Smacking Down Malaria Misconceptions

Engineer Indur Goklany, a frequent contributor to WUWT and occasional commenter has more than a few things to say about commenter Ed Darrell’s views on Malaria posted on WUWT yesterday. There’s so much in fact, that I’ve dedicated a whole guest post to it. -Anthony

Distribution of malaria from 1900 to 2002 This map shows the results of the international eradication programs during the 20th century. In 1900, malaria was found as far north as Boston and Moscow. Today malaria is endemic in the tropical areas of Asia, the Americas, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Image: National Academy of Sciences

Guest Post by Indur Goklany

Ed Darrell has two sets of comments, one of which, I believe, is fundamentally flawed, and the other I would agree with, at the risk of being accused by Alexander Feht of being obsequious once again (See Alexander’s comment on September 11, 2010 at 11:28 am).

A. Ed Darrell on September 12, 2010 at 7:40 pm, responding to tarpon said:

In 1972, about two million people died from malaria, worldwide.

In 2008, about 880,000 people died from malaria, worldwide. That’s fewer than half the mortality the year the U.S. stopped DDT spraying on cotton.

If it’s cause-effect you were trying to establish, I think you missed.

RESPONSE: The flaws in Ed’s analysis are aplenty.

First, although the US banned DDT in 1972, its use continued in much of the rest of the world. [If I remember correctly, the Swedes had banned it earlier.] In fact, US production of DDT for developing country use continued into the mid-1980s. Also, it took a few years for US environmentalists to ensure that the US domestic ban was — in the best traditions of cultural imperialism and bearing the white man’s burden — exported to other countries [without their (informed) consent, mind you]. [Notably, the US ban was imposed only after malaria had been wiped out in the US for practical purposes. See Figure 13, here.] In addition, countries had stockpiles which they continued to use, and not all developed countries were initially on board with eliminating DDT use worldwide. Furthermore, by 2008 some developing countries that had stopped DDT use had resumed its use. So it is not meaningful to use either 1972 or 2008 as endpoints for developing global estimates for the efficacy (or lack of it) of DDT in dealing with malaria..

Second, while DDT is in many instances the cheapest and most cost-effective method of reducing malaria (where it works, because it doesn’t always work) the death and disease rates are also sensitive to other factors, none of which have remained stationary between 1972 and 2008. These factors include general health status, adequate food and nutrition, public health services, and so on. So, it makes little sense, without adequately accounting for these factors, to compare deaths for malaria (or death rates, which would be more correct) between 1972 and 2008 to say anything about the effectiveness of DDT.

Fortunately, though, we have results of some “policy experiments” which were undertaken inadvertently — undertaken, I note, without the consent of the subjects of these experiments, something that would not be allowed in any hospital in the US, I suspect. These “experiments” allow us to evaluate the benefit of DDT (or lack thereof). As noted here (pp. 7-8) in a paper published a decade ago by Africa Fighting Malaria, it was noted that:

“Given the higher costs and, possibly, the greater efficacy of DDT, it is not surprising that despite the theoretical availability of substitutes, malaria rebounded in many poor areas where (and when) DDT usage was discontinued (WHO 1999a; Roberts 1999, Roberts et al. 1997, Sharma 1996, Whelan 1992, Guarda et al. 1999, Bate 2000). For instance, malaria incidences in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) dropped from 2.8 million in the 1940s to less than 20 in 1963 (WHO 1999a, Whelan 1992). DDT spraying was stopped in 1964, and by 1969 the number of cases had grown to 2.5 million. Similarly, malaria was nearly eradicated in India in the early 1960s, and its resurgence coincided with shortages in DDT (Sharma 1996). The population at high- to medium risk of contracting malaria in Colombia and Peru doubled between 1996 and 1997 (Roberts et al. 2000b). Malaria has also reappeared in several other areas where it had previously been suppressed, if not eradicated (e.g., Madagascar, Swaziland, the two Koreas, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan; Roberts et al. 2000b, and references therein). Similarly, Roberts et al. (1997) showed that Latin American countries (e.g., Ecuador, Belize, Guyana, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and Venezuela) which had discontinued or decreased spraying of DDT inside homes saw malaria rates increase. Guarda et al. (1999) also note that in 1988, when DDT use was discontinued, there were no cases of Plasmodium falciparium reported in Loreto, Peru. The number of cases increased to 140 in 1991. By 1997, there were over 54,000 cases and 85 deaths (see, also, Goklany 2000c).

“But the best argument for indoor-spraying of DDT is that in many areas where malaria experienced a resurgence, reinstating DDT use once again led to declines in malaria cases. For example, Ecuador, which had previously seen its malaria rates rebound once DDT spraying had been reduced, saw those rates decline once again by 61 percent since 1993, when DDT use was increased again (Roberts et al. 1997). The same cycle occurred in Madagascar where the malaria epidemic of 1984-86, which occurred after the suspension of DDT use, killed 100,000 people. After two annual cycles of DDT spraying, malaria incidence declined 90 percent (Roberts et al. 2000b).”

Since then, we have results of the on-again and off-again policy with regard to DDT from KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa:

“DDT spraying in that area started in 1946. By 1974, Anopheles funestes, the mosquito species associated with year-round prevalence of malaria in that region, had been eradicated [see Figure below.]. In the 1991/1992 malaria season, the number of malaria cases was around 600 in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). However, in 1996, DDT was replaced by synthetic pyrethroids. In 1999 members of A. funestus were found in houses in KZN that had been sprayed. In 1999/2000, there were more than 40,000 cases in KZN. In 2000, DDT was brought back. By 2002, the number of cases had dropped to 3,500.” Source: Pre-edited version of Goklany (2007), pp.79-180.

See the Figure 1.

I have also provided additional references below, if one is interested in following up.

For a broader discussion, I recommend the chapter, “Applying the Precautionary Principle to DDT,” in The Precautionary Principle: A Critical Appraisal of Environmental Risk Assessment (Cato Institute, Washington, DC, 2001). A previous version of this chapter is available free at http://goklany.org/library/DDT%20and%20PP.PDF.

Figure 1: From Goklany (2007), based on R. Tren, “IRS & DDT in Africa — past and present successes,” 54th Annual Meeting, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), Washington, DC, December 11-15, 2005.

B. Ed Darrell on September 13, 2010 at 2:19 pm said, “We may not beat malaria by 2014, but it won’t be because the Gates Foundation is on the wrong path.”

RESPONSE: I agree. For a long time, malaria control was neglected. Even the World Health Organization would not recommend DDT use indoors. It was revived, and even became (almost) chic thanks to a number of very high profile individuals including George Bush and Bill Gates, as well as lesser known people such as Don Roberts, Amir Attaran, Roger Bate and Richard Tren (all associated with Africa Fighting Malaria) . I delude myself into thinking that I played a minor role in helping ensure that DDT did not get banned outright under the Stockholm Convention.

Whatever people may think of Bill Gates stance on global warming, there is little doubt that he exhibited substantial political courage in espousing malaria control with DDT. That’s essentially why I was/am disappointed by his posting that set me off on this blog.

Perhaps I should have titled my piece, “Et tu Bill Gates!”

ADDITIONAL REFERENCES

D. R. Roberts, et al. “DDT, global strategies, and a malaria control crisis in South America,” Emerging Infectious Diseases 3 (1997): 295-301 (1997).

D.R. Roberts, et al., “A Probability Model of Vector Behavior: Effects of DDT Repellency, Irritancy, and Toxicity in Malaria Control,” Journal of Vector Control 25 (2000): 48-61.

Karen I. Barnes et al., “Effect of Artemether Lumefantrine Policy and Improved Vector Control on Malaria Burden in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa,” Public Library of Science Medicine (2005): DOI 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020330.

P. E. Duffy and T. K. Mutabingwa, “Rolling Back a Malaria Epidemic in South Africa,” Public Library of Science Medicine (2005): DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020368.

R. Tren, “IRS & DDT in Africa — past and present successes,” 54th Annual Meeting, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), Washington, DC, December 11-15, 2005.

D. H. Roberts, “Policies to Stop/Prevent Indoor Residual Spraying for Malaria Control,” 54th Annual Meeting, ASTMH, Washington, DC, December 11-15, 2005.

I.M. Goklany, The Precautionary Principle: A Critical Appraisal of Environmental Risk Assessment (Cato Institute, Washington, DC, 2001). Chapter 2 deals with malaria and DDT.

Ed Darrell has two sets of comments, one of which, I believe, is fundamentally flawed, and the other I would agree with, at the risk of being accused by Alexander Feht of being obsequious once again (See Alexander’s comment on September 11, 2010 at 11:28 am).

