Intelligent Design

Green Junk Science is More Deadly Than Hitler and Stalin Combined

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And when I say deadly, I do not mean “potentially deadly.”  I mean the environmental movement’s junk science has already resulted in the death of tens of millions.

Some years ago I spent some time working in Kenya’s bush country.  The experience was heart rending.  I will never forget one man in particular pleading with me to give him ten dollars for malaria medicine for his daughter.

Why did this man’s daughter have malaria, a disease that has been all but eradicated in the developed world?  Because after we eradicated the disease in the rich West through the use of DDT, we took steps that prevented poor Kenya from doing the same thing.

But Barry, haven’t you forgotten that in her book Silent Spring Rachel Carson proved that DDT is a deadly menace that must be eradicated from the face of the earth?  No, I have not.   In 1971 – ten years after the publication of Silent Spring, the EPA held seven months of hearings on whether DDT is harmful to the environment.  At the end of the hearing, Judge Edmund Sweeney wrote: “The uses of DDT under the registration involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife. … DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man.”

Rachel Carson was wrong.  Her science was junk science.  But in her case politics trumped science.  Responding to the furor prompted by Carson and not to the science established at the hearing, EPA administrator William Ruckelshaus overruled Sweeney and the EPA banned the use of DDT in the US.

Subsequently, the U.S. Agency for International Development adopted regulations preventing it from funding international projects that used DDT.  Together with similar decisions enacted in Europe, this effectively banned the use of DDT in many Third World countries.  By some estimates, the malaria death toll in Africa alone resulting from these restrictions has exceeded 100 million people, with 3 million additional deaths added to the toll every year.

– See more at here:

James Shikwati is director of the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN), in Nairobi, Kenya.  He writes:

 If we use DDT to stop terrible malaria epidemics, or if we plant genetically-modified bananas or sweet potatoes to prevent famines, strict environmental standards block our produce from getting to the richer markets. Along with price-distorting domestic subsidies, these policies have severely affected economic growth in poor countries. For rich countries to tell poor nations to invest only in alternative energy, and for them to ban chemicals that help control disease-carrying insects—and then claim to be responsible, humanitarian, and compassionate—is to engage in hypocrisy of the most lethal kind.

Let that figure soak in.  100 million African deaths.  Deaths that could have been prevented if we had not let the environmental movement stampede us into the precipitous ban of a chemical that was deemed safe after a seven-month hearing.

The environmental movement has the blood of 100 million Africans on its hands.

Think about that the next time you hear some greenie screaming for “action now!”

UPDATE:

In the comment thread Seversky says Wikipedia disagrees with me, that my claims are “easily refuted.”  Damned fool.  Seversky we all know you are an idiot.   That is bad enough when you are just making a fool of yourself.  It is compounded unforgivably when you align yourself and take up the cause of those who have condemned millions to death.  Shame on you. Shame.  I never said that US banned DDT in Uganda.  Read the post again, the African countries have been subjected to threats of devastating economic retaliation of they use DDT.  Plus,  I suppose the Minister of Health of the Country of Uganda knows more about this than even that paragon of veracity, Wikipedia (sarcasm, for those in doubt).  This is what he says:

KAMPALA, Uganda — Though Africa’s sad experience with colonialism ended in the 1960s, a lethal vestige remains: malaria. It is the biggest killer of Ugandan and all African children. Yet it remains preventable and curable. Last week in Germany, G-8 leaders committed new resources to the fight against the mosquito-borne disease and promised to use every available tool.

Now they must honor this promise by supporting African independence in the realm of disease control. We must be able to use Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane — DDT.

The United States and Europe eradicated malaria by 1960, largely with the use of DDT. At the time, Uganda tested the pesticide in the Kanungu district and reduced malaria by 98%. Despite this success, we lacked the resources to sustain the program. Rather than partner with us to improve our public health infrastructure, however, foreign donors blanched. They used Africa’s lack of infrastructure to justify not investing in it.

Today, every single Ugandan still remains at risk. Over 10 million Ugandans are infected each year, and up to 100,000 of our mothers and children die from the disease. Recently Ugandan country music star Job Paul Kafeero died of the disease, a reminder that no one is beyond its reach. Yet, many still argue that Africa’s poor infrastructure makes indoor spraying too costly and complex a means of fighting malaria.

