Millions of deaths later: The birth of the green movement and junk science

The story of how DDT was banned on the back of flimsy scientific evidence is revealing of the green movement more generally

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DDT was used to remarkable effect during WWII
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David Atherton
On 24 September 2012 15:16

But let’s look at the evidence on DDT. On breast cancer, a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997, “Plasma organochlorine levels and the risk of breast cancer”. It concluded that “Our data do not support the hypothesis that exposure to DDT and PCBs increases the risk of breast cancer.” This study is not unique.

Another supposed victim of DDT, the Birds of prey group, has had its numbers closely monitored in the U.S and the number of ospreys grew during DDT usage – from 191 in 1946, to 288 in 1956, to 457 in 1967, and 630 in 1972. A 1969 review of Organochlorine pesticides in Britain found falcon reductions had finished in 1966 despite the use of DDT. It said: “There is no close correlation between the decline in population of predatory birds, particularly the peregrine falcon and the sparrow hawk, and the use of DDT.”

Finally, the hysteria surrounding DDT and the quality of eggshells is also based on shakey ground. The Cecil, Bitman, Harris paper found no effect on eggshells, if adequate calcium is in a DDT diet. Published in Poultry Science in 1971 it concluded: “When carefully reviewed, Dr. Bitman’s study revealed that the quail in the study were fed a diet with a calcium content of only 0.56 percent (a normal quail diet consists of 2.7 percent calcium). Calcium deficiency is a known cause of thin eggshells. After much criticism, Bitman repeated the test, this time with sufficient calcium levels. The birds produced eggs without thinned shells.”

The Dr. ML Scott et al. study in 1975 concluded: “Dietary polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT and related compounds, in well controlled experiments, produced no detrimental effects upon egg shell quality”

In 2004 the late Dr. Gordon Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Entomology at San Jose State University, wrote a devastating critique and bluntly opined: “The ban on DDT, founded on erroneous or fraudulent reports and imposed by one powerful bureaucrat, has caused millions of deaths, while sapping the strength and productivity of countless human beings in underdeveloped countries. It is time for an honest appraisal and for immediate deployment of the best currently available means to control insect-borne diseases. This means DDT.”

That said, under the guidance of no-nonsense Japanese physician public health expert  Dr. Arata Kochi, the WHO is finally allowing the outside use of DDT – it is a shame that it is nearly 40 years too late. 50 million, needless, mainly child deaths later, an apology from the greens and junk scientists would not go unnoticed.

In such a scientifically-advanced world, ideology, dogma, and above all politics shield the truth. There seems, particularly within liberal-left circles, any means of denigrating capitalism, to attack profitable, economic, and socially essential products.

Communism died in 1989 but the need of Communism’s heirs, the liberal-left, remains the same: control. They seek to control our bodies with "health initiatives", dictating our food, alcohol or tobacco habits; or to control the environment we live in.

AGW global warming, climate change, whatever you wish to call it, is a new cause célèbre for the greens. Rachel Carson and the DDT scandal is yet another sordid tale of faith over science, politics over facts, and death over life. In this case a plague on your house. Of course it will be DDT free.

David Atherton is Chairman of Freedom2Choose, which seeks to protect the informed choices of consenting adults on the issues of smoking. Follow him on Twitter: @DaveAtherton20

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