sickened) and poverty (more than $1 trillion dollars in lost GDP in sub-Saharan Africa alone) caused by the tragic, decades-long ban.”
Day of Reckoning for DDT Foes? Reblog from Junkscience.com 2006
Last week’s announcement that the World Health Organization lifted its nearly 30-year ban on the insecticide DDT is perhaps the most promising development in global public health since… well, 1943 when DDT was first used to combat insect-borne diseases like typhus and malaria.
Overlooked in all the hoopla over the announcement, however, is the terrible toll in human lives (tens of millions dead — mostly pregnant women and children under the age of 5), illness (billions sickened) and poverty (more than $1 trillion dollars in lost GDP in sub-Saharan Africa alone) caused by the tragic, decades-long ban.
Much of this human catastrophe was preventable, so why did it happen? Who is responsible? Should the individuals and activist groups who caused the DDT ban be held accountable in some way?
Rachel Carson kicked-off DDT hysteria with her pseudo-scientific 1962 book, “Silent Spring.” Carson materially misrepresented DDT science in order to advance her anti-pesticide agenda. Today she is hailed as having launched the global environmental movement. A Pennsylvania state office building, Maryland elementary school, Pittsburgh bridge and a Maryland state park are named for her. The Smithsonian Institution commemorates her work against DDT. She was even honored with a 1981 U.S. postage stamp. Next year will be the 100th anniversary of her birth. Many celebrations are being planned.
It’s quite a tribute for someone who was so dead wrong. At the very least, her name should be removed from public property and there should be no government-sponsored honors of Carson.
The Audubon Society was a leader in the attack on DDT, including falsely accusing DDT defenders (who subsequently won a libel suit) of lying. Not wanting to jeopardize its non-profit tax status, the Audubon Society formed the Environmental Defense Fund (now simply known as Environmental Defense) in 1967 to spearhead its anti-DDT efforts. Today the National Audubon Society takes in more than $100 million per year and has assets worth more than $200 million. Environmental Defense takes in more than $65 million per year with a net worth exceeding $73 million.
In a February 25, 1971, media release, the president of the Sierra Club stated that his organization wanted “a ban, not just a curb” on DDT, “even in the tropical countries where DDT has kept malaria under control.” Today the Sierra Club rakes in more than $90 million per year and has more than $50 million in assets.
Business are often held liable and forced to pay monetary damages for defective products and false statements. Why shouldn’t the National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense, Sierra Club and other anti-DDT activist groups be held liable for the harm caused by their recklessly defective activism?
It was, of course, then-Environmental Protection Agency administrator William Ruckelshaus who actually banned DDT after ignoring an EPA administrative law judge’s ruling that there was no evidence indicating that DDT posed any sort of threat to human health or the environment. Ruckleshaus never attended any of the agency’s hearings on DDT. He didn’t read the hearing transcripts and refused to explain his decision.
None of this is surprising given that, in a May 22, 1971, speech before the Wisconsin Audubon Society, Ruckleshaus said that EPA procedures had been streamlined so that DDT could be banned. Ruckleshaus was also a member of — and wrote fundraising letters for — the EDF.
My note: This speech was before the seven months long EPA hearings before Judge Sweeney began in fall of 1971, so even though the hearings concluded DDT was not harmful to man or environment, Ruckelshaus already had his mind made up.
The DDT ban solidified Ruckelshaus’ environmental credentials, which he has surfed to great success in business, including stints as CEO of Browning Ferris Industries and as a director of a number of other companies including Cummins Engine, Nordstrom, and Weyerhaeuser Company. Ruckelshaus currently is a principal in a Seattle, Wash., -based investment group called Madrona Venture Group.
Corporate wrongdoers — like WorldCom’s Bernie Ebbers and Tyco’s Dennis Kozlowski — were sentenced to prison for crimes against mere property. But what should the punishment be for government wrongdoers like Ruckleshaus who, apparently for the sake of his personal environmental interests, abused his power and affirmatively deprived billions of poor, helpless people of the only practical weapon against malaria?
Finally, there is the question of the World Health Organization itself. What’s the WHO been doing for all these years? There are no new facts on DDT — all the relevant science about DDT safety has been available since the 1960s. Moreover, the WHO’s strategy of mosquito bednets and malaria vaccine development has been a dismal failure. While the death toll in malarial regions has mounted, the WHO has been distracted by such dubious issues as whether cell phones and French fries cause cancer.
It’s a relief that the WHO has finally come to its senses, but on the other hand, the organization has done too little, too late. The ranks of the WHO’s leadership need to be purged of those who place the agenda of environmental elitists over the basic survival of the world’s needy.
In addition to the day of reckoning and societal rebuke that DDT-ban advocates should face, we should all learn from the DDT tragedy.
With the exception of Rachel Carson (who died in 1964), all of the groups and individuals above mentioned also promote global warming alarmism. If they and others could be so wrong about DDT, why should we trust them now? Should we really put the global economy and the welfare of billions at risk based on their track record?
Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and CSRWatch.com. He is a junk science expert, an advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
In case you still think DDT is evil, read this repost from Junkscience.com in 1999.
Bring back DDT to save Africa, India, etc. from Malaria, etc. Resistance claims are overblown. Repellancy is under emphasized. Health and Environmental dangers are demagogued, and long ago were proven untrue as reported below.
Also see my previous post “Bring back DDT – Save Africa and other impoverished areas.” containing more facts from a 2004 J. Gordon Edwards review article.
1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. Discovered by accident, DDT became one of the greatest public health tools of the 20th century. Overuse harmed its efficacy — and made it politically unpopular.
Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) was first synthesized, for no purpose, in 1874 by German chemist Othmar Zeidler. In 1939, Dr. Paul Müller independently produced DDT. Müller found that DDT quickly killed flies, aphids, mosquitoes, walking sticks and Colorado potato beetles. Müller and the Geigy corporation patented DDT in Switzerland (1940), England (1942) and U.S. (1943).
The first large-scale use of DDT occurred in 1943 when 500 gallons of DDT were produced by Merck & Company and delivered to Italy to help squelch a rapidly spreading epidemic of louse-borne typhus. Later in 1943, the U.S. Army issued small tin boxes of 10 percent DDT dust to its soldiers around the world who used it to kill body lice, head lice and crab lice.
Müller won the Nobel Prize in 1948 for his work on DDT.
Peak usage occurred in 1962, when 80 million kilograms of DDT were used and 82 million kilograms produced.
“In May 1955 the Eighth World Health Assembly adopted a Global Malaria Eradication Campaign based on the widespread use of DDT against mosquitos and of antimalarial drugs to treat malaria and to eliminate the parasite in humans. As a result of the Campaign, malaria was eradicated by 1967 from all developed countries where the disease was endemic and large areas of tropical Asia and Latin America were freed from the risk of infection. The Malaria Eradication Campaign was only launched in three countries of tropical Africa since it was not considered feasible in the others. Despite these achievements, improvements in the malaria situation could not be maintained indefinitely by time-limited, highly prescriptive and centralized programmes.” [Bull World Health Organ 1998;76(1):11-6]
“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.” [National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Research in the Life Sciences of the Committee on Science and Public Policy. 1970. The Life Sciences; Recent Progress and Application to Human Affairs; The World of Biological Research; Requirements for the Future.]
It is believed that [malaria] afflicts between 300 and 500 million every year, causing up to 2.7 million deaths, mainly among children under five years. [Africa News, January 27, 1999]
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].
ADVOCACY AGAINST DDT. DDT was demagogued out of use.
10.Rachel Carson sounded the initial alarm against DDT, but represented the science of DDT erroneously in her 1962 book Silent Spring. Carson wrote “Dr. DeWitt’s now classic experiments [on quail and pheasants] have now established the fact that exposure to DDT, even when doing no observable harm to the birds, may seriously affect reproduction. Quail into whose diet DDT was introduced throughout the breeding season survived and even produced normal numbers of fertile eggs. But few of the eggs hatched.” DeWitt’s 1956 article (in Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry) actually yielded a very different conclusion. Quail were fed 200 parts per million of DDT in all of their food throughout the breeding season. DeWitt reports that 80% of their eggs hatched, compared with the “control”” birds which hatched 83.9% of their eggs. Carson also omitted mention of DeWitt’s report that “control” pheasants hatched only 57 percent of their eggs, while those that were fed high levels of DDT in all of their food for an entire year hatched more than 80% of their eggs.