A. Ed Darrell on September 12, 2010 at 7:40 pm, responding to tarpon said:

In 1972, about two million people died from malaria, worldwide.

In 2008, about 880,000 people died from malaria, worldwide. That’s fewer than half the mortality the year the U.S. stopped DDT spraying on cotton.

If it’s cause-effect you were trying to establish, I think you missed.

RESPONSE: The flaws in Ed’s analysis are aplenty.

First, although the US banned DDT in 1972, its use continued in much of the rest of the world. [If I remember correctly, the Swedes had banned it earlier.] In fact, US production of DDT for developing country use continued into the mid-1980s. Also, it took a few years for US environmentalists to ensure that the US domestic ban was — in the best traditions of cultural imperialism and bearing the white man’s burden — exported to other countries [without their (informed) consent, mind you]. [Notably, the US ban was imposed only after malaria had been wiped out in the US for practical purposes. See Figure 13, here.] In addition, countries had stockpiles which they continued to use, and not all developed countries were initially on board with eliminating DDT use worldwide. Furthermore, by 2008 some developing countries that had stopped DDT use had resumed its use. So it is not meaningful to use either 1972 or 2008 as endpoints for developing global estimates for the efficacy (or lack of it) of DDT in dealing with malaria..

Second, while DDT is in many instances the cheapest and most cost-effective method of reducing malaria (where it works, because it doesn’t always work) the death and disease rates are also sensitive to other factors, none of which have remained stationary between 1972 and 2008. These factors include general health status, adequate food and nutrition, public health services, and so on. So, it makes little sense, without adequately accounting for these factors, to compare deaths for malaria (or death rates, which would be more correct) between 1972 and 2008 to say anything about the effectiveness of DDT.

Fortunately, though, we have results of some “policy experiments” which were undertaken inadvertently — undertaken, I note, without the consent of the subjects of these experiments, something that would not be allowed in any hospital in the US, I suspect. These “experiments” allow us to evaluate the benefit of DDT (or lack thereof). As noted here (pp. 7-8) in a paper published a decade ago by Africa Fighting Malaria, it was noted that:

“Given the higher costs and, possibly, the greater efficacy of DDT, it is not surprising that despite the theoretical availability of substitutes, malaria rebounded in many poor areas where (and when) DDT usage was discontinued (WHO 1999a; Roberts 1999, Roberts et al. 1997, Sharma 1996, Whelan 1992, Guarda et al. 1999, Bate 2000). For instance, malaria incidences in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) dropped from 2.8 million in the 1940s to less than 20 in 1963 (WHO 1999a, Whelan 1992). DDT spraying was stopped in 1964, and by 1969 the number of cases had grown to 2.5 million. Similarly, malaria was nearly eradicated in India in the early 1960s, and its resurgence coincided with shortages in DDT (Sharma 1996). The population at high- to medium risk of contracting malaria in Colombia and Peru doubled between 1996 and 1997 (Roberts et al. 2000b). Malaria has also reappeared in several other areas where it had previously been suppressed, if not eradicated (e.g., Madagascar, Swaziland, the two Koreas, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan; Roberts et al. 2000b, and references therein). Similarly, Roberts et al. (1997) showed that Latin American countries (e.g., Ecuador, Belize, Guyana, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and Venezuela) which had discontinued or decreased spraying of DDT inside homes saw malaria rates increase. Guarda et al. (1999) also note that in 1988, when DDT use was discontinued, there were no cases of Plasmodium falciparium reported in Loreto, Peru. The number of cases increased to 140 in 1991. By 1997, there were over 54,000 cases and 85 deaths (see, also, Goklany 2000c).

“But the best argument for indoor-spraying of DDT is that in many areas where malaria experienced a resurgence, reinstating DDT use once again led to declines in malaria cases. For example, Ecuador, which had previously seen its malaria rates rebound once DDT spraying had been reduced, saw those rates decline once again by 61 percent since 1993, when DDT use was increased again (Roberts et al. 1997). The same cycle occurred in Madagascar where the malaria epidemic of 1984-86, which occurred after the suspension of DDT use, killed 100,000 people. After two annual cycles of DDT spraying, malaria incidence declined 90 percent (Roberts et al. 2000b).”

Since then, we have results of the on-again and off-again policy with regard to DDT from KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa:

“DDT spraying in that area started in 1946. By 1974, Anopheles funestes, the mosquito species associated with year-round prevalence of malaria in that region, had been eradicated [see Figure below.]. In the 1991/1992 malaria season, the number of malaria cases was around 600 in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). However, in 1996, DDT was replaced by synthetic pyrethroids. In 1999 members of A. funestus were found in houses in KZN that had been sprayed. In 1999/2000, there were more than 40,000 cases in KZN. In 2000, DDT was brought back. By 2002, the number of cases had dropped to 3,500.” Source: Pre-edited version of Goklany (2007), pp.79-180.

See the Figure 1.

I have also provided additional references below, if one is interested in following up.

For a broader discussion, I recommend the chapter, “Applying the Precautionary Principle to DDT,” in The Precautionary Principle: A Critical Appraisal of Environmental Risk Assessment (Cato Institute, Washington, DC, 2001). A previous version of this chapter is available free at http://goklany.org/library/DDT%20and%20PP.PDF.

Figure 1: From Goklany (2007), based on R. Tren, “IRS & DDT in Africa — past and present successes,” 54th Annual Meeting, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), Washington, DC, December 11-15, 2005.

B. Ed Darrell on September 13, 2010 at 2:19 pm said, “We may not beat malaria by 2014, but it won’t be because the Gates Foundation is on the wrong path.”

RESPONSE: I agree. For a long time, malaria control was neglected. Even the World Health Organization would not recommend DDT use indoors. It was revived, and even became (almost) chic thanks to a number of very high profile individuals including George Bush and Bill Gates, as well as lesser known people such as Don Roberts, Amir Attaran, Roger Bate and Richard Tren (all associated with Africa Fighting Malaria) . I delude myself into thinking that I played a minor role in helping ensure that DDT did not get banned outright under the Stockholm Convention.

Whatever people may think of Bill Gates stance on global warming, there is little doubt that he exhibited substantial political courage in espousing malaria control with DDT. That’s essentially why I was/am disappointed by his posting that set me off on this blog.

Perhaps I should have titled my piece, “Et tu Bill Gates!”

ADDITIONAL REFERENCES

D. R. Roberts, et al. “DDT, global strategies, and a malaria control crisis in South America,” Emerging Infectious Diseases 3 (1997): 295-301 (1997).

D.R. Roberts, et al., “A Probability Model of Vector Behavior: Effects of DDT Repellency, Irritancy, and Toxicity in Malaria Control,” Journal of Vector Control 25 (2000): 48-61.

Karen I. Barnes et al., “Effect of Artemether Lumefantrine Policy and Improved Vector Control on Malaria Burden in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa,” Public Library of Science Medicine (2005): DOI 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020330.

P. E. Duffy and T. K. Mutabingwa, “Rolling Back a Malaria Epidemic in South Africa,” Public Library of Science Medicine (2005): DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020368.

R. Tren, “IRS & DDT in Africa — past and present successes,” 54th Annual Meeting, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), Washington, DC, December 11-15, 2005.

D. H. Roberts, “Policies to Stop/Prevent Indoor Residual Spraying for Malaria Control,” 54th Annual Meeting, ASTMH, Washington, DC, December 11-15, 2005.

I.M. Goklany, The Precautionary Principle: A Critical Appraisal of Environmental Risk Assessment (Cato Institute, Washington, DC, 2001). Chapter 2 deals with malaria and DDT.


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164 thoughts on “Smacking Down Malaria Misconceptions

  1. I still meet people who think DDT is banned and is not used to control Malaria. There is a difference between covering the landscape in the stuff to using it where it does most good.
    James.

  2. Indur,

    I am surprised that my humble opinion attracted your attention. Who am I, after all, compared with he rich and powerful addressee of your open letter?

    Rest assured, please, that I find nothing obsequious in your new, matter-of-fact post.

    However, Mr. Gates deserved much harsher treatment on your part, and I was not the only one to express this sentiment.

