Much of the anti-DDT hysteria generated by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring, and by assorted eco-activists, involved erroneous and even fraudulent scientific studies. In one, a researcher reported that mice fed DDT developed cancer – but withheld the fact that mice which were not fed DDT actually developed more cancers than did those fed DDT. The oft-cited claim that DDT caused eggshell thinning in birds resulted from lab studies in which the calcium level in the birds’ diets was only 22 percent of normal; when the calcium level was set at normal dietary levels, the same amount of DDT resulted in no thinning. In this case, the researcher corrected his own errors, but Science magazine refused to publish his new findings and its editor said he would never publish anything that was not antagonistic to DDT. The result? Millions of needless deaths every year from malaria and other infectious diseases.
Two fascinating articles reveal the truth – and make a compelling case that this life-saving pesticide must be reintroduced as a primary weapon in the global war against malaria. It is a war that we have needlessly and unconscionably been losing for the past 32 years, ever since DDT was first banned in the United States. Since then, environmental activists have been increasingly successful in preventing countries from using DDT and other pesticides to combat malaria and other killer diseases. It is an unconscionable human rights violation, and the body count continues to rise.
“DDT: A case study in scientific fraud” is the last article written by J. Gordon Edwards, Emeritus Professor of Entomology at San Jose State University, and perhaps the world’s leading authority on DDT, before his untimely death in July of this year. This article first appeared in the peer-reviewed Fall 2004 Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and is reprinted with its permission. Please see www.aapsonline.org andwww.jpands.org for information about the association and more articles on current medical issues.
The AAPS adopted a strong resolution favoring the use of DDT to combat malaria, during its October 2004 General Assembly.
“Myths and facts about DDT” is excerpted from Chapter XIV of Environmental Health Hazards: Recognition and Avoidance, by Donald E. Waite, Professor Emeritus of Public Health at Michigan State University, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on chemicals, health and the environment. It is reprinted with permission of the author.
Then read on to find out what John and Teresa Kerry think about using pesticides to fight malaria.