Population control advocates blamed DDT for increasing third world population. In the 1960s, World Health Organization authorities believed there was no alternative to the overpopulation problem but to assure than up to 40 percent of the children in poor nations would die of malaria. As an official of the Agency for International Development stated, “Rather dead than alive and riotously reproducing.” [Desowitz, RS. 1992. Malaria Capers, W.W. Norton & Company]
The environmental movement used DDT as a means to increase their power. Charles Wurster, chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, commented, “If the environmentalists win on DDT, they will achieve a level of authority they have never had before.. In a sense, much more is at stake than DDT.”[Seattle Times, October 5, 1969]
Science journals were biased against DDT. Philip Abelson, editor of Science informed Dr. Thomas Jukes that Science would never publish any article on DDT that was not antagonistic.
William Ruckelshaus, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who made the ultimate decision to ban DDT in 1972, was a member of the Environmental Defense Fund. Ruckelshaus solicited donations for EDF on his personal stationery that read “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.”
But as an assistant attorney general, William Ruckelshaus stated on August 31, 1970 in a U.S. Court of Appeals that “DDT has an amazing an exemplary record of safe use, does not cause a toxic response in man or other animals, and is not harmful. Carcinogenic claims regarding DDT are unproven speculation.” But in a May 2, 1971 address to the Audubon Society, Ruckelshaus stated, “As a member of the Society, myself, I was highly suspicious of this compound, to put it mildly. But I was compelled by the facts to temper my emotions … because the best scientific evidence available did not warrant such a precipitate action. However, we in the EPA have streamlined our administrative procedures so we can now suspend registration of DDT and the other persistent pesticides at any time during the period of review.” Ruckelshaus later explained his ambivalence by stating that as assistant attorney general he was an advocate for the government, but as head of the EPA he was “a maker of policy.” [Barron’s, 10 November 1975]
Environmental activists planned to defame scientists who defended DDT. In an uncontradicted deposition in a federal lawsuit, Victor Yannacone, a founder of the Environmental Defense Fund, testified that he attended a meeting in which Roland Clement of the Audubon Society and officials of the Environmental Defense Fund decided that University of California-Berkeley professor and DDT-supporter Thomas H. Jukes was to be muzzled by attacking his credibility. [21st Century, Spring 1992]
III. EPA HEARINGS. DDT was banned by an EPA administrator who ignored the decision of his own administrative law judge.
Extensive hearings on DDT before an EPA administrative law judge occurred during 1971-1972. The EPA hearing examiner, Judge Edmund Sweeney, concluded that “DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man… DDT is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man… The use of DDT under the regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife.” [Sweeney, EM. 1972. EPA Hearing Examiner’s recommendations and findings concerning DDT hearings, April 25, 1972 (40 CFR 164.32, 113 pages). Summarized in Barrons (May 1, 1972) and Oregonian (April 26, 1972)]
Overruling the EPA hearing examiner, EPA administrator Ruckelshaus banned DDT in 1972. Ruckelshaus never attended a single hour of the seven months of EPA hearings on DDT. Ruckelshaus’ aides reported he did not even read the transcript of the EPA hearings on DDT. [Santa Ana Register, April 25, 1972]
After reversing the EPA hearing examiner’s decision, Ruckelshaus refused to release materials upon which his ban was based. Ruckelshaus rebuffed USDA efforts to obtain those materials through the Freedom of Information Act, claiming that they were just “internal memos.” Scientists were therefore prevented from refuting the false allegations in the Ruckelshaus’ “Opinion and Order on DDT.”
HUMAN EXPOSURE. Actual human exposures have always been far lower than the “acceptable” level.
Human ingestion of DDT was estimated to average about 0.0026 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day (mg/kg/day) about 0.18 milligrams per day. [Hayes, W. 1956. J Amer Medical Assn, Oct. 1956]
In 1967, the daily average intake of DDT by 20 men with high occupational exposure was estimated to be 17.5 to 18 mg/man per day, as compared with an average of 0.04 mg/man per day for the general population. [IARC V.5, 1974].
Dr. Alice Ottoboni, toxicologist for the state of California, estimated that the average American ingests between 0.0006 mg/kg/day and 0.0001 mg/kg/day of DDT. [Ottoboni, A. et al. California’s Health, August 1969 & May 1972]
“In the United States, the average amount of DDT and DDE eaten daily in food in 1981 was 2.24 micrograms per day (ug/day) (0.000032 mg/kg/day), with root and leafy vegetables containing the highest amount. Meat, fish, and poultry also contain very low levels of these compounds.” [Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 1989.Public Health Statement: DDT, DDE, and DDD]
The World Health Organization set an acceptable daily intake of DDT for humans at 0.01 mg/kg/day.
“Air samples in the United States have shown levels of DDT ranging from 0.00001 to 1.56 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3), depending on the location and year of sampling. Most reported samples were collected in the mid 1970s, and present levels are expected to be much lower. DDT and DDE have been reported in surface waters at levels of 0.001 micrograms per liter (ug/L), while DDD generally is not found in surface water. National soil testing programs in the early 1970s have reported levels in soil ranging from 0.18 to 5.86 parts per million (ppm).” [Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 1989.Public Health Statement: DDT, DDE, and DDD]
CANCER. DDT was alleged to be a liver carcinogen in Silent Spring and a breast carcinogen in Our Stolen Future.
Feeding primates more than 33,000 times the average daily human exposure to DDT (as estimated in 1969 and 1972) was “inconclusive with respect to a carcinogenic effect of DDT in nonhuman primates.” [J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 1999;125(3-4):219-25]
A nested case-control study was conducted to examine the association between serum concentrations of DDE and PCBs and the development of breast cancer up to 20 years later. Cases (n = 346) and controls (n = 346) were selected from cohorts of women who donated blood in 1974, 1989, or both, and were matched on age, race, menopausal status, and month and year of blood donation. “Even after 20 years of follow-up, exposure to relatively high concentrations of DDE or PCBs showed no evidence of contributing to an increased risk of breast cancer.” [Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1999 Jun;8(6):525-32]
To prospectively evaluate relationships of organochlorine pesticides and PCBs with breast cancer, a case-control study nested in a cohort using the Columbia, Missouri Breast Cancer Serum Bank. Women donated blood in 1977- 87, and during up to 9.5 years follow-up, 105 donors who met the inclusion criteria for the current study were diagnosed with breast cancer. For each case, two controls matched on age and date of blood collection were selected. Five DDT analogs, 13 other organochlorine pesticides, and 27 PCBs were measured in serum. Results of this study do not support a role for organochlorine pesticides and PCBs in breast cancer etiology. [Cancer Causes Control 1999 Feb;10(1):1-11]
A pooled analysis examined whether exposure to DDT was associated with the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among male farmers. Data from three case-control studies from four midwestern states in the United States (Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas) were pooled to carry out analyses of 993 cases and 2918 controls. No strong consistent evidence was found for an association between exposure to DDT and risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. [Occup Environ Med 1998 Aug;55(8):522-7]
“We measured plasma levels of DDE and PCBs prospectively among 240 women who gave a blood sample in 1989 or 1990 and who were subsequently given a diagnosis of breast cancer before June 1, 1992. We compared these levels with those measured in matched control women in whom breast cancer did not develop. Data on DDE were available for 236 pairs, and data on PCBs were available for 230 pairs. Our data do not support the hypothesis that exposure to [DDT] and PCBs increases the risk of breast cancer.” [N Engl J Med 1997;337:1253-8]
“… weakly estrogenic organochlorine compounds such as PCBs, DDT, and DDE are not a cause of breast cancer.” [http://www.nejm.org/content/1997/0337/0018/1303.asp]
To examine any possible links between exposure to DDE, the persistent metabolite of the pesticide dicophane (DDT), and breast cancer, 265 postmenopausal women with breast cancer and 341 controls matched for age and center were studied. Women with breast cancer had adipose DDE concentrations 9.2% lower than control women. No increased risk of breast cancer was found at higher concentrations. The odds ratio of breast cancer, adjusted for age and center, for the highest versus the lowest fourth of DDE distribution was 0.73 (95% confidence interval 0.44 to 1.21) and decreased to 0.48 (0.25 to 0.95; P for trend = 0.02) after adjustment for body mass index, age at first birth, and current alcohol drinking. Adjustment for other risk factors did not materially affect these estimates. This study does not support the hypothesis that DDE increases risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women in Europe. [BMJ 1997 Jul 12;315(7100):81-5]
No correlation at the population level can be demonstrated between exposures to DDT and the incidence of cancer at any site. It is concluded that DDT has had no significant impact on human cancer patterns and is unlikely to be an important carcinogen for man at previous exposure levels, within the statistical limitations of the data. [IARC Sci Publ 1985;(65):107-17]
Syrian golden hamsters were fed for their lifespan a diet containing 0, 125, 250 and 500 parts per million (ppm) of DDT. The incidence of tumor bearing animals was 13% among control females and ranged between 11-20% in treated females. In control males 8% had tumors. The incidence of tumor bearing animals among treated males ranged between 17-28%. [Tumori 1982 Feb 28;68(1):5-10]
None of 35 workers heavily exposed to DDT (600 times the average U.S. exposure for 9 to 19 years) developed cancer. [Laws, ER. 1967. Arch Env Health 15:766-775]
Men who voluntarily ingested 35 mgs of DDT daily for nearly two years were carefully examined for years and “developed no adverse effects.” [Hayes, W. 1956. JAMA 162:890-897]
DDT was found to reduce tumors in animals. [Laws, ER. 1971. Arch. Env Health, 23:181-184; McLean, AEM & EK McLean. 1967. Proc Nutr Soc 26;Okey, AB. 1972. Life Sciences 11:833-843;Sillinskas, KC & AB Okey. 1975. J Natl Cancer Inst 55:653- 657, 1975]
EGG-SHELL THINNING. DDT was alleged to have thinned bird egg shells.