    Re DDT: I can witness that in 1980s Russian (Soviet) students doing sub-Arctic railroad construction in summer months (it was a “required” hard labor, a part of the mandatory curriculum and a way of earning some additional money as well; government stipends were woefully insufficient) were protecting themselves from relentless clouds of mosquitoes (“gnooss” thee call them in Russia; they are extremely annoying northern bloodsuckers, rather small but not as small as what Americans call “no-see-ems”) by literally dipping (shoulders, head, face, and all) into the big metal barrels filled with the strong DDT solution. It worked! Just for 20-30 minutes — then you had to “dip” again — but it worked. If this particular brigade of students can serve as a control group of individuals exposed to rather extreme and frequent doses of DDT, I can attest that these people have not suffered any special consequences of this exposure during the last 30 years. Some of them perished young in Afghanistan, but that’s a different story.

  3. I guess I’m confused. I thought it fairly well established that the DDT ban was folly and has cost countless lives through our short-sighted “health” concerns. The fact that Bill Gates is touting an unproven vaccine and mosquito nets only serves to show that Bill is simply a software pirate tycoon. Some would say. I like Bill Gates. He is a success story. He tries to give back. But I’ll take the tried and true methods over more costly unproven methods any day. Nets are good. Diesel is good. DDT is very effective. Combine all three. A vaccine for the few places DDT isn’t effective and we just may kill the damned disease. But then the Malthusians would just throw a fit and find some other reason why we couldn’t/ shouldn’t destroy this disease.

  4. This article is curiously passive. Like commentary regarding the 9/11 anniversary just passed, it reads like a weather report: Al Qaeda’s Muslim terrorists remain conspicuous by their absence. Just so, from WWII to the mid-1960s DDT virtually eradicated malaria in vast swaths of the developing Third World, only to fall prey to ectopiasts’ opening salvo broadcast by Rachel Carson in her luridly alarmist “Silent Spring.”

    Tens of millions of preventable deaths later, long after Mde. Carson’s ill-informed contentions have been decisively debunked, a mentality akin to Climate Cultists’ continues to obstruct simple meliorative efforts. As Indur Goklany notes, this occurred only after malaria was safely eradicated in the U.S. Like Warmist acolytes’ decades-long sabotage of global energy economies, advocating ridiculously over-hyped “alternative sources” as save-the-planet substitutes for coal, oil, nuclear-power sources, anti-DDT forces make no secret of their Luddite sociopathic object: As Ehrlich, Holdren, Hansen, Peter Singer and others of their ilk proclaim, 80% fewer human beings aboard Spaceship Earth –not including themselves– would be a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

    As with militant Islam, the nihilist element here is very strong. But we prefer to think of such homicidal death-eaters as Thanatists, those who (as Muslim history attests) “love death more than life.” No wonder the two camps have drawn together, jihadists with increasingly violent eco-snarks of every stripe. Anyone who considers
    this analogy mere rhetoric had best look closely at Thanatists’ depraved indifference to malaria casualties over nigh-on fifty years.

  5. Alexander Feht said:

    If this particular brigade of students can serve as a control group of individuals exposed to rather extreme and frequent doses of DDT, I can attest that these people have not suffered any special consequences of this exposure during the last 30 years. Some of them perished young in Afghanistan, but that’s a different story.

    In the 60’s in Darwing, Australia, they used to send trucks around to spray DDT out in clouds during the wet season. They probably did that during the 50’s as well. I don’t know when this practice ceased. It was to keep the mosquitoes down. Didn’t seem to have any effect on people or animals despite the amount of spraying.

    I’m still alive more than 40 years after those events.

  6. John Blake says:
    September 13, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Well stated. Perhaps the passive tone is a language thing? Again, I’m confused. I didn’t think the DDT ban was in discussion because I thought it quite plain and obvious that anyone involved helping the ban literally has millions of deaths on their hands and conscious. But I also thought it obvious that they didn’t care. Is their anyone out there that can rationally defend the ban on DDT? Call them what you will, Malthusians, Luddites, psychopaths, sadists, ect. In my mind, it was blatantly intentional and simply a prelude to what is being attempted today.

  7. James Sexton says:
    September 13, 2010 at 10:24 pm
    Is their anyone out there that can rationally defend the ban on DDT?

    Actually, you have to be insane to support it, and for reasons that have nothing to do with malaria or whatever effect DDT may have no humans. When you apply DDT, or any other indiscriminate insecticide to the environment, you kill not only the mosquitoes, but all other insects, other arthropods and invertebrates, etc. Which destroys food chains and complete messes up the whole ecosystem. So yes, you don’t have as many mosquitoes as before, but that’s not an ecosystem that is going to last long. Fortunately it was banned before we had the chance to see the worst effects of this, although some classic stories remain, google “Operation Cat Drop” if you’re curious.

    One has to always think about the whole system, not about the direct short-term benefit for certain much-less-smart-than-they-think-they-are primates, short-term benefit that may turn out to be a much greater long-term disaster.

  8. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5759216/are_environmentalists_to_be_blamed.html?cat=70

    Sure to spark outrage, Dr. Rutledge, a California physician specializing in preventative medicine, chronicles the effects of the world-wide ban on the pesticide DDT in 1972, a ban inspired by the first enviro-bestseller, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962). Rutledge’s five-year-long effort is driven by his revulsion at millions of deaths, mostly of women and young children, in Africa and South East Asia, by the mosquito-borne disease, Malaria. According to a recent World Health Organization report, Malaria kills one million people annually, a disease, Rutledge confirms, that is wholly and immediately preventable.

  9. GM:: “much-less-smart-than-they-think-they-are primates”

    GM, you are not a primate then, I presume? An image of God, perhaps?

    There is nothing holy, sacred, or untouchable in any “natural ecosystem.” Most “natural ecosystems” are hostile to man, and man is the measure of all things.

    Best “natural ecosystem” is a man-managed ecosystem (most of the environmentalist fanatics never experienced any completely “natural” ecosystems, their view of our planet is as artificial as the view of marine life in an aquarium).

    Yes, the widespread use of DDT can disrupt the initial food chain by depriving species feeding on mosquito larvae of their habitual snack. Is this any excuse for not saving millions of human lives? Only in a feverish imagination of a man-hating, self-loathing quasi-religious fanatic.

    Ecosystem can (and does) adapt to man’s needs. But there is only one life for every human being, and a short one at that. If you wish to exchange your life for a frog’s, go ahead and do it. But in no way or form you can demand the same from others, and any attempts in this directions shall be ruthlessly restrained.

  10. GM:

    I just did a tour of Google looking at some of the hits for “Operation Cat Drop” and found most sites to consider it more myth than fact. A web site called catdrop.com has an interesting write up on it. It’s a great story, but in this case, I think perception and fact are strangers in the night. I agree with your salient point about eco-systems being disrupted, but the cause of eradicating malaria is noble and DDT is both effective and safe.

  11. DDT concentrates going up the foodchain and causes serious problems for many species, especially birds. We almost annihilated Haliaeetus albicilla, a type of eagle, because DDT accumulated and concentrated in the foodchain finally making the eggs so fragile that the eagles broke them accidentally while nurturing them (whatever the birds do when they sit on them to make them warm:). The situation was really bad and there were only about 30 birds left when ddt was banned and the species made a good recovery. Now I see them weekly or daily when I take my boat out to sea. My point is the stuff affects the whole foodchain and needs to be regulated pretty tightly.

    Malaria has not reappeared by the way :)

  12. Tom said on Smacking Down Malaria Misconceptions
    September 14, 2010 at 12:16 am

    1. I agree with your salient point about eco-systems being disrupted,

    2. DDT is both effective and safe

    These are absolutely contradictory statements

  13. Alexander Feht said on Smacking Down Malaria Misconceptions
    September 14, 2010 at 12:13 am

    There is nothing holy, sacred, or untouchable in any “natural ecosystem.” Most “natural ecosystems” are hostile to man, and man is the measure of all things.

    Man is a measure to all things only in the deluded antropocentrically brainwashed minds of some (OK, the majority) of the members of the species.

    The ecological reality of human existence is quite different.

    Best “natural ecosystem” is a man-managed ecosystem (most of the environmentalist fanatics never experienced any completely “natural” ecosystems, their view of our planet is as artificial as the view of marine life in an aquarium).

    LOL

    Yes, the widespread use of DDT can disrupt the initial food chain by depriving species feeding on mosquito larvae of their habitual snack. Is this any excuse for not saving millions of human lives? Only in a feverish imagination of a man-hating, self-loathing quasi-religious fanatic.

    You seem to be another one of the many here that suffers from severe reading comprehension problems. I specifically stressed the point that DDT is not specific to mosquitoes, it kills all insects, plus most other arthropods, and a lot of other invertebrates. Accordingly, the consequences are much greater than those of just eliminating mosquitoes.