Uganda is one of a growing number of African countries proving these people wrong. In 2006, Uganda worked with President George Bush’s Malaria Initiative to train 350 spray operators, supervisors and health officials. In August 2006 and again in February 2007, we covered 100,000 households in the southern Kabale district with the insecticide Icon. Nearly everyone welcomed this protection. The prevalence of the malaria parasite dropped. Today, just 3% of the local population carries the disease, down from 30%.

This exercise pays for itself. With 90% fewer people requiring anti-malarial medication and other public-health resources, more healthy adults work and more children attend school. When we repeated the test program in Kabale and neighboring Kanungu district this year, our spray teams required little new training and were rapidly mobilized. Our health officials at every level were able to educate our communities, implement spraying programs and evaluate operations. With each passing year, it will now be easier and less expensive to run the programs.

But DDT lasts longer, costs less and is more effective against malaria-carrying mosquitoes than Icon. It functions as spatial repellent to keep mosquitoes out of homes, as an irritant to prevent them from biting, and as a toxic agent to kill those that land. The repellency effect works without physical contact. And because we will never use the chemical in agriculture, DDT also makes mosquitoes less likely to develop resistance.

The U.S. banned DDT in 1972, spurred on by environmentalist Rachel Carson’s 1962 book “Silent Spring.” Many countries in Europe and around the world followed suit. But after decades of exhaustive scientific review, DDT has been shown to not only be safe for humans and the environment, but also the single most effective anti-malarial agent ever invented. Nothing else at any price does everything it can do. That is why the World Health Organization (WHO) has once again recommended using DDT wherever possible against malaria, alongside insecticidal nets and effective drugs.

We are trying to do precisely this. In addition to distributing nearly three million long-lasting insecticidal nets and 25 million doses of effective anti-malarial drugs, we will expand our indoor spraying operations to four more districts this year, where we will protect tens of thousands of Ugandans from malaria’s deadly scourge. We are committed to storing, transporting and using DDT properly in these programs, in accord with Stockholm Convention, WHO, European Union and U.S. Agency for International Development guidelines. We are working with these organizations and to ensure support from our communities, and to ensure that our agricultural trade is not jeopardized.

Although Uganda’s National Environmental Management Authority has approved DDT for malaria control, Western environmentalists continue to undermine our efforts and discourage G-8 governments from supporting us. The EU has acknowledged our right to use DDT, but some consumer and agricultural groups repeat myths and lies about the chemical. They should instead help us use it strictly to control malaria.

Environmental leaders must join the 21st century, acknowledge the mistakes Carson made, and balance the hypothetical risks of DDT with the real and devastating consequences of malaria. Uganda has demonstrated that, with the proper support, we can conduct model indoor spraying programs and ensure that money is spent wisely, chemicals are handled properly, our program responds promptly to changing conditions, and malaria is brought under control.

Africa is determined to rise above the contemporary colonialism that keeps us impoverished. We expect strong leadership in G-8 countries to stop paying lip service to African self-determination and start supporting solutions that are already working.

Dr. Zaramba is director general of health services for the Republic of Uganda.

 

7 Replies to “Green Junk Science is More Deadly Than Hitler and Stalin Combined

  1. 1
    mike1962 says:

    By some estimates, the malaria death toll in Africa alone resulting from these restrictions has exceeded 100 million people, with 3 million additional deaths added to the toll every year.

    African Lives Matter.

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mike1962:

    African Lives Matter.

    Yes they do Mike, to you and me. But I sometimes wonder if they matter to environmentalists.

    The cost in African lives of banning DDT is well known. Yet I have seen no groundswell of support among environmentalists to reverse course. Indeed, in my experience, among environmentalists the DDT ban is still considered an iconic victory for the cause. What are are few tens of millions of dead African children so long as western liberals get to preen over their great (imaginary) victory for the environment.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    From the Wikipedia entry on Silent Spring

    Carson and the environmental movement were—and continue to be—criticized by some who argue that restrictions on the use of pesticides—specifically DDT—have caused tens of millions of needless deaths and hampered agriculture, and implicitly that Carson was responsible for inciting such restrictions.[61][62][63] These arguments have been dismissed as “outrageous” by former WHO scientist Socrates Litsios. May Berenbaum, University of Illinois entomologist, says, “to blame environmentalists who oppose DDT for more deaths than Hitler is worse than irresponsible.”[64] Investigative journalist Adam Sarvana and others characterize this notion as a “myth” promoted principally by Roger Bate of the pro-DDT advocacy group Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM).[65][66]