Many experiments on caged-birds demonstrate that DDT and its metabolites (DDD and DDE) do not cause serious egg shell thinning, even at levels many hundreds of times greater than wild birds would ever accumulate. [Cecil, HC et al. 1971. Poultry Science 50: 656-659 (No effects of DDT or DDE, if adequate calcium is in diet); Chang, ES & ELR Stokstad. 1975. Poultry Science 54: 3-10 1975. (No effects of DDT on shells); Edwards, JG. 1971. Chem Eng News p. 6 & 59 (August 16, 1971) (Summary of egg shell- thinning and refutations presented revealing all data); Hazeltine, WE. 1974. Statement and affidavit, EPA Hearings on Tussock Moth Control, Portland Oregon, p. 9 (January 14, 1974); Jeffries, DJ. 1969. J Wildlife Management 32: 441-456 (Shells 7 percent thicker after two years on DDT diet); Robson, WA et al. 1976. Poultry Science 55:2222- 2227; Scott, ML et al. 1975. Poultry Science 54: 350-368 (Egg production, hatchability and shell quality depend on calcium, and are not effected by DDT and its metabolites); Spears, G & P. Waibel. 1972. Minn. Science 28(3):4-5; Tucker, RK & HA Haegele. 1970. Bull Environ Contam. Toxicol 5:191-194 (Neither egg weight nor shell thickness affected by 300 parts per million DDT in daily diet);Edwards, JG. 1973. Statement and affidavit, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, 24 pages, October 24, 1973; Poult Sci 1979 Nov;58(6):1432-49 (“There was no correlation between concentrations of pesticides and egg shell thinning.”)]
Experiments associating DDT with egg shell thinning involve doses much higher than would ever be encountered in the wild. [J Toxicol Environ Health 1977 Nov;3(4):699-704 (50 ppm for 6 months); Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 1978;7(3):359-67 (“acute” doses); Acta Pharmacol Toxicol (Copenh) 1982 Feb;50(2):121-9 (40 mg/kg/day for 45 days); Fed Proc 1977 May;36(6):1888-93 (“In well-controlled experiments using white leghorn chickens and Japanese quail, dietary PCBs, DDT and related compounds produced no detrimental effects on eggshell quality. … no detrimental effects on eggshell quality, egg production or hatchability were found with … DDT up to 100 ppm)]
Laboratory egg shell thinning required massive doses of DDE far in excess of anything expected in nature, and massive laboratory doses produce much less thinning than is seen in many of the thin-shelled eggs collected in the wild. [Hazeltine, WE. 1974. Statement and affidavit, EPA Hearings on Tussock Moth Control, Portland Oregon, p. 9 (January 14, 1974)]
Years of carefully controlled feeding experiments involving levels of DDT as high as present in most wild birds resulted in no tremors, mortality, thinning of egg shells nor reproductive interference. [Scott, ML et al. 1975. Poultry Science 54: 350-368 (Egg production, hatch ability and shell quality depend on calcium, and are not effected by DDT and its metabolites)]
Egg shell thinning is not correlated with pesticide residues. [Krantz WC. 1970 (No correlation between shell-thinning and pesticide residues in eggs) Pesticide Monitoring J 4(3): 136-141; Postupalsky, S. 1971. Canadian Wildlife Service manuscript, April 8, 1971 (No correlation between shell-thinning and DDE in eggs of bald eagles and cormorants); Anon. 1970. Oregon State University Health Sciences Conference, Annual report, p. 94. (Lowest DDT residues associated with thinnest shells in Cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk and goshawk); Claus G and K Bolander. 1977. Ecological Sanity, David McKay Co., N.Y., p. 461. (Feeding thyreprotein causes hens to lay lighter eggs, with heavier, thicker shells)]<
Among brown pelican egg shells examined there was no correlation between DDT residue and shell thickness. [Switzer, B. 1972. Consolidated EPA hearings, Transcript pp. 8212-8336; and Hazeltine, WE. 1972. Why pelican eggshells are thin. Nature 239: 410-412]
Egg shells of red-tailed hawks were reported to be six percent thicker during years of heavy DDT usage than just before DDT use began. Golden eagle egg shells were 5 percent thicker than those produced before DDT use. [Hickey, JJ and DW Anderson. 1968. Science 162: 271-273]
To the extent egg shell thinning occurred, many other substances and conditions could have been responsible.