    Ecosystem can (and does) adapt to man’s needs. But there is only one life for every human being, and a short one at that. If you wish to exchange your life for a frog’s, go ahead and do it. But in no way or form you can demand the same from others, and any attempts in this directions shall be ruthlessly restrained.

    Whatever doubts I had that you lack any ecological and general scientific literacy whatsoever were dispelled by that passage.

  14. We all know those kids who are perpetually in need of attention. They run around waving their arms and shouting “look at me, look at me”. They want to participate in the grown up conversations but don’t add much just noise and a limited but annoying distraction.

    The best way to deal with these children is usually to ignore them till they lose interest and go off and do other things. Deny them the oxygen of attention until they can contribute in a useful and meaningful way. If you do this your day will be much better spent.

  15. Anyway GM we’re not discussing widespread spraying for malaria prevention – we’re discussiong indoor applications to walls etc. This would not impact the “environment” you so worship. It was the “total” ban on DDT that was so inhuman, although you might argue it wasn’t a total ban according to the small print, effectively it was for small easily influenced small nations who needed DDT the most.

  16. G: “Man is a measure [of] all things only in the deluded ant[h]ropocentrically brainwashed minds of some (OK, the majority) of the members of the species.”

    I rest my case.

  17. Further to my last comment. No one has mentioned that DDT was very cheap and long lasting which meant that there was little profit for manufacturers, unlike the very dangerous replacements. Follow the money.

  18. “First, although the US banned DDT in 1972…”

    The ban was for agricultural and similar uses, but not for public health purposes.

    “For instance, malaria incidences in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) dropped from 2.8 million in the 1940s to less than 20 in 1963 (WHO 1999a, Whelan 1992). DDT spraying was stopped in 1964, and by 1969 the number of cases had grown to 2.5 million.”

    The 1969 figure I have seen is half a million, but leaving that aside, in the years after 1969 years DDT spraying was resumed in Sri Lanka, but the number of cases remained in the hundreds of thousands.

    Clearly, there were other factors at work. One was the development of resistance by mosquitos to DDT.

    For all pesticides, some organisms within a population will possess a natural resistance to the chemical, presumably as a result of genetic mutation. This allows them to survive the pesticide, and the destruction of the susceptible organisms enables the resistant ones to multiply freely without competition. In short order, you have developed a resistant strain.

    Resistance to pesticides is a common — indeed ubiquitous — phenomenon, and pesticide manufacturers and users need to develop strategies to combat it. However, in the early days of DDT use, these strategies would not have been widely used, if at all, in many places where agricultural and other uses were widespread.

  19. The largest outbreak of malaria, in terms of deaths, was in Siberia over 100 years ago. The Thames marshes were not the place to live in the 1700-1800’s due to the Ague, which was malaria by another name. Use of any chemical must be where it does most good and in the case of malaria and DDT that seems to be in the home rather than country wide broadcast regardless of effectiveness.

  20. When I was a child in Havana, Cuba in the early fifties, I couldn’t wait for the noisy jeep. It would move slowly spewing a thick yellowish-white cloud. Me and my friends would follow the jeep, hiding inside the cloud and couldn’t see each other or even our own hands in front of our noses. It was fun and it didn’t smell too bad. It was DDT.
    It is hard to imagine people defending the ban on DDT after learning it has cost tens of millions of deaths. That defines the word “fanatic”.

  21. Thought provoking post, well done.

    Volt Aire says:
    September 14, 2010 at 12:29 am
    DDT concentrates going up the foodchain and causes serious problems for many species, especially birds. We almost annihilated Haliaeetus albicilla, a type of eagle, because DDT accumulated and concentrated in the foodchain finally making the eggs so fragile that the eagles broke them accidentally while nurturing them (whatever the birds do when they sit on them to make them warm:).

    As I understand it, there is in fact no SCIENTIFIC evidence that DDT caused, or causes, thinning of egg shells of birds or any other creature – try Steve Milloy’s Junkscience for info. Eagles, & many other birds of prey were under pressure from changes in agricultural pratices (NOT the use of DDT) & hunting & habitat destrcution as they were considered pests & vermin, long before DDT was commercially available as a pesticide. As pointed out by Prof John Brignall on Numberwatch regarding DDT, there are ALWAYS “abuses” regardless of benefit, (Does not James Hanson abuse his privileged position?). Can anyone out there point to anything that is not abused at some stage or other? I also understand that Rachel Carson, ( I am no fan) although prone like so many politcally motivated activists to pick & choose her data & agruments to achieve her own ends, (thinning of eggshells etc) was indeed in favour of some “controlled” use of DDT for malaria eradication.

    Prof Paul Rieter, a leading expert on vector borne diseases & IPCC contributor, has pointed out that malaria is more related to socio-economic conditions, rather than temperature (heat) related, as the UK HoP & Washigton Senate/HoR buildings are built on former malarial swamps! The inference is that wealth = health! That wonderful yet blinkered/eco-infested institution, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, has recently started a programme of coastal swamp creation for bird habitats, ideal environments for the malarial mosquito no less! Who says stupidity is the privilege of the poor?

  22. I am surprised that the excellent Rotary Internationl programme to eradicate Malaria never gets mentioned in the blogosphere or in the MSM. All the research I have seen indicates that Rachel Carson and her book ‘Silent Spring’ were inderctly responsible for literally millions of infant deaths in the undeveloped world.
    And the MSM is STILL holding up the dear old Polar Bear as an endangered species, now joined by the Arctic Fox. This is possibly where GM gets some of his attention-seeking nonscience.

  23. @GM

    Forgive my asking – I’m a newbie to this whole subject, but you say

    ‘Fortunately it was banned before we had the chance to see the worst effects of this’

    So the obvious question is ‘How do you know what the worst effects would have been?’

    And it seems to me that preventing millions of human deaths vs saving a few little known eagles would have been a very good deal (unless you happen to be an unborn eagle…but of they never got born, who cares anyway?)

  24. GM,

    “Whatever doubts I had that you lack any ecological and general scientific literacy whatsoever were dispelled by that passage.”

    So, you no longer doubt that he lacks ecological and scientific literacy?

  25. Oh dear, you are losing the ‘argument’ that the global temperatures are rising due to AGWso it’s back to the old chestnut about DDT (which was being progressively withdrawn from use due to resistance before the environmental reasons anyway).
    What next now we don’t have the much heralded by WUWT ‘Great Arctic Ice recovery’, how about CFC’s, always a good one!

  26. Here in Ohio, (and other places) there’s a lot of moaning and wailing about the resurgence of bedbugs. You hear more and more people saying we need to bring back DDT to get rid of the pests.

    Bedbugs are a nuisance, but they don’t kill people. How ironic would it be if we refuse to produce DDT to reduce a deadly disease in the third world, but bring it back to combat an inconvenience at home?

    Ed

  27. @anthony

    “The flaws in Ed’s analysis are aplenty”

    That’s what Ed is all about. I’ve run into him several times over the years. He’s a fixture, like a post turtle, in Texas public education controversy with regard to evolution. A high school history teacher as I recall with a penchant for saying some pretty dumb things about science. I remember one time he was blathering about how important it was for Texas children to understand evolution so that they’d understand agriculture in the state and he used Texas’ famous Ruby Red grapefruit as an example. Then when I tried to explain to him how the citrus industry relies on grafting not breeding and even if the Ruby Red were the result of breeding (which they are not) evolutionary biology gives no aid in understanding what’s happening. Just plain old reproductive biology, Mendelian genetics and recombination, explains what goes on in selective breeding i.e. you can change allele frequencies through selective breeding but you can’t get novel new traits to show up unless the genes for the trait were already there in the first place.

  28. Alexander K – Despite the claims of some of her defenders, nobody has ever found a quote or comment by Rachel Carson which advocated the use of any DDT in any circumstances. Her book “Silent Spring” was vehemently against all use of DDT because she believed that as well as damage to wildlife such as eagles, any contact with humans must be avoided since it causes many diseases such as cancer. Carson did not like any chemical pesticides, but you can find in her book a grudging admission that some less dangerous pesticides could be used in controlled areas.

    However since Carson died in 1964, long before the campaign against DDT got fully under way, it is silly to blame her for all the problems caused by her book. It is not her fault that mistakes in Silent Spring about the harmful effects of DDT continued to be used against it, long after they had been debunked.

    The use of the word “ban” is also a bit problematic. In most developing countries DDT was never legally banned – but the all international agencies made their own decisions not to use to DDT, and persuaded the governments not to buy it. In theory a parent would not have been banned from buying his own tin of DDT for use in his home, but that was impossible in reality.

