The Truth About DDT and Population Control

Population Control by Insect Borne Diseases.  

It is time to bring back DDT to save Africa and other impoverished areas. Although much maligned, DDT is Safe for Humans and the Environment according to extensive research.  See evidence below. 

Over 80% of infectious diseases in poor countries are carried 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, Southeast Asia, Oceana and South-Central Americas are most affected.  This unpardonable crime amounts to continuing genocide of black and brown races by western powers, which is based on the myth of overpopulation

Without these insect borne diseases and with access to clean water, populations may increase at first, but better health can facilitate the building of infrastructure and industry that can raise millions out of poverty, ignorance and hopelessness. Historically, raising people’s standard of living also stabilizes the population by reducing early childhood mortality and the need to have more children in anticipation of those loses. 

“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, Dr. Albert Schweitzer  (autobiography translated from Ma Vie et Ma Pensee)

Global Malaria Risk, 1900 to 2002[1]

Most people assume that malaria is a tropical disease, but before DDT was introduced and widely used for 30 years, malaria was prevalent worldwide as far north as Siberia. DDT worked so well that malaria and similar insect borne diseases were eradicated in most developed countries and were near eradication in poorer countries where it was used prior to DDT being banned in 1972 by the EPA. In spite of an overwhelming body of research that failed to find any harm to humans or the environment DDT was banned for political reasons.  See evidence and references below. 

 “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.” 

               — National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Research in the Life Sciences of the Committee on Science and Public Policy, The Life Sciences: Recent Progress and Application to Human Affairs, The World of Biological Research, Requirements for the Future (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1970), 432.                             (Emphasis added)

 

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 anti-human, anti-progress movement with a goal of stopping assumed overpopulation, especially in Africa, India and other impoverished countries.

The Population Bomb by Paul Erilich (1968) was a book based on Malthusian, eugenicist, racist lies, aka propaganda, that claimed worldwide catastrophic starvation would occur unless the global population was immediately reduced. None of it was true.

“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 and other infrastructure, and develop industry.

“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, co-founder of the Club of Rome, 1990

DDT was a God-send to millions at the end of WWII, saving millions.  Among other uses, it was administered directly onto soldiers’ and refugee’s clothing as a powder to fight body lice, ending a deadly Typhus epidemic.  There were no reports of harm in this practice.  It was used in developed countries to fight deadly diseases and agriculturally to increase food and fiber production. However in 1972 DDT was banned by US EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus[2] 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.”[3]

                      — 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. Source:  J. Gordon Edwards, “DDT: A Case Study in Scientific Fraud,” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 9, Number 3, Fall 2004

Beginning in the 1970’s, agencies such as USAID, UN WHO, UNESCO and the World Bank pressured leaders of poor countries to discontinue DDT as a prerequisite to receiving essential aid.  This continues to the present with exception of the UN WHO recently allowing limited spraying of interior walls in selected areas of Africa. Leaders of most poor countries felt they had no choice but to discontinue its use. India did not comply and has continued to manufacture and use DDT to periodically spray interior walls in malaria prone areas. 

Annual Malaria Deaths by Region, WHO 2016   Note that India is included in the South East Asia section

 

 

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 changed, in spite of all of the studies that failed to find harmful effects on humans or the environment.  It is much safer to handle and use, and more economical than any of the 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 Case Study in Scientific Fraud,” by J. Gordon Edwards, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004.[4]  (See link below.)

Dr. Edwards, who had been a witness in the EPA hearings, examined each of Silent Spring’s claims and found them wrong and possibly fraudulent. In his report, Dr. Edwards cites the many scientific studies on which his conclusions were based and lists them as references so that the sources can be examined by the reader.

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.
  • DDT in high doses can cause temporary, reversible tremors and liver changes.
  • Gordon Edwards was a PhD 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.

DDT is not an endocrine disrupter or estrogen mimic

  • Examples cited for this claim were of Alligators in a heavily polluted lake in Florida which showed smaller penises, but the lake received sewage which contained birth control hormones from the city of Winter Garden and other farm pollutants.
  • Other research failed to find any cause and effect link to DDT, although activists and some international organizations still claim this without evidence.

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
  • “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.”
  • 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. Other examples are given in Edwards’ report.
  • The eggshell thinning studies cited by Carson could not be replicated and had actually reduced dietary calcium, which is 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.
  • DDT is not metabolized by birds and is rapidly excreted in their droppings.
  • “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,” Donald Fleming quote from “Roots of the New Conservation Movement,” 1972, in “Reading Rachel Carson” by Charles T. Rubin, The New Atlantis, September 27, 2012.
  • DDT attaches to soil particles and does not migrate to ground water or streams due to this attachment and its insolubility in water.  EPA and CDC report that soil DDT has a half-life of 2 to 15 years due to sunlight and microbial action. Reports of longer persistence are probably mis-identification of other chlorinated substances by a non-specific test. Supposedly, DDT, which is not present in nature, was found in museum soil samples collected before it was even invented. Obviously, a mis-identification.
  • Note that “presence” does not imply harm as some advocacy groups claim. Before it was banned, DDT was widely used in agriculture and for open air fogging in malaria prone areas.

Aquatic life has not been harmed by DDT; it is practically insoluble in water, with only 1.2 ppb (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 cause the observed effect.
  • 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 from microbial action and other factors. 

Further reading

  1. “DDT: A Case Study in Scientific Fraud,” by J. Gordon Edwards, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004. Available online at: http://www.jpands.org/vol9no3/edwards.pdf
  2. “The Lies of Rachel Carson,” J. Gordon Edwards, 21st Century Science and Technology Magazine. Transcript of speech at 21st Century Science meeting, summer, 1992. Available online at https://21sci-tech.com/articles/summ02/Carson.html
  3. “The Truth about DDT and Silent Spring” by Robert Zubrin, adapted from Robert Zubrin’s book Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism,” published in 2012, in New Atlantis Books series. Online at: www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-truth-about-ddt-and-silent-spring
  4. “Reading Rachel Carson” by Charles T. Rubin, The New Atlantis, September 27, 2012; available online at https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/reading-rachel-carson

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[1] “The global distribution and population at risk of malaria: past, present, and future,” Simon I Hay et al, Lancet Volume 4, Issue 6, p327-336, June 1, 2004, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(04)01043-6

[2] Federal Register vol. 37, no. 13, Friday, July 7, 1972. Environmental Protection Agency [I. F. & R. Docket Nos. 63, etc.] Consolidated DDT Hearings, Opinion and Order of the Administrator …William D. Ruckelshaus, June 30, 1972.

[3] Actual text from 40 CFR 164.32, Environmental Protection Agency, Consolidated DDT Hearings, Hearing Examiner’s Recommended Findings, Conclusions, and Orders, April 1972. p. 93-94; Conclusions of Law: findings are as follows: (omitted 1-8 which are about adequacy of the evidence and finding that DDT was not misbranded.) “9. DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man. 10. DDT is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man. 11. The uses of DDT under the registrations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife.” (omitted 12-16 that discuss other evidence and that vacated earlier rulings of misbranding) “17. There is a present need for the continued use of DDT for the essential uses defined in this case.”   A photocopy of the original is available as a downloadable pdf file at https://www.thenewatlantis.com/docLib/20120926_SweeneyDDTdecision.pdf

[4] http://www.jpands.org/vol9no3/edwards.pdf

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