    In the 2000s, criticism of the bans of DDT that her work prompted intensified.[67][68] In 2009, the libertarian think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute set up a website saying, “Millions of people around the world suffer the painful and often deadly effects of malaria because one person sounded a false alarm. That person is Rachel Carson.”[68][69] A 2012 review article in Nature by Rob Dunn[70] commemorating the 50th anniversary of Silent Spring prompted a response in a letter written by Anthony Trewavas and co-signed by 10 others, including Christopher Leaver, Bruce Ames, Richard Tren and Peter Lachmann, who quote estimates of 60 to 80 million deaths “as a result of misguided fears based on poorly understood evidence”.[71]

    Biographer Hamilton Lytle believes these estimates are unrealistic, even if Carson can be “blamed” for worldwide DDT policies.[72] John Quiggin and Tim Lambert wrote, “the most striking feature of the claim against Carson is the ease with which it can be refuted”. DDT was never banned for anti-malarial use, and its ban for agricultural use in the United States in 1972 did not apply outside the U.S. nor to anti-malaria spraying.[73] [74] The international treaty that banned most uses of DDT and other organochlorine pesticides—the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants—included an exemption for the use of DDT for malaria control until affordable substitutes could be found.[67] Mass outdoor spraying of DDT was abandoned in poor countries subject to malaria, such as Sri Lanka, in the 1970s and 1980s; this was not because of government prohibitions but because the DDT had lost its ability to kill the mosquitoes.[67] Because of insects’ very short breeding cycle and large number of offspring, the most resistant insects survive and pass on their genetic traits to their offspring, which replace the pesticide-slain insects relatively rapidly. Agricultural spraying of pesticides produces pesticide resistance in seven to ten years. [My emphases]

  4. 4
    Barry Arrington says:

    Seversky we all know you are an idiot. That is bad enough when you are just making a fool of yourself. It is compounded unforgivably when you align yourself with and take up the cause of those who have condemned millions to death. Shame on you. Shame.

    I have added an update to the post to address your misinformation.

  5. 5
    Barry Arrington says:

    The abject stupidity Seversky displays deserves further comment as a case study in the credulity of ideologues such as he.

    Here is Seversky’s thesis (adopted from Wikipedia):

    1. There was no ban on spraying DDT.

    Does is strike anyone else as passing strange that the leaders of these African countries stood around wringing their hands while literally millions of their citizens died of an entirely preventable disease under the mistaken impression that they were not free to spray DDT? That claim is absurd on its face. It requires no refutation. Yet Seversky swallows it right down. Why? Because he is a credulous ideologue and the claim was consonant with his ideological prejudices.

    2. The reason DDT was stopped was because it is no longer effective. Double idiot.

    As the Ugandan Health Minister notes in the update above, small scale tests showed the use of DDT achieved a 90% reduction in malaria. This is just a goddamned lie. Yet, Seversky swallows it right down, again because he is a credulous ideologue.

  6. 6
    Barry Arrington says:

    I have been hard on Seversky in this thread. He deserves worse. It is one thing for him to come into these pages and play the asshat and make a general fool of himself. It is an entirely different thing when he takes up the cause of those who would see millions dead in Africa rather than stop their misguided DDT jihad. Seversky is helping them spread their lies, lies that have killed millions. He is beneath contempt.

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    Let’s try to clarify a few points since some people seem to be hard of reading.

    1. There was no ban on spraying DDT.

    Where did I write anything like that?

    The ban on the use of DDT allowed for its continued use in vector control – killing mosquitoes – until better alternatives could be found. From the Wikipedia entry on DDT:

    In the 1970s and 1980s, agricultural use was banned in most developed countries, beginning with Hungary in 1968[41] then in Norway and Sweden in 1970, Germany and the United States in 1972, but not in the United Kingdom until 1984. By 1991 total bans on the use of DDT, including in disease control, were in place in at least 26 countries; for example Cuba in 1970, Singapore in 1984, Chile in 1985 and the Republic of Korea in 1986.[42]

    The Stockholm Convention, which took effect in 2004, outlawed several persistent organic pollutants, and restricted DDT use to vector control. The Convention has been ratified by more than 170 countries and is endorsed by most environmental groups. Recognizing that total elimination in many malaria-prone countries is currently unfeasible because there are few affordable or effective alternatives, the convention exempts public health use within World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines from the ban.[43] Resolution 60.18 of the World Health Assembly commits the World Health Organization to the Stockholm Convention’s aim of reducing and ultimately eliminating the use of DDT.[44] Malaria Foundation International states, “The outcome of the treaty is arguably better than the status quo going into the negotiations. For the first time, there is now an insecticide which is restricted to vector control only, meaning that the selection of resistant mosquitoes will be slower than before.”[45]