  29. Mary Hing, are you kidding? One article about DDT sandwiched between two about the environment and suddenly we’re “losing the argument”? Did you not read the strapline for WUWT? It’s right there at the top of the page…

  30. How about the current bed bug epidemic in north america? that is a direct result of the ignorant knee-jerk reaction to a fairy story about DDT, I wonder how much DDT is on the black market today?

  31. @Alan the Brit, DDT and the food chain

    The eagles were an example because I happen to live in the exact area where the last few were trying to breed, the problem is of course global. I just figured writing something I know about rather than read about is the thing to do if there is an option :)

    About this issue being junk science, that is pretty cheap. The bird in question was in the extremely endangered -list and had no natural enemies. It had no affect on human livelihoods either and the fine for killing one was in the thousands… And all known examples were being watched. The eggs were found to be broken on almost all the nests and measured to be much thinner than normally. The problem was remedied by setting up feeding areas with food that wouldn’t have biologically enriched DDT, in other words changing their diet from fish to rabbits etc. The results quickly started to show on the following years and now there are over 1500 eagles in the area, no more feeding, no more ddt, no more failed breedings due to thin eggshells. Makes sense to me :) And like I already said, there are places where DDT:s pros outweigh the cons, here it wasn’t so.

  32. @Mary Hinge, I see a lot of ad hominem in reply forums on the Web, including here. Although most respondents on WUWT appear well informed and have good debating skills. Then someone like you shows up. Anyone who has read and researched the articles on this site would not be claiming that Anthony and the guest bloggers are “losing” the AGW argument. Repeating your views does not make them true. WUWT is about facts. Do you have any?

  33. I see GM and unHinged Mary are buzzing around this thread too…

    OK, GM: We used tons of DDT around my home town (up near Chico where Anthony lives) when I was kid. We used to go play in the ‘fog’ behind the jeeps that sprayed it around town when the ‘skeeters got too thick. Strangely, never seemed to do anything to the cockroaches in the bad neighborhoods nor the flies on the farms around town (“town” was about 2 miles wide on the long axis…). It would seem that the “range” of DDT is far smaller than you expect.

    Further, nearby was a “State Waterfowl Area” and hunters would come hundreds of miles to hunt the ducks and geese in the area. We had LOADS of birds, including raptors. No, not a scientific study, but a ‘reality check’. In one of the places most soaked in DDT, we had little visible impact from it on non-target species.

    Why all the spraying? Because California is a Malaria Zone. It is largely gone from here thanks to the Mosquito Abatement Districts and their spray and educate plans. Dumping standing water, putting mosquito fish in water tanks and ponds, and spraying. The native mosquito is just dandy at hosting malaria and is found up to nearly 7000 ft elevation. That’s about 1/2 way up Squaw Valley skii slopes…

    The ’49ers had severe Malaria outbreaks. Even up into Alaska. Malaria has little to do with average heat and a lot to do with killing mosquitos. That map at the top of the page, had it begun in 1800, would have shown a lot more malaria in California…

    Oh, and Mary, the only “losing” that’s gone on lately is the complete loss of credibility of the “climate science” brigade post ClimateGate. I remind you that when Obama raised the issue in his SOTU address it was greeted with a murmur of laughter…. CRU has by it’s own email been shown to be biasing the journals and cooking the books.

    GIStemp is, well, I’ll be polite: a data fabricator that contributes nearly nothing of value to the data. And GHCN Adjusted is shown to be dramatically out of touch with actual historical records. We had NASA announcing the 115 year record heat in California and the West with nearly no record temperatures here. Kind of stands out a mite… They are riddled with ‘splice artifacts’ and they do not even do proper ‘anomaly’ calculations (comparing a given instrument to itself) but instead compare a box of thermometers in one time period to a different box in another time period. Like comparing my old VW to my present Mercedes sports car and finding that cars are going faster over time.

    Then there is that small mater of adjustments that make the temperature data look like hockey stick… Oh, and a clean ‘self to self’ anomaly comparison finds a nice ‘hockey blade’ on the data starting about 1987-1990. Right when new “QA” processes started and the thermometers were largely kept at airports and tossed elsewhere; grievously polluting the data. So given that the data we have are crap, it’s not really possible to say with certainty what is happening to the temperatures.

    What we have is a load of lousy “climate science” coming to light and a bunch of folks trying to put lipstick on the pig and call it “peer reviewed”. Among them the claim that malaria will increase from added warmth. Like, maybe it will only be 10 F instead of 8F on the slopes of Squaw Valley next year?

    Somehow I’m not worried…

  34. As far as I am awarer it is not banned for publichealth use.

    http://www.malaria.org/DDTpage.html

    WHO Note for the Press No 15 28 November 2000
    DDT USE IN MALARIA PREVENTION AND CONTROL

    http://www.malaria.org/whopressreleaseddt1100.html

    DDT still has an important role to play in saving lives and reducing the burden of malaria in some of the world’s poorest countries, states the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the international community considers phasing it out.

    More than 120 governments, inter-governmental and non-government agencies are meeting next week (December 4-9) in Johannesburg, South Africa, to finalize an international treaty to reduce and/or eliminate the production and use of 12 persistent organic pollutants, including DDT.

    WHO has been working in collaboration with the United Nations Environment …Although DDT has been banned from agricultural use in most countries since the 1970s due to its damaging effects on the environment, it continues to be used in limited quantities for public health purposes. For many malaria-affected countries, responsible DDT use is a vital strategy for preventing malaria transmission and controlling epidemics. Countries continue to use DDT primarily because they cannot afford reliable alternatives or do not have the capacity to develop them.

    In order to ensure that treaty restriction on DDT will not result in an increase in malaria deaths, WHO and the Roll Back Malaria partnership (RBM) are encouraging the negotiators to support time-limited exemptions for the public health use of DDT. In addition WHO is calling for new financial resources to aid in the development of and orderly transition to cost-effective alternatives to DDT for malaria vector control.
    …”WHO recommends that DDT should be used only for indoor residual spraying and every step must be taken to prevent DDT from being diverted to agricultural uses,” says Dr Heymann.

    http://www.gladwell.com/2001/2001_07_02_a_ddt.htm

    DDT killed some and not other bugs leading to bed bugs ! etc.
    In Malaysian villages, the roofs of the houses were a thatch of palm fronds called atap. They were expensive to construct, and usually lasted five years. But within two years of DDT spraying the roofs started to fall down. As it happened, the atap is eaten by caterpillar larvae, which in turn are normally kept in check by parasitic wasps. But the DDT repelled the wasps, leaving the larvae free to devour the atap.
    In Greece, in the late nineteen-forties, for example, a malariologist noticed Anopheles sacharovi mosquitoes flying around a room that had been sprayed with DDT. In time, resistance began to emerge in areas where spraying was heaviest. To the malaria warriors, it was a shock. “Why should they have known?” Janet Hemingway, an expert in DDT resistance at the University of Wales in Cardiff, says. “It was the first synthetic insecticide. They just assumed that it would keep on working, and that the insects couldn’t do much about it.”

    http://www.gladwell.com/2001/2001_07_02_a_ddt.htm

    DDT killed some and not other bugs leading to bed bugs ! etc.
    In Malaysian villages, the roofs of the houses were a thatch of palm fronds called atap. They were expensive to construct, and usually lasted five years. But within two years of DDT spraying the roofs started to fall down. As it happened, the atap is eaten by caterpillar larvae, which in turn are normally kept in check by parasitic wasps. But the DDT repelled the wasps, leaving the larvae free to devour the atap.
    In Greece, in the late nineteen-forties, for example, a malariologist noticed Anopheles sacharovi mosquitoes flying around a room that had been sprayed with DDT. In time, resistance began to emerge in areas where spraying was heaviest. To the malaria warriors, it was a shock. “Why should they have known?” Janet Hemingway, an expert in DDT resistance at the University of Wales in Cardiff, says. “It was the first synthetic insecticide. They just assumed that it would keep on working, and that the insects couldn’t do much about it.”

    This Blog Linked From Here The Web
    This Blog
    Linked From Here
    .The Web
    .
    Showing newest posts with label ddt. Show older posts Showing newest posts with label ddt. Show older postsWednesday, 17 February 2010
    More DDT guff

    http://www.malaria.org/DDTpage.html

    WHO Note for the Press No 15 28 November 2000
    DDT USE IN MALARIA PREVENTION AND CONTROL

    http://www.malaria.org/whopressreleaseddt1100.html

    DDT still has an important role to play in saving lives and reducing the burden of malaria in some of the world’s poorest countries, states the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the international community considers phasing it out.