Oil has been associated with egg shell thinning. [Anon. National Wildlife Federation, Conservation News, pp. 6-10, October 15 1979. (Embryonic mortality from oil on feathers of adults birds) ; Hartung, R. 1965. J Wildlife Management 29:872-874 (Oil on eggs reduces hatch ability by 68 percent); Libby, EE. 1978. Fish, wildlife and oil. Ecolibrium 2(4):7-10; King, KA et al. 1979 Bull Environ Contam Tox 23:800-805 (Oil a probably cause of pelican mortality for six weeks after spill);Albers, PH. 1977. Fate and Effects of Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Marine Ecosystems, Pergamon Press, N.Y. (Chapters 15 & 16; Dieter, MP. 1977. Interagency Energy-Environment Research and Development Program Report, pp. 35-42 (5 microliters of oil on fertile egg kills 76 to 98 percent of embryos within; birds ingesting oil produce 70 percent to 100 percent less eggs than normal; offspring failed to develop normal flight feathers); Szaro, RC. 1977. Proc 42nd N Amer Wildlife Nat Resources Conference, pp. 375-376]
Lead has been associated with egg shell thinning. [Bellrose, RC. 1959. Ill Nat Hist Survey Bull 27:235-288 (Lead poisoning in wildlife)]
Mercury has been associated with egg shell thinning. [D’Itri, FM & PB Trost. 1970. International Conference on Mercury Contamination, Ann Arbor, September 30, 1070; Scott, JL et al. 1975. Effects of PCBs, DDT and mercury upon egg production, hatch ability and shell quality. Poultry Sci 54:3350-368; Stoewssand, GS et al.. 1971. Shell- thinning in quail fed mercuric chloride. Science 173:1030-1031; Tucker, RK. 1971. Utah Science June 1971:47-49 (Effects of many chemicals on shell thickness).; Tucker, RK & HA Haegle. 1970. Bull Environ Contamin Toxicol 5:191-194]
Stress from noise, fear or excitement and disease are associated with egg shell thinning. [Scott, HM et al.. 1944. (Physiological stress thins shells) Poultry Science 23:446-453; Draper, MH & PE Lake. 1967. Effects of stress and defensive responses. In Environmental Control in Poultry Production, Oliver and Boyd, London; Reid, BL. 1971. (Effects of stress on laying birds) Farm Technology, Fall 1971; Sykes, AH. 1955 (Adrenaline excess inhibits shell formation) Poultry Science 34: 622-628]
Older birds produce thinner shells. [Sunde, ML. 1971 (Older birds produce thinner shells) Farm Technology, Fall 1971]
Normal egg shells become 5 percent thinner as developing embryos withdraw calcium for bone development. [Romanoff, AL and AJ Romanoff. 1967. Biochemistry of the Avian Embryo, Wiley & Sons, N.Y.; Simkiss, K. 1967. (Shells thinned by embryo development within) In Calcium in Reproductive Physiology, Reinhold, NY, pp 198-213]
Larger birds tend to produce thicker-shelled eggs. [Asmundson, VS et al. 1943. (Relations between the parts of birds’ eggs) Auk 60:34-44]
Dehydration is associated with thinner egg shells. [Tucker, RK and HA Haegle. 1970. (30 percent thinner shells formed after quail were kept from water for 36 hours) Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 5(3): 191-194]
Temperature extremes are associated with thinner egg shells. [Romanoff, AL and AJ Romanoff, 1949. The Avian Egg, Wiley & Sons]
Decreased illumination is associated with thinner egg shells. [Peakall, DB. 1970. (Shells not thinned even after illumination was abruptly reduced from 16 hours daily to 8 hours daily and high DDT dosage begun simultaneously) Science 168:592-594; Day, EJ. 1971. (Importance of even illumination on laying birds) Farm Technology, Fall 1971;Houser, EJ. 1962. Pacific Poultryman, August 1962; Morris, TR et al. 1964. (The most critical area of light duration is that between 16 hours and 8 hours daily) British Poultry Science 5: 133-147; Ward, P. 1972 (Physiological importance of photo period in bird experiments) Ibis 114: 275]
Human and predator intrusion is associated with thinner egg shells. [Beatty, RG. 1973. The DDT Myth, John Day Co., N.Y. 201 pages; Anon. 1971. Hawk Chalk 10(3):47-57; Cade, TJ. 1960. Ecology of the peregrine and gyrfalcon populations in Alaska. Univ Calif Publ Zool 63(3): 151-290]
Simple restraint interferes with the transport of calcium throughout the body of birds, preventing adequate calcium from reaching the shell gland and forming good shells. [Sykes, AH. 1955. Poultry Science 34:622-628]
Uncovering eggs after parent birds are removed or frightened off exposes eggs to potentially fatal chilling, especially in northern or high altitude locations. [Cade, TJ. 1960. Ecology of the peregrine and gyrfalcon populations in Alaska. Uni Calif Publ Zool 63(3):151-290]
Phosphorus deficiency is associated with thinner shells. [Crowley, TA et al. 1963. Poultry Science 54: 350-368]
Calcium deficiency is associated with thinner shells.[Greely, F.. 196 (Effects of calcium deficiency) J Wildlife Management 70:149-153; Romanoff, AL and AJ Romanoff. 1949. The Avian Egg, Wiley & Sons; Scott, ML. 1975. Poultry Science 54:350-368; Taylor, TG. 1970. How and eggshell is formed. Scientific American 222:89-95; Tucker, RK and HA Tucker. 1970. Bull Environ Contamin Toxicol 5(3):1191-194]
Egg shell deficiencies were attributed to DDT and DDE by U.S. Fish and Wildlife researchers even though the birds had been placed on low-calcium diets. [Bitman, J et al. 1969. Nature 224: 44-46; Bitman, J et al. 1970. Science 594-595.]
Cutting illumination from 16 hours daily to 8 hours daily at the same time as DDT feeding began had no significant adverse effect on shell quality. Shell quality was only adversely impacted after large amounts of DDE were injected into birds. [Peakall, DB. 1970. Science 168:592-594]
DDT was blamed for egg shell thinning even though a known egg shell thinner (dieldrin) was also added to the diet. [Porter, RD and SN Wiemeyer. 1969. Science 165: 199-200]
No significant correlation between DDE and egg shell thinning in Canadian terns even though the eggs contained as much as 100 parts per million of DDE. [Switzer, BG et al. 1971. Can J Zool 49:69-73]
VII. BALD EAGLES. DDT was blamed for the decline in the bald eagle population.
Bald eagles were reportedly threatened with extinction in 1921 — 25 years before widespread use of DDT. [Van Name, WG. 1921. Ecology 2:76]
Alaska paid over $100,000 in bounties for 115,000 bald eagles between 1917 and 1942. [Anon. Science News Letter, July 3, 1943]
The bald eagle had vanished from New England by 1937. [Bent, AC. 1937. Raptorial Birds of America. US National Museum Bull 167:321-349]
After 15 years of heavy and widespread usage of DDT, Audubon Society ornithologists counted 25 percent more eagles per observer in 1960 than during the pre-DDT 1941 bird census. [Marvin, PH. 1964 Birds on the rise. Bull Entomol Soc Amer 10(3):184-186; Wurster, CF. 1969 Congressional Record S4599, May 5, 1969; Anon. 1942. The 42nd Annual Christmas Bird Census. Audubon Magazine 44:1-75 (Jan/Feb 1942; Cruickshank, AD (Editor). 1961. The 61st Annual Christmas Bird Census. Audubon Field Notes 15(2):84-300; White-Stevens, R.. 1972. Statistical analyses of Audubon Christmas Bird censuses. Letter to New York Times, August 15, 1972]
No significant correlation between DDE residues and shell thickness was reported in a large series of bald eagle eggs. [Postupalsky, S. 1971. (DDE residues and shell thickness). Canadian Wildlife Service manuscript, April 8, 1971]
Thickness of eggshells from Florida, Maine and Wisconsin was found to not be correlated with DDT residues.
Data from Krantz, WC. 1970. Pesticides Monitoring Journal 4(3):136-140.
DDE residue (ppm)
U.S. Forest Service studies reported an increase in nesting bald eagle productivity (51 in 1964 to 107 in 1970). [U.S. Forest Service (Milwaukee, WI). 1970. Annual Report on Bald Eagle Status]
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists fed large doses of DDT to captive bald eagles for 112 days and concluded that “DDT residues encountered by eagles in the environment would not adversely affect eagles or their eggs.” [Stickel, L. 1966. Bald eagle-pesticide relationships. Trans 31st N Amer Wildlife Conference, pp.190-200]
Wildlife authorities attributed bald eagle population reductions to a “widespread loss of suitable habitat”, but noted that “illegal shooting continues to be the leading cause of direct mortality in both adult and immature bald eagles.” [Anon.. 1978. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Tech Bull 3:8-9]
Every bald eagle found dead in the U.S., between 1961-1977 (266 birds) was analyzed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists who reported no adverse effects caused by DDT or its residues. [Reichel, WL. 1969. (Pesticide residues in 45 bald eagles found dead in the U.S. 1964-1965). Pesticides Monitoring J 3(3)142-144; Belisle, AA. 1972. (Pesticide residues and PCBs and mercury, in bald eagles found dead in the U.S. 1969-1970). Pesticides Monitoring J 6(3): 133-138; Cromartie, E. 1974. (Organochlorine pesticides and PCBs in 37 bald eagles found dead in the U.S. 1971-1972). Pesticides Monitoring J 9:11-14; Coon, NC. 1970. (Causes of bald eagle mortality in the US 1960-1065). Journal of Wildlife Diseases 6:72-76]
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists linked high intake of mercury from contaminated fish with eagle reproductive problems. [Spann, JW, RG Heath, JF Kreitzer, LN Locke. 1972. (Lethal and reproductive effects of mercury on birds) Science 175:328- 331]
Shooting, power line electrocution, collisions in flight and poisoning from eating ducks containing lead shot were ranked by the National Wildlife Federation as late as 1984 as the leading causes of eagle deaths. [Anon. 1984. National Wildlife Federation publication. (Eagle deaths)]