    No one is denying that DDT can be – and is – effective against malaria but the problem is that over-use leads to the emergence of resistant strains of mosquitoes, just as excessive use of antibiotics has led to resistant strains of bacteria – all of which was predictable on the basis of evolutionary theory. It’s harder to see why a designer would have arranged things thus. Again, from the Wikipedia entry:

    WHO’s anti-malaria campaign of the 1950s and 1960s relied heavily on DDT and the results were promising, though temporary. Experts tie the resurgence of malaria to multiple factors, including poor leadership, management and funding of malaria control programs; poverty; civil unrest; and increased irrigation. The evolution of resistance to first-generation drugs (e.g. chloroquine) and to insecticides exacerbated the situation.[22][86] Resistance was largely fueled by often unrestricted agricultural use. Resistance and the harm both to humans and the environment led many governments to restrict or curtail the use of DDT in vector control as well as agriculture.[34] In 2006 the WHO reversed a longstanding policy against DDT by recommending that it be used as an indoor pesticide in regions where malaria is a major problem.[87]

    Once the mainstay of anti-malaria campaigns, as of 2008 only 12 countries used DDT, including India and some southern African states,[83] though the number is expected to rise

    In some areas resistance has greatly reduced DDT’s effectiveness. WHO guidelines require that absence of resistance must be confirmed before using the chemical.[96] Resistance is largely due to agricultural use, in much greater quantities than required for disease prevention.

    Resistance was noted early in spray campaigns. Paul Russell, a former head of the Allied Anti-Malaria campaign, observed in 1956 that “resistance has appeared after six or seven years.”[32] Resistance has been detected in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Turkey and Central America, and it has largely been replaced by organophosphate or carbamate insecticides, e.g. malathion or bendiocarb.[97]

    In many parts of India, DDT has also largely lost its effectiveness.[98] Agricultural uses were banned in 1989 and its anti-malarial use has been declining. Urban use has halted completely.[99] Nevertheless, DDT is still manufactured and used,[100] and one study had concluded that “DDT is still a viable insecticide in indoor residual spraying owing to its effectivity in well supervised spray operation and high excito-repellency factor.

    And for a different Ugandan perspective, there is this article from the UK’s Independent newspaper by Ellady Myumbi, Secretary General, Uganda Network on Toxic Free Malaria Control (UNETMAC)

    I was compelled to write this article after reading an opinion titled “DDT use would save many lives in Uganda” published in the New Vision of June 27, 2013 by Prof. George B Kirya. I agree with Prof. Kirya that malaria is a major problem in Uganda but I reject his argument that DDT use can help eradicate it. The spiraling death rate from the malaria mortality rates in Uganda and Africa in general are not due to lack of DDT but other factors.

    Malaria is not like HIV/AIDS, Ebola or SARS which do not have known cures. It must, therefore, be confronted with the best available technologies and solutions and DDT is not such a solution. Appropriate malaria control measures should be anchored in eliminating the parasite from the human host while promoting personal hygiene and better sanitation practices. DDT is not a medical intervention and neither a preventive measure. In most cases, it is never advisable to solve a problem with another complex problem. DDT and its metabolites is a known endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC), a persistent organic pollutant (POP), a reprotoxin and a carcinogen. Previous and recent studies conducted in areas where DDT has been used for malaria vector control even at low doses reveal negative human health impacts. DDT use, therefore, will put the health of Ugandans and our already deteriorating environment at a great risk.

    The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), an international agreement aiming at the elimination of organic pollutants which accumulate in the environment, allows the use of DDT indoor residual spraying (IRS) for disease vector control such as malaria vectors only when there are no safe, affordable, effective and local available alternatives. Even then, the use must be in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Uganda and more than 170 other countries signed and ratified the Stockholm Convention. But the inventory report by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) on POPs reveals that, Uganda has no capacity to use DDT to the standards required by the WHO.

    Impassioned denunciations of the late Rachel Carson are both unhelpful and a straightforward Alinskyite demonization of someone who is no longer around to defend themselves in print or in court against defamation. She is no more responsible for the millions of deaths from malaria than is Charles Darwin for the millions who were killed in the Nazi Holocaust.

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