    More than 120 governments, inter-governmental and non-government agencies are meeting next week (December 4-9) in Johannesburg, South Africa, to finalize an international treaty to reduce and/or eliminate the production and use of 12 persistent organic pollutants, including DDT.

    WHO has been working in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide treaty negotiators with information on the health and environmental issues associated with DDT as well as the current use of DDT in malaria control.

    Although DDT has been banned from agricultural use in most countries since the 1970s due to its damaging effects on the environment, it continues to be used in limited quantities for public health purposes. For many malaria-affected countries, responsible DDT use is a vital strategy for preventing malaria transmission and controlling epidemics. Countries continue to use DDT primarily because they cannot afford reliable alternatives or do not have the capacity to develop them.

    In order to ensure that treaty restriction on DDT will not result in an increase in malaria deaths, WHO and the Roll Back Malaria partnership (RBM) are encouraging the negotiators to support time-limited exemptions for the public health use of DDT. In addition WHO is calling for new financial resources to aid in the development of and orderly transition to cost-effective alternatives to DDT for malaria vector control.

    According to Dr David Heymann, WHO Executive Director for Communicable Diseases: “Time limited exemptions are critically important to the ultimate success of this treaty. Countries that are currently using DDT for malaria vector control need the time and the resources to identify and implement the alternatives that work for them.”

    WHO emphasizes the importance of assuring that DDT is used only for public health vector control and in accordance with WHO guidelines.

    “WHO recommends that DDT should be used only for indoor residual spraying and every step must be taken to prevent DDT from being diverted to agricultural uses,” says Dr Heymann. “Projections suggest that the amounts of DDT needed for malaria control are a very small fraction of what has been used in the past for agricultural purposes.”

    WHO is working with malaria-affected countries and other Roll Back Malaria partners to develop a systematic approach to reducing reliance on DDT while assuring that people continue to be protected from malaria.

    WHO states that reducing reliance on DDT needs to be part of an overall strategy of strengthening malaria control. There is a need building robust capacity for malaria control at country level that supports the development and utilization of a range of methods to prevent malaria transmission that are cost-effective, sustainable and rely less on chemicals in general.

    In addition to the issue of exemptions, negotiators in Johannesburg will be discussing the financial and technical resources required to implement the treaty. According to Dr Heymann, “The countries that rely on DDT are some of the poorest in the world. Without additional resources they will be unable to make much progress in reducing reliance on DDT. We hope that the treaty will result in significant new funding in the coming years, in the meantime we must look to all available sources.”

    With the assistance of the RBM partnership, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama have already mobilized $750,000 for reducing reliance on DDT, as part of a regional project supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The partnership is also seeking resources for similar efforts across Africa and Asia
    ——-
    DDT leaves stains on mud walls, which was the primary
    reason South Africa’s malaria control program replaced
    the use of DDT in 1996 with another chemical class—
    synthetic pyrethroids—although pressure from environmentalists
    certainly contributed.

    http://www.aei.org/docLib/20071102_22368HPO14Bate_g.pdf

    Posted by thefordprefect at 18:31 0 comments
    Labels: ddt
    Tuesday, 18 August 2009
    DDT

    from 1941

    http://www.archive.org/stream/ddtkillerofkille00zimmrich/ddtkillerofkille00zimmrich_djvu.txt

    Resistance is mentioned but not seen at that time.

    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2007/11/08/100-things-about-ddt-dissecting-10/

    DDT is a persistent poison – it does not quickly break down to safe compounds.

    Mosquitoes breed rapidly and DDT resistant strains were developing. To continue to spray DDT to eradicate the non resistant mosquitoes would be pointless. Why poison the world eradicating fewer and fewer mosquitoes

    From 1952:

    http://www.ajtmh.org/cgi/content/abstract/1/3/389

    http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/control_prevention/vector_control.htm

    Resistance to DDT and dieldrin and concern over their environmental impact led to the introduction of other, more expensive insecticides. As the eradication campaign wore on, the responsibility for maintaining it was shifted to endemic countries that were not able to shoulder the financial burden. The campaign collapsed and in many areas, malaria soon returned to pre-campaign levels

    an interesting bit:

    http://www.gladwell.com/2001/2001_07_02_a_ddt.htm

    DDT killed some and not other bugs leading to bed bugs ! etc.
    In Malaysian villages, the roofs of the houses were a thatch of palm fronds called atap. They were expensive to construct, and usually lasted five years. But within two years of DDT spraying the roofs started to fall down. As it happened, the atap is eaten by caterpillar larvae, which in turn are normally kept in check by parasitic wasps. But the DDT repelled the wasps, leaving the larvae free to devour the atap.
    In Greece, in the late nineteen-forties, for example, a malariologist noticed Anopheles sacharovi mosquitoes flying around a room that had been sprayed with DDT. In time, resistance began to emerge in areas where spraying was heaviest. To the malaria warriors, it was a shock. “Why should they have known?” Janet Hemingway, an expert in DDT resistance at the University of Wales in Cardiff, says. “It was the first synthetic insecticide. They just assumed that it would keep on working, and that the insects couldn’t do much about it.”

    http://www.pan-uk.org/pestnews/Actives/ddt.htm

    Human exposure
    Analysis of human fat has been carried out occasionally in the UK showing that DDT can persist for many years. Analysis of 203 samples of mostly renal fat showed 99% contained detectable residues of DDT (see table 3)(24). Many of the levels found are above effect-level exposures required to elicit a carcinogenic response in test animals (see mice studies above). They are also well above the life-time safety exposure limit ADI of 0.02 mg/kg body weight.

    Birds
    DDT and its metabolites can lower the reproductive rate of birds by causing eggshell thinning which leads to egg breakage, causing embryo deaths. Sensitivity to DDT varies considerably according to species(35). Predatory birds are the most sensitive. In the US, the bald eagle nearly became extinct because of environmental exposure to DDT. According to research by the World Wildlife Fund and the US EPA, birds in remote locations can be affected by DDT contamination. Albatross in the Midway islands of the mid-Pacific Ocean show classic signs of exposure to organochlorine chemicals, including deformed embryos, eggshell thinning and a 3% reduction in nest productivity. Researchers found levels of DDT in adults, chicks and eggs nearly as high as levels found in bald eagles from the North American Great Lakes(36).

    Resistance
    Many insect species have developed resistance to DDT. The first cases of resistant flies were known to scientists as early as 1947, although this was not widely reported at the time(39). In the intervening years, resistance problems increased mostly because of over-use in agriculture. By 1984 a world survey showed that 233 species, mostly insects, were resistant to DDT(40). Today, with cross resistance to several insecticides, it is difficult to obtain accurate figures on the situation regarding the number of pest species resistant to DDT

    40 years ago, in 1969, DDT was freely available world wide. Sweden banned the stuff from agricultural use in 1970; the U.S. followed with a ban on agricultural use of DDT, especially sprayed from airplanes. DDT for fighting malaria has always been a feature of the U.S. ban. As a pragmatic matter, DDT manufacture on U.S. shores continued for more than a dozen years after the restrictions on agricultural use of the stuff. In an ominous twist, manufacture in the U.S. continued through most of 1984, right up to the day the Superfund Act made it illegal to dump hazardous substances without having a plan to clean it up or money to pay for clean up — on that day the remaining manufacturing interests declared bankruptcy to avoid paying for the environmental damage they had done. See the Pine River, Michigan Superfund site, or the Palos Verdes and Montrose Chemical Superfund sites in California, the CIBA-Geigy plant in McIntosh, Alabama, and sites in Sand Creek, Colorado, Portland, Oregon, and Aberdeen, North Carolina, for examples.

    http://www.ehs.ucsb.edu/units/labsfty/labrsc/lstoxicology.htm

    TOXICITY RATING CHART (oral)
    Toxicity Rating Oral Acute LD50 for Rats
    Extremely toxic 1 mg/kg or less (e.g., dioxin, butulin toxin)
    Highly toxic 1 to 50 mg/kg (e.g., strychnine)
    Moderately toxic 50 to 500 mg/kg (e.g., DDT)
    Slightly toxic 0.5 to 5 gm/kg (e.g., morphine)
    Practically nontoxic 5 to 15 gm/kg (e.g., ethyl alcohol)

    DDT was abandoned not because of greenies but because
    it was becoming ineffective
    It was killing other beneficial bugs.
    the money dried up
    It was being improperly applied
    ======================

    Rehabilitating Carson
    John Quiggin
    24th May 2008 — Issue 146
    Why do some people continue to hold Rachel Carson responsible for millions of malaria deaths?
    …Yet Carson has also been accused of killing more people than Hitler. Her detractors hold her responsible for a “ban” on the use of the insecticide DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), which, they claim, halted a campaign that was on the verge of eradicating malaria in the 1960s.