VIII. PEREGRINE FALCONS. DDT was blamed for the decline in the peregrine falcon population.
The decline in the U.S. peregrine falcon population occurred long before the DDT years. [Hickey JJ. 1942. (Only 170 pairs of peregrines in eastern U.S. in 1940) Auk 59:176; Hickey JJ. 1971 Testimony at DDT hearings before EPA hearing examiner. (350 pre-DDT peregrines claimed in eastern U.S., with 28 of the females sterile); and Beebe FL. 1971. The Myth of the Vanishing Peregrine Falcon: A study in manipulation of public and official attitudes. Canadian Raptor Society Publication, 31 pages]
Peregrine falcons were deemed undesirable in the early 20th century. Dr. William Hornaday of the New York Zoological Society referred to them as birds that “deserve death, but are so rare that we need not take them into account.” [Hornaday, WT. 1913. Our Vanishing Wild Life. New York Zoological Society, p. 226]
Oologists amassed great collections of falcon eggs. [Peterson, RT. 1948. Birds Over American, Dodd Mead & Co., NY, pp 135-151; Rice, JN. 1969. In Peregrine Falcon Populations, Univ. Of Wisconsin Press, pp 155-164; Berger, DD. 1969. In Peregrine Falcon Populations, Univ. Of Wisconsin Press, pp 165-173]
The decline in falcons along the Hudson River was attributed to falconers, egg collectors, pigeon fanciers and disturbance by construction workers and others. [Herbert, RA and KG Herbert. 1969. In Peregrine Falcon Populations, Univ. Of Wisconsin Press, pp 133- 154. (Also in Auk 82: 62-94)]
The 1950’s and 1960’s saw continuing harassment trapping brooding birds in their nests, removing fat samples for analysis and operating time-lapse cameras beside the nests for extended periods of time), predation and habitat destruction. [Hazeltine, WE. 1972. Statement before Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, March 16, 1972; Enderson, JH and DD Berger. 1968. (Chlorinated hydrocarbons in peregrines from Northern Canada). Condor 70:149-153; Enderson, JH.. 1972. (Time lapse photography in peregrine nests) Living Bird 11: 113- 128; Risebrough, RW. 1970. (Organochlorines in peregrines and merlins migrating through Wisconsin). Canadian Field-Naturalist 84:247-253]
Changes in climate (higher temperatures and decreasing precipitation) were blamed for the gradual disappearance of peregrines from the Rocky Mountains. [Nelson, MW. 1969. Peregrine Falcon Populations, pp 61-72]
Falconers were blamed for decimating western populations. [Herman, S. 1969. Peregrine Falcon Populations, University of Wisconsin Press]
During the 1960’s, peregrines in northern Canada were “reproducing normally,” even though they contained 30 times more DDT, DDD, and DDE than the midwestern peregrines that were allegedly extirpated by those chemicals. [Enderson, JH and DD Berger. 1968. (Chlorinated hydrocarbons in peregrines from Northern Canada) Condor 70:170-178]
There was no decline in peregrine falcon pairs in Canada and Alaska between 1950 and 1967 despite the presence of DDT and DDE. [Fyfe, RW. 1959. Peregrine Falcon Populations, pp 101-114; and Fyfe, RW. 1968. Auk 85: 383-384]
The peregrine with the very highest DDT residue (2,435 parts per million) was found feeding three healthy young. [Enderson, JH. 1968. (Pesticide residues in Alaska and Yukon Territory) Auk 85: 683]
Shooting, egg collecting, falconry and disruption of nesting birds along the Yukon River and Colville River were reported to be the cause of the decline in peregrine falcon population. [Beebe, FL. 1971. The Myth of the Vanishing Peregrine Falcon: A study in manipulation of public and official attitudes. Canadian Raptor Society Publication, 31 pages; and Beebe, FL. 1975. Brit Columbia Provincial Museum Occas. Paper No. 17, pages 126-144]
The decline in British peregrine falcons ended by 1966, though DDT was as abundant as ever. The Federal Advisory Committee on Pesticides concluded “There is no close correlation between the declines in populations of predatory birds, particularly the peregrine falcon and the sparrow hawk, and the use of DDT.” [Wilson report. 1969. Review of Organochlorine pesticides in Britain. Report by the Advisory Committee on toxic chemicals. Department of Education and Science]
During 1940-1945, the British Air Ministry shot about 600 peregrines (half the pre-1939 level) to protect carrier pigeons.
Peregrine falcon and sparrow hawk egg shells thinned in Britain prior to the use of DDT. [Redcliff, DH. 1967. Nature 215: 208-210; Redcliff, DH. 1970 J Applied Biology 7:67; and Redcliff, DH. 1967. Nature 215: 208-210]
BROWN PELICANS. DDT was blamed for the decline in the brown pelican population.
Brown pelicans declined in Texas from a high of 5,000 birds in 1918 to a low of 200 in 1941, three years before the presence of DDT. [Pearson TG. 1919. Review of reviews. Pp. 509-511 (May 1919); Pearson TG. 1934. Adventures in Bird Protection, Appleton- Century Co., p. 332; Pearson TG. 1934 (Discussion of 1918 survey) National Geographic pp. 299-302 (March 1934); Allen RG. 1935. Auk 52: p.199;]
Disappearance of the brown pelicans from Texas was attributed to fisherman and hunters. Gustafson AF. 1939. Conservation in the United States, Comstock Publ. Co., Ithaca, NY. (Repeated in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Report No. 1, 1970)]
Brown pelicans experienced no difficulty in reproducing during the DDT years. [See Banks, RC. 1966. Trans San Diego Soc Nat Hist 14:173-188; and Schreiber RW and RL DeLong. 1969. Audubon Field Notes 23:57-59]
Brown pelicans did suffer reproductive problems following the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. Oil on eggs is a known cause of embryo death. [See e.g., National Wildlife Federation . 1979. Embryonic mortality from oil on feathers of adult birds. Conservation News, pp. 6-10 (October 15, 1979); Hartung, R. 1965. (Oil on eggs reduces hatch ability by 68 percent). J Wildlife Management 29: 872-874; King, KA 1979. (Oil a probable cause of pelican mortality for six weeks after spill). Bull Environ Contam. Toxicol 23:800-805; and Dieter, MP. 1977. (5 micro liters of oil on fertile egg kills 76 percent to 98 percent of embryos within. Interagency Energy-Environment Research and Development Program Report, pp 35-42]
Among brown pelican egg shells examined (72 percent), there was no correlation between DDT residue and shell thickness. [Switzer, B. 1972. Consolidated EPA hearings, Transcript pp. 8212-8336; and Hazeltine, WE. 1972. Why pelican eggshells are thin. Nature 239: 410-412]
An epidemic of Newcastle disease resulted in millions of birds put to death to eradicate the disease. [United Press International. “Newcastle disease epidemic in California (April 1972)] The epidemic among U.S. birds was caused by the migration of sick pelicans along the Mexican coast. [Hofstad MC. 1972. Diseases of Poultry. Iowa State Univ. Press]
BIRD POPULATIONS INCREASE DURING DDT YEARS. Widespread declines in bird populations during the DDT years is a myth.