    Some mainstream journalists have accepted this story, which in turn has led to pressure on the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other bodies to change policies and personnel. Yet perhaps the most striking feature of the claim against Carson is the ease with which it can be refuted. It takes only a few minutes with Google to discover that DDT has never been banned for anti-malarial uses, and that it is in use in at least 11 countries.

    It takes only a little more time to discover that the postwar attempt to eradicate malaria by the spraying of DDT was a failure, largely because Carson’s warnings that overuse of insecticides would lead to the development of resistance in mosquito populations were ignored. Modern uses of insecticides are far closer to the methods advocated by Carson than to the practices she criticised

  35. The old saw about, “DDT persists in the enviroment and never goes away..” was destroyed when samples of soil were found (I believe U. of Michigan agronomy dept.) about 20 years ago. Sealed in glass. Analysis showed 10 PPM DDT…which is the “typical” found in soil everywhere. Fortunately the samples were sealed in 1910, well before DDT was produced.

    Therefore there is some natural agency which produces DDT.

    And it doesn’t just disperse and stay residual.

    File under: One more claim about DDT which is nonsense (note: 10 PPM or 10 PPB of DDT in all top soil world wide, works out to more DDT than was EVER produced!)

  36. I have a sneaking suspicion that extreme greenies want DDT to stay banned as a method of population control. That’s just my view, or is it?

    Dr. Charles Wurster, former chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, was once asked if he thought a ban on DDT might result in the use of more dangerous chemicals and more malaria cases in Sri Lanka. He replied, “Probably–so what? People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and this is as good a way as any.”
    more…

    and we have some other excellent quotes:

    “My three main goals would be to reduce human population to
    about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure
    and see wilderness, with it’s full complement of species,
    returning throughout the world.”
    -Dave Foreman,
    co-founder of Earth First!

    ———

    “A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells;
    the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people.
    We must shift our efforts from the treatment of the symptoms to
    the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many
    apparently brutal and heartless decisions.”
    – Prof Paul Ehrlich,
    The Population Bomb

    ———

    “I don’t claim to have any special interest in natural history,
    but as a boy I was made aware of the annual fluctuations in
    the number of game animals and the need to adjust
    the cull to the size of the surplus population.”
    – Prince Philip,
    preface of Down to Earth

    ———

    “A total population of 250-300 million people,
    a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”
    – Ted Turner,
    founder of CNN and major UN donor

    ———

    “… the resultant ideal sustainable population is hence
    more than 500 million but less than one billion.”
    – Club of Rome,
    Goals for Mankind

    ———

    “One America burdens the earth much more than
    twenty Bangladeshes. This is a terrible thing to say.
    In order to stabilize world population,we must eliminate
    350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say,
    but it’s just as bad not to say it.”
    – Jacques Cousteau,
    UNESCO Courier

    ———

    “If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth
    as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”
    – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,
    patron of the World Wildlife Fund

    and finally

    “I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong.
    It played an important part in balancing ecosystems.”
    – John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal
    source

    I bet there were some who were rooting for the Ebola virus. :o)

  37. Alexander Feht says “The best “natural ecosystem” is a man-managed ecosystem.”

    I’m unconvinced that man has warmed the planet with fossil fuels, but don’t under-estimate our ability to screw up the planet. The best natural ecosystem is one that is left alone to evolve naturally. There probably aren’t too many of those left.

    GM was pointing out the problem of focusing only on one thing, such as killing mosquitoes, without regard for what the poison is doing to the rest of the ecosystem.

    Treating malaria is a trade-off. In this case the benefit (human life) is well worth the risk (ecosystem disruption). But we shouldn’t be so quick to adapt this policy to everything we do.

    In British Columbia forestry gurus have been planting pine trees for years after they cut down the spruce trees (apparently pine grows faster than spruce I’m told). Now they have a serious pine beetle problem (pine beetles are natural to the area). This man-managed ecosystem isn’t doing very well as the pine trees are dying in record numbers. Luckily the real cause of the pine beetle infestation is global warming and not poor forestry management so we’re OK. Just one example.

  38. The obvious intention of those who banned DDT was “eugenic”: To avoid the reproduction of those “inferior” third worlders. However, those nasty and despicable sub-humans lend every day money for the US to survive, while they are dedicated to more developed activities as aborting their pregnant women, getting married among same sex individuals, chopping new born babies to make “stem cells´research”, etc,etc. and if some have the chance to survive, they teach them to kill among themselves with “computer games”, a method which kid serious apply and follow when going to school, and, if still surviving from these delicacies of the culture prevailing in their country, they are sent to wherever there is the possibility of that mutual killing called “war” to make possible they get killed before reaching adulthood; and, if some succeed in being still alive after all this eugenic methods devised by their hidden elites, then, and only then, they are allowed to be “free” slaves of their elites with the sole condition of paying a contribution called “taxation” and which amounts to more than 60% of what their masters agree to give them as fair “payment” for their unstoppable work.

  39. What is being missed is that DDT is relatively non-toxic in comparison to other insect fighting chemicals. It doesn’t kill mosquitoes, it repels them… to OUTSIDE the home living environment. This is why intelligent application, spraying indoors, is the wisest method. DDT is not as toxic, nor as irritating, as other solutions… it acts by REPELLING the mossies.

    Here is an actual study, including mosquito death rates for various anti-mosquito chemicals. Clearly (under Discussion heading) DDT is not the hazzard we all assume it is. http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0000716#s3

    Ultimately this is what the authors say… “To date, a truly efficacious DDT replacement has not been found and one may never be found because of the true nature in which DDT functions. Success through the mechanism of spatial repellency means that DDT functions as a form of chemical screening, which stops mosquitoes from entering houses and thus breaks the man/vector contact at its most critical point: when people are sleeping in their homes. DDT’s secondary action stimulates those mosquitoes that do enter to prematurely exit, potentially without biting and transmitting disease. Toxicity is only a third order action of DDT and it is considered to be a very poor killing agent.

    If sprayed indoors, no eagles will be harmed!

    All the best…….. Jeff

  40. Dave Springer says:
    September 14, 2010 at 4:05 am

    …..Just plain old reproductive biology, Mendelian genetics and recombination, explains what goes on in selective breeding i.e. you can change allele frequencies through selective breeding but you can’t get novel new traits to show up unless the genes for the trait were already there in the first place.
    __________________________________________________
    Unless you use radiation to produce genetic mutations or the more recent innovation, gene splicing from other species.

    Natural radiation will cause genetic mutations. Vets were surprised to find that the 60 to 70% conception rate in horses was not caused by no pregnancy but by spontaneous abortion in the first few weeks Natures way of getting rid of damaged fetuses???

  41. Jimbo says:
    September 14, 2010 at 5:40 am

    “I have a sneaking suspicion that extreme greenies want DDT to stay banned as a method of population control. That’s just my view, or is it?”

    Great list. You could also have added the following:
    “The humans species is distinct from all others in the following way: all other species achieve a balance with their enviroment. But the human species has the atrribute that it will multiply unchecked, and continue to consume until every resource is exhausted, leaving only a wasteland behind. It then moves on to repeat the cycle. I have tried to find another species that has the same attributes, and have found one other – that other species is the virus.” (Agent Smith, The Matrix).

  42. Malaria is transmitted because certain species of mosquito cannot digest the parasite when it passes into their duodenum. Making a very small ‘correction’ of the DNA of the relevant mosquitoes will allow them to digest the parasite like almost all others of their ilk. Fortunately the lifestyle of the parasite is so complex there are multiple points for disruption. It is generally agreed that implementing two disruptions at once would make it impossible for the parasite to adapt.

    Are we green enough to allow the widespread release of Plasmodium-digesting mozzies and end the disease permanently, or are we so Green we will leave goddess mother nature alone to ‘do her thing’? If so we will continue to see millions of our fellows die a painful death, sacrificed on the altar of Natural Purity or some such.

    Feeling green…….