In congressional testimony, Charles Wurster, a biologist for the Environmental Defense Fund, noted the abundance of birds during the DDT years, referring to “increasing numbers of pheasants, quail, doves, turkeys and other game species.” [Wurster, C.F. 1969 Congressional Record S4599, May 5, 1969]
The Audubon Society’s annual bird census in 1960 reported that at least 26 kinds of birds became more numerous during 1941 – 1960. [See Anon. 1942. The 42nd annual Christmas bird census.” Audubon Magazine 44;1-75 (Jan/Feb 1942), and Cruicjshank, AD (editor) 1961. The 61st annual Christmas bird census. Audubon Field Notes 15(2); 84-300]
Statistical analysis of the Audubon data bore out the perceived increases. [White-Stevens, R. 1972. Statistical analyses of Audubon Christmas bird censuses. Letter to New York Times, August 15, 1972]
The white-tailed kite, a raptor, was “in very real danger of complete extirpation in the U.S.” in 1935, but “by the 1960’s, a very great population increase and range expansion had become apparent in California and the breeding range had extended through the Central American countries.” [Eisenmann, E. 1971. Range expansion and population increase of the White-tailed kite. American Birds 25(3):529-535]
Great increases in most kinds of hawks during the DDT years were reported by the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association (Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania). [Taylor, JW. Summaries of Hawk Mountain migrations of raptors, 1934 to 1970. In Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association Newsletters]
National forest studies from Wisconsin and Michigan reported an increase in nesting osprey productivity from 11 young in 1965 to 74 young in 1970. [U.S. Forest Service, Milwaukee. 1970. Annual report on osprey status in national forests in Wisconsin and Michigan]
A study of fish-eaters at Funk Island (on the North Atlantic coast) reported that, despite diets contaminated with DDT, gannet and murres pairs increased by 1,500 percent and 10,000 percent from 1945 to the early 1970s. [Bruemmer, F. 1971. Animals Magazine, p.555, April]
Herring gulls reportedly increased from 2,000 pairs in 1941 to 35,000 pairs in 1971. Ironically, the Massachusetts department of Natural resources permitted the Audubon Society to poison 30,000 of the pairs on Tern Island. The Audubon-ers preferred terns. Audubon Society scientist William Drury stated, “it’s kind of like weeding a garden.” [Graham, F. 1985. Audubon Magazine, p.17, January 1985]
Some birds multiplied so well during the DDT years that they became pests:
6 million blackbirds ruined Scotland Neck, North Carolina in 1970, polluting streams, depositing nine inches of droppings on the ground and killing the forest where they roosted at night. [Associated Press, March 18, 1970]
77 million blackbirds roosted within 50 miles of Ft. Campbell, KY increasing the risk of histoplasmosis in humans. [Louisville Courier-Journal, December 1975.]
Ten million redwings were reported in a small area of northern Ohio. [Graham, F. 1971. Bye-bye blackbirds? Audubon Magazine, pp. 29-35, September]
The Virginia Department of Agriculture stated, “We can no longer tolerate the damage caused by the redwing … 15 million tons of grain are destroyed annually enough to feed 90 million people.” [Bulletin of the Virginia Department of Agriculture, May 1967]XI. ERRONEOUS DETECTION. Gas chromatography was universally used for pesticide analysis in the mid-1960’s. But it often failed to differentiate between DDT residues and other chemicals.109. DDT was mistaken for other organochlorines. [Glotfelty, DE.. 1970. Anal Chem 42:82-84 (Misidentifications of DDT resulted from interference by “pigment-related natural products in photosynthesic tissues.”); Hylin, JW. 1969. Residue Reviews 26:127 (“Organochlorine compounds in plants can cause interference in residue analyses “); Sims, JJ. 1977. Press release, June 15, 1977 (Certain marine algae produce halogen compounds that are detected by gas chromatography and may be misidentified as DDT metabolites);George JL and DEH Frear. 1966. Pesticides in the Antarctic. J Appld Ecology 3 (suppl): 155-167 (Antarctic samples of fish and birds widely touted as containing DDT residues likely contained PCBs instead that leached from the plastic containers they were stored in for 6 months prior to analysis)]111. The coating of aluminum foil used to wrap specimens, formalin, and sodium sulfate may also have contained PCBs or oils that might have interfered with analyses. [Risebrough, RW. 1971. Presentation to International Symposium on Identification and Measurement of Environmental Pollutants, Ottawa, Canada, June 15, 1971]
110. Laboratory fluorescent lights containing liquid PCBs and plastic tubing leaching PCBs erroneously led to PCBs misidentified as DDT or DDE. [Gustafson, CG. 1970. Environ Sci Technology 4(10):814-819; Lisk, DJ. 1970. Analysis of pesticide residues: methods and problems. Science 170:589-593; Anderson, DW et al. 1969. Can Field-Naturalist 83:91-112 (Samples reported in 1965 to be contaminated with DDT were acknowledged in 1969 to actually have been contaminated with PCBs. Faulty analytic methods were blamed); National Audubon Society, Research Dept. 1968. Brown Pelican Newsletter (Tavernier, Florida) No. 1, page 9 (The Audubon Society was aware of the problem of PCB interference in announcing its warning: “DO NOT BRING PLASTICS INTO CONTACT WITH THE SPECIMEN.”)]
108. Gas chromatography detected DDT in samples of wildlife and soil collected before DDT was even produced. [Scott, ML et al. 1975. Poultry Science 54: 350-368 (“Many reports relating reproductive declines of wild birds (and body stores in those birds) to DDT and DDE were based on analytical procedures that did not distinguish between DDT and PCBs.”); Sherman, RW. 1973. Artifacts and mimics of DDT and other insecticides. J New York Entomol Soc 81:152-163 (Robin collected in 1938); Coon, FB. 1966. Electron capture gas chromatograph analyses of selected samples of authentic pre-DDT origin. Presented at the Conference of American Chemical Society in New York (Gibbon collected in 1935); Frazier, BE et al. 1970. Pesticides Monitoring J 4:67-70, 1970 (Soil collected in 1911); Bowman, MC et al. 1965. J Econ Entomology 58: 896-902 (Soil collected in 1940); Hom, W. 1974. Science 184:1197-1199 (1930-vintage Santa Barbara basin sediment)]
107. The phenomena of increasing bird populations during the DDT years may be due, in part, to (1) fewer blood-sucking insects and reduced spread of avian diseases (avian malaria, rickettsial-pox, avian bronchitis, Newcastle disease, encephalitis, etc); (2) more seed and fruits available for birds to eat after plant-eating insects were decimated; and (3) Ingestion of DDT triggers hepatic enzymes that detoxify carcinogens such as aflatoxin.
ERRONEOUS DETECTION. Gas chromatography was universally used for pesticide analysis in the mid-1960’s. But it often failed to differentiate between DDT residues and other chemicals.
Gas chromatography detected DDT in samples of wildlife and soil collected before DDT was even produced. [Scott, ML et al. 1975. Poultry Science 54: 350-368 (“Many reports relating reproductive declines of wild birds (and body stores in those birds) to DDT and DDE were based on analytical procedures that did not distinguish between DDT and PCBs.”); Sherman, RW. 1973. Artifacts and mimics of DDT and other insecticides. J New York Entomol Soc 81:152-163 (Robin collected in 1938); Coon, FB. 1966. Electron capture gas chromatograph analyses of selected samples of authentic pre-DDT origin. Presented at the Conference of American Chemical Society in New York (Gibbon collected in 1935); Frazier, BE et al. 1970. Pesticides Monitoring J 4:67-70, 1970 (Soil collected in 1911); Bowman, MC et al. 1965. J Econ Entomology 58: 896-902 (Soil collected in 1940); Hom, W. 1974. Science 184:1197-1199 (1930-vintage Santa Barbara basin sediment)]
DDT was mistaken for other organochlorines. [Glotfelty, DE.. 1970. Anal Chem 42:82-84 (Misidentifications of DDT resulted from interference by “pigment-related natural products in photosynthesic tissues.”); Hylin, JW. 1969. Residue Reviews 26:127 (“Organochlorine compounds in plants can cause interference in residue analyses “); Sims, JJ. 1977. Press release, June 15, 1977 (Certain marine algae produce halogen compounds that are detected by gas chromatography and may be misidentified as DDT metabolites);George JL and DEH Frear. 1966. Pesticides in the Antarctic. J Appld Ecology 3 (suppl): 155-167 (Antarctic samples of fish and birds widely touted as containing DDT residues likely contained PCBs instead that leached from the plastic containers they were stored in for 6 months prior to analysis)]
Laboratory fluorescent lights containing liquid PCBs and plastic tubing leaching PCBs erroneously led to PCBs misidentified as DDT or DDE. [Gustafson, CG. 1970. Environ Sci Technology 4(10):814-819; Lisk, DJ. 1970. Analysis of pesticide residues: methods and problems. Science 170:589-593; Anderson, DW et al. 1969. Can Field-Naturalist 83:91-112 (Samples reported in 1965 to be contaminated with DDT were acknowledged in 1969 to actually have been contaminated with PCBs. Faulty analytic methods were blamed); National Audubon Society, Research Dept. 1968. Brown Pelican Newsletter (Tavernier, Florida) No. 1, page 9 (The Audubon Society was aware of the problem of PCB interference in announcing its warning: “DO NOT BRING PLASTICS INTO CONTACT WITH THE SPECIMEN.”)]
The coating of aluminum foil used to wrap specimens, formalin, and sodium sulfate may also have contained PCBs or oils that might have interfered with analyses. [Risebrough, RW. 1971. Presentation to International Symposium on Identification and Measurement of Environmental Pollutants, Ottawa, Canada, June 15, 1971]
Is there a cause and effect link or merely a correlation of unrelated events? Here is the story and the facts so far. In October 2015 an increase in microcephaly was reported in Brazil. A Brazilian doctor, Adriana Melo, at IPESQ, a research institute in Campina Grande, was the first to report a firm link between Zika and microcephaly. Several months before, there had been an outbreak of Zika virus throughout Brazil. The increase in microcephaly cases occurred only in a coastal state in the northeast of the country. Why not the entire Zika epidemic region?
90% of the 1709 cases of microcephaly and birth defects were concentrated in this limited area. Of this number 1153 were diagnosed as microcephaly. There was no increase in other parts of the country, including an adjoining coastal state with a similar population, which only had 3 cases. This suggests there may be other contributing factors. Socio-economic factors may contribute since most of the mothers of the microcephalic babies were young, single, black and poor, living in small cities near larger cities. Additionally, this same northeastern region has always had the highest incidence of microcephaly in Brazil.
A study by the Latin American Collaborative Study of Congenital Malformations (ECLAMC) called for more controlled studies, and concluded that the data so far is inconclusive of a cause and effect link between Zika infection in the first trimester of pregnancy and microcephaly and similar nervous system defects. For an English translation of the original Portugese summary of the ECLAMC studies, see http://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/7.33594!/file/NS-724-2015_ECLAMC-ZIKA%20VIRUS_V-FINAL_012516.pdf
This report discusses weaknesses in the methods used by IPESQ, recommendations for further studies and several other factors that may have caused or contributed to the birth defects as listed below.
Rumor may have caused over reporting due to active searches and over diagnosis. Brazil health authorities estimate that as many as 2/3 of cases are normally not reported to authorities. If the estimate is correct, this would partially account for an increase, but not the degree reported, so other factors must be involved. However, Brazil reports a rate of 0.5 per 10,000 births compared to EUROCAT of 2.85 per 10,000 births, indicating a gross under reporting.
Broadened criteria for microcephaly diagnosis from 3 standard deviations to 2 standard deviations below normal average age and sex adjusted head circumference, and no confirming follow up brain scans or autopsies in most cases.
Zika infection in the first trimester of pregnancy cannot be confirmed at the time of birth because the virus is short-lived in the body and will not be present in the mother. Unless the mother was diagnosed early in her pregnancy, occurrence and connection cannot be confirmed.
In the original studies other known causes were not ruled out such as STORCH (syphilis, toxoplasmosis, “other,” rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex), prematurity, diabetes of the mother and fetal alcohol syndrome, a major cause of microcephaly in Brazil.
Also not ruled out are possible co-infections with dengue or chikungunya, both present in the population in recent outbreaks. The dengue virus is similar to the Zika virus and difficult to differentiate in tests.
A low rate of yellow fever vaccination also seems to correlate to this incident. Yellow fever virus is similar to Zika virus and vaccination may offer some immunity to it.
At IPESQ Bovine diarrheal virus (BVDV) was found in brain tissue of 3 fetuses in a later study. This virus does not usually infect humans but is known to cause birth defects in cattle. If true, this may be significant, but Dr. Adriana Melo suspects it may be a contaminant in the sampling or testing procedures.
Contaminated water was not considered, although it is common for small cities without proper sanitation and water purification to have biologically contaminated water.
Nutrition was not considered in this study other than a mention of general socio-economic influences, although the CDC, NIH and other agencies recognize folic acid (a B vitamin) deficiency as one of the leading causes of neural tube defects (NTD), including microcephaly, anencephaly, and spina bifida. In a recent NIH study they found that other micronutrients may decrease the risk of NTD occurrence, including thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), betaine (a B vitamin), vitamin A, retinol (A1), vitamin C, vitamin E and iron.
In conclusion, the “link” between Zika virus and microcephaly is far from proven because the original studies lacked scientific discipline and controls. More studies are needed to clarify what role the virus may play in these birth defects. However, it is probably best to take a precautionary approach until more is known.
Is it time to bring back DDT to eradicate the mosquitos that carry Zika and other diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever and other diseases? Over 80% of infectious diseases are caused by insects. Assumed adverse environmental and health effects of this important insecticide have failed to materialize in many repeated controlled studies over the last 40 years. See “DDT: A Case Study in Scientific Fraud,” by J. Gordon Edwards, PhD entomology, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004, at http://www.jpands.org/vol9no3/edwards.pdf
“Neural Tube Defects and Maternal Intake of Micronutrients Related to One-Carbon Metabolism or Antioxidant Activity,” US National Institute of Health, Angela L. Chandler1, Charlotte A. Hobbs1, Bridget S. Mosley1, Robert J. Berry2, Mark A.Canfield3, Yan Ping Qi2, Anna Maria Siega-Riz4, Gary M. Shaw5, and National Birth Defects Prevention Study, in Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2012 November ; 94(11): 864–874. doi:10.1002/bdra.23068.
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Little Rock, AR 72202
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
Birth Defects Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas
Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition, University of North Carolina School of Public Health, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California
“Brazil’s birth-defects puzzle, Zika virus might not be only factor in reported microcephaly surge.” By Declan Butler, 28 July 2016, Nature, Vol. 535, Page 475-6.
“Zika epidemic uncovers Brazil’s hidden birth defect problem,” by Alex Cuadros, March 1, 2016, Washington Post
Is changing Brazil’s abortion laws the real purpose for the claims of a Zika and microcephaly link?
See previous post The Truth About Zika Virus and Microcephaly for summary of the analysis showing failure to establish a cause and effect link between Zika & Microcephaly, and a broadening of the definition of Microcephaly. WHO, other agencies and activists have ignored the original Latin American Collaborative Study of Congenital Malformations (ECLAMC) analysis invalidating the original research. See English translation at http://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/7.33594!/file/NS-724-2015_ECLAMC-ZIKA%20VIRUS_V-FINAL_012516.pdf
Brazil, a Catholic nation, has allowed abortion only to save the life of the mother or rape, but recently allowed it for anencephaly (missing brain birth defect). Was this a first step that prompted or preceded the bogus study and the alarming press releases? The UN has gotten involved and is urging changing the abortion laws across Latin and South America. Most of these countries are Catholic, so it could be considered an attack on the Church’s strict abortion stand.
See articles from the Guardian below about the campaign to change Brazil’s abortion laws and my notes in blue.
Zika emergency pushes women to challenge Brazil’s abortion law Sarah Boseley, The Guardian, Tuesday 19 July 2016
Women’s groups are set to challenge the law in the hope of making termination possible for women at risk of delivering a baby born with Zika-related defects. Women’s rights and gender equality supported by Women’s groups in Brazil are set to challenge the abortion laws this summer in the hope of making a safe and legal termination possible for women at risk of delivering a baby born with defects after exposure to the Zika virus.
“Women should be able to decide and have the means to terminate pregnancies because they are facing serious risks of having babies with microcephaly and also suffering huge mental distress during their pregnancies. They should not be forced to carry on their pregnancies under the circumstances,” said Beatriz Galli, a lawyer on bioethics and human rights who works for Ipas, a group dedicated to ending unsafe abortion. (IPAS is an international abortion advocacy NGO.)
Lawyers for the organisations will present a legal challenge at the supreme court in the first week of August, when the court sits again after the winter break. They are coordinated by Anis Instituto de Bioética, which campaigns for women’s equality and reproductive rights. (founder of Anis worked with the group cited below)
The groups have obtained an opinion from lawyers at Yale University in the US, who argue that the Brazilian government’s policies on Zika and microcephaly have breached women’s human rights. The government “has failed to enact adequate measures to ensure that all women have access to comprehensive reproductive health information and options, as required by Brazil’s public health and human rights commitments”, says a review from the Global Health Justice Partnership, which is a joint initiative of the Yale Law School and the Yale School of Public Health. (“Health Justice” gives away the leftist, extreme position on “sexuality, gender and reproductive issues” of this group)
It is also critical of Brazil’s handling of the epidemic. Its “failure to ensure adequate infrastructure, public health resources and mosquito control programmes in certain areas has greatly exacerbated the Zika and Zika-related microcephaly epidemics, particularly among poor women of racial minorities”, the review says.
As of 7 July, there have been1,638 cases of reported microcephaly – an abnormally small head – and other brain defects in Brazil, according to the World Health Organisation. (almost all of these cases were in a small area in the northeast, but the Zika virus epidemic was country wide – a smoking gun against cause and effect) Women who do not want to continue their pregnancy because they have been infected, even if they have had a scan confirming brain defects in the baby, are unable to choose a legal termination. There is evidence of a rise in early abortions using pills obtainable online and fears that unsafe, illegal abortions will be rising too.
Galli said there were already about 200,000 hospitalisations of women who have undergone a clandestine termination every year, and a suspected 1 million illegal abortions before the epidemic. “We know that there are clinics operating in the very low-income poor settings in Rio and women are paying a lot of money and are risking their lives,” she said. (This appears to be an estimate based on a small number of hospitals extrapolated to the entire country and scaled up by some arbitrary factor. From various sources the estimates vary widely.)
Campaigners who want to change the law are encouraged by a ruling the supreme court handed down in the case of babies with anencephaly in 2012. This is a condition where the foetus develops without a brain, making it impossible for the baby to be born alive. The case took eight years, but eventually the court voted eight to two in favour of making abortion legal in those circumstances. (Is this the precedent prompting the Zika-microcephaly scam?)
Before the ruling, there were two exceptions to the ban on termination in Brazil – when the pregnant woman’s life was at risk and when she had been raped. Anencephaly became the third, but campaigners acknowledge that it is not a simple precedent.
Debora Diniz, co-founder of Anis and professor of law at the University of Brasilia, said she was confident the court would understand that the situation is an emergency. They were not asking for the legalisation of abortion, she said, but “to have the right to abortion in the case of Zika infection during the epidemic”.
“It is not an abortion in the case of foetal malformation. It is the right to abortion in case of being infected by the Zika virus, suffering mental stress because you have this horrible situation and so few answers on how to plan and have a safe pregnancy,” she said. (emphasis added)
Campaigners have five demands: good information for women in pregnancy, improvements in access to family planning, giving women mosquito repellents, better social policies to help children born with birth defects because of Zika and financial support for parents.
Diniz points out that the worst hit are the poor. “The feeling in my well-to-do neighbourhood [in Brasilia] is that everything is fine,” she said. People have never met a woman with Zika or seen a baby with neurological defects. But when she goes to clinics in hard-hit areas such as Campina Grande in the north-east, everything revolves around Zika. (Zika is a mild disease with low fever and rash, and is often not even recognized. Zika has been seen in other countries for 40+ years with no birth defects. Note the admission of limited area “affected.”)
“We have two countries in one country,” she said. “This is an emergency of unknown women. The trouble is they were unknown before the epidemic. I’m not being an opportunist. We have an epidemic and the epidemic shows the face of Brazilian inequality.”
UN tells Latin American countries hit by Zika to allow women access to abortion
Jonathan Watts in Rio de Janeiro, The Guardian, Friday 5 February 2016 (Note that the article above is 6 months after this one, but is still touting the same line)
Strict curbs on contraception and abortion are common in hard-hit nations but UN says women should have choice about degree of risk they’re willing to take
Women protest anti-abortion laws in El Salvador, which has one of the highest rates of Zika infection – and where even miscarriages can be treated as murder.
The United Nations high commissioner for human rights has called on Latin American countries hit by the Zika epidemic to allow women access to abortion and birth control, reigniting debate about reproductive rights in the predominantly Catholic region.
The rapidly spreading virus is suspected to have caused an uptick in foetal brain defects. Although this is not yet scientifically proven, many campaigners say women should have a choice about the degree of risk they are willing to take. (emphasis added. Note that this author at least admits the lack of scientific proof.)
This is currently very limited in Latin America due to strict controls on birth control and abortion, which range widely from country to country. On one extreme is El Salvador – which has one of the highest rates of Zika infection in the continent – where even miscarriages can be treated as murder. On the other is Uruguay, where pregnancies can be terminated in any circumstances up to 12 weeks.
The UN commissioner is asking governments in Zika-affected areas to repeal policies that break with international standards on access to sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion.
“We are asking those governments to go back and change those laws,” said spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly on Friday. “Because how can they ask those women to become pregnant but also not offer them first information that is available, but the possibility to stop their pregnancies if they wish?”
The commissioner’s initiative was welcomed by the US-based NGO the Center for Reproductive Rights.
“Women cannot solely bear the burden of curbing the Zika virus,” said Charles Abbott, the group’s legal adviser for Latin America & the Caribbean. “We agree with the OHCHR that these governments must fulfil their international human rights obligations and cannot shirk that responsibility or pass it off to women. This includes adopting laws and policies to respect and protect women’s reproductive rights.”
Health authorities in at least five affected countries have advised women to avoid getting pregnant, with Colombia telling called on women to delay pregnancy for six to eight months, and El Salvador, suggesting women avoid getting pregnant for at least two years. (emphasis added)
Reproductive rights advocates say the recommendations to avoid pregnancy are irresponsible and do not take into account that most pregnancies in the region are unplanned.
This is not the only area of contention sparked by the rapid spread of the virus. Scientists in Brazil are also in disagreement about the significance of new studies – revealed on Friday – that showZika is present in saliva, which some say should prompt warnings against kissing.(emphasis added)
The Fiocruz research institute in Rio de Janeiro said on Friday it had identified live samples of Zika in saliva and urine, which merited further research into whether these two fluids could be a source of contagion.
Until the outcome is known, Paulo Gadelha, president of the institute, suggested pregnant women should think twice about kissing anyone other than their partners or sharing drinking glasses or cutlery with people who might be infected.
Although he said this was “not a generalized public health measure”, the proposed precaution has been met with a mixture of fear and derision. Other scientists argue that it is extremely unlikely for the disease to spread in this way.
“The warning is crazy and unnecessary,” said Rubio Soares Campos, who co-identified the first case of Zika in Brazil. “Just because the virus is present in saliva does not mean it can be transmitted that way.”
He argued that it was more likely to behave like dengue, another mosquito-borne disease that is found in human bodily fluids but cannot be spread that way.
But the latest news has increased the unease of the Brazilian public, who have watched with alarm as Zika has come from nowhere to infect an estimated 1.5 million people with an apparently growing range of suspected – but not yet scientifically proven – side-effects, including immune system disorders and brain defects in newborns. (emphasis added)
“It’s starting to scare the hell out of me,” said one Rio resident, Maria Teixeira. “At first everybody thought is was just a mild fever. Then, we were told it could develop into Guillain-Barré syndrome, and then that it was associated with horrible side-effects such as deformed babies. What’s next?”