  43. To Alan the Brit (2:09) —

    There is plenty of scientific evidence that DDT caused eggshells to thin to the extent that many birds, especially large ones, broke the egg shells. Do yourself a favor, don’t get your science from Junkscience.com or Steve Malloy. It’s just as bad as getting it from Michael Mann. Lots of bad science needs to be attacked, but Malloy is like the mirror image of Gavin Schmidt. Here is an example of how to demolish myths while maintaining your scientific integrity:

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2010/09/13/coral-bleaching/

    When I first read Malloy to the effect that DDT didn’t cause any harm to eggshells, I went back to original literature. I found lots of studies where scientists compared eggs of birds who ingested DDT vs. those who didn’t (controlled experiments, not wild birds), and found that the eggshells were thinner and more fragile from birds who ingested DDT. The studies also found a biological mechanism by which DDT caused eggshell thinning. And it wasn’t just bald eagles, but it was peregrine falcons and other large birds as well that suffered huge population declines.

    So the ban on widespread use of DDT across the country was a good idea.

    But that doesn’t mean that a ban on DDT applied inside thatch huts in Africa is a also good idea, in fact it is a terrible idea because it could prevent so many deaths, without causing harm in the general ecosystem.

  44. I don’t support the use of DDT because it is not specific to malaria carrying bugs. I like bugs and bug predators. In fact there are several species of bugs that I like better than some humans I know.

    Wear protective lightweight clothing or use bug repellent during the day and sleep inside a net at night. Keep water barrels covered and don’t set up camp near ponds and lakes. Use bug traps.

  45. Here’s my malaria misconceptions smackdown. Malaria is not only a tropical disease though it is thought to have originated in West Africa.

    “…..sometimes common throughout Europe as far north as the Baltic and northern Russia.
    Transmission was high in many parts of Siberia, and there were 30,000 cases and 10,000 deaths due to falciparum infection (the most deadly malaria parasite) in Archangel, close to the Arctic circle. Malaria persisted in many parts of Europe until the advent of DDT.”
    Professor Paul Reiter, Institut Pasteur
    See also Malaria in Finland, Russia and Sweden – 1800–1870 [pdf]

    ————-

    “A total of 1,803 persons died of malaria in the western parts of Finland and in the south-western archipelago during the years 1751–1773 [23]. Haartman [21] reports severe epidemics in the region of Turku in the years 1774–1777 and the physician F.W. Radloff mentioned that malaria was very common in the Aland Islands in 1795 [39].”
    Huldén et al – 2005 Malaria Journal

    ————-

    “Global warming and malaria: a call for accuracy”
    Dr, Prof Paul Reiter et al

    ————-

    “[Canada] But, in the 1800s, particularly along the Rideau and Cataraqui Rivers, malaria was rampant.”
    Mysteries of Canada

    ————-

    “Anopheles atroparvus may have maintained malaria endemicity into the present century in certain coastal localities in southern Sweden. ”
    Jaenson, Thomas G.T et al – 1986

    ————-

    Malaria was once common in marshland communities in central and southern England between 1500 and 1800, before finally disappearing in the early 1900s [8].”
    Steven W Lindsay et al – 2010

    ————-

    “The advent of DDT revolutionized malaria control by targeting the home, leading to widespread eradication of the disease from Europe and North America. By 1975, Europe and North America were entirely free of endemic malaria.”
    AEI

    ————-

    “From Shakespeare to Defoe: malaria in England in the Little Ice Age.”
    “From 1564 to the 1730s the coldest period of the Little Ice Age malaria was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England. Transmission began to decline only in the 19th century, when the present warming trend was well under way.”
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    “The wealth of records in this period confirms that the disease was common at many coastal sites in England and in some parts of Scotland…”

    Yet we have this utter nonsense research seeking funds I suspect:

    “There is strong evidence that malaria was once indigenous to the UK, that global warming is occurring, and that human activity is contributing to global warming. Global warming will have a variety of effects, one of which will probably be the return of indigenous malaria. “

    Helloooooooo. Indigenous malaria was rampant in the UK during much colder periods. Helloooo, anybody home??????? Try and read some history

  46. Max Hugoson says on September 14, 2010 at 5:12 am

    The old saw about, “DDT persists in the enviroment and never goes away..” was destroyed when samples of soil were found (I believe U. of Michigan agronomy dept.) about 20 years ago. Sealed in glass. Analysis showed 10 PPM DDT…which is the “typical” found in soil everywhere. Fortunately the samples were sealed in 1910, well before DDT was produced.

    Therefore there is some natural agency which produces DDT.

    And it doesn’t just disperse and stay residual.

    File under: One more claim about DDT which is nonsense (note: 10 PPM or 10 PPB of DDT in all top soil world wide, works out to more DDT than was EVER produced!)

    This is contrary to my understanding and a simple search with the less-evil Bing.

    Can you provide a reference? What steps did they take to eliminate contamination by the ever present evil DDT molecules and prevent those evil chemical companies from contaminating the samples?

    You are close to being assigned to the “probable looney” camp …

  47. I see China moving into Africa in a big way. They may not have the finesse of the West in standards of democracy in colonies, but they will be better than the anarchy into which much of Africa has fallen. They will rebuild infrastructure. And no doubt they will tackle malaria in whatever way will work best overall, without too much sentimental concern for the odd life here and there – if I understand Chinese mentality today – because healthy people make economic sense as a good work force.

  48. James Sexton says:
    September 13, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    “But then the Malthusians would just throw a fit and find some other reason why we couldn’t/ shouldn’t destroy this disease.” And then right on time………….
    =========================================================
    GM says:
    September 13, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    “….When you apply DDT, or any other indiscriminate insecticide to the environment, you kill not only the mosquitoes,…..”
    =========================================================

    GM, I just want to thank you for making me appear prophetic! Sorry I missed the rest of the conversation, it was quite late and I went to sleep. But again, thanks.

    It’s interesting how despite the evidence and past experiences with DDT that people still cling to the notion that somehow using it will cause irreparable damage to ecosystems when obviously it doesn’t occur even after prolonged DDT use. The only thing permanent is the millions of lives lost.

  49. A better poison for anything, as declared as such by the EPA, is CO2, and as this terrible chemical is continuously produced by humans in the hideous act of breathing in an amount of almost 900 grams per day, they could perfectly manage to control mosquitoes by just exhaling on them.

  50. Jimbo says:
    September 14, 2010 at 7:14 am
    It won’t take long to reappear in the US, and beware, as Malaria always goes accompanied with his pal Dengue. They have a selective preference for “green environments”.

  51. Ed Fix says:
    September 14, 2010 at 3:51 am

    “Bedbugs are a nuisance, but they don’t kill people.”

    Not yet… But what the hell, lets let them flourish and see what happens. While we’re at it, why don’t we quit controlling rats? Heck, lets stop managing everything and let Mo Nature do her thang! Celebrate Biodiversity! Lets all hold hands and sing!

  52. Alexander Feht says concerning GM” revision of his comment:

    “G: ‘Man is a measure [of] all things only in the deluded ant[h]ropocentrically brainwashed minds of some (OK, the majority) of the members of the species.’

    “I rest my case.”

    —–
    What case, Alexander? I can only think of three major groups who preach your egotistical view of Man, and all three cite the same base mythology as their authority.

    The eagle reports must not be myths, because if they were, you’d believe them.

  53. Malaria was first extirpated in the US in 1905, in Ithica, NY, according to “Who Gave Pinta to the Santa Maria?”, a book about tropical diseases in North America by Robert Desowitz. Next came Staten Island. The last place malaria had a foothold was Tennessee, where it was eradicated in the early 1950s. An excellent book, full of ghastly facts and tales and science, that you can’t put down. Here’s a book review:

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199712043372319

  54. The cure for this illness by the Cinchona bark (out of which it is extracted its alkaloid “quinine”):
    Jesuit’s Bark, also called Peruvian Bark, is the historical name of ,b>the most celebrated specific remedy for all forms of malaria. It is so named because it was obtained from the bark of several species of the genus Cinchona, of the order Rubiaceae, that have been discovered at different times and are indigenous in the Western Andes of South America and were first described and introduced by Jesuit priests who did missionary work in Peru. Other terms referring to this preparation and its source were “Jesuit’s Tree”, “Jesuit’s Powder” and “Pulvis Patrum”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesuit%27s_bark

    The name of the genus is due to Carolus “Carl” Linnaeus, who named the tree in 1742 after a Countess of Chinchon, the wife of a viceroy of Peru, who, in 1638, was introduced by natives to the medicinal properties of the bark.

    http://www.worldlingo.com/ma/enwiki/en/Cinchona

  55. First, although the US banned DDT in 1972, its use continued in much of the rest of the world.

    Could you tell that to Anthony Watts, Paul Driessen, and all the other people who claim Rachel Carson was a mass murderer?

    DDT was left open to U.S. manufacture by the “ban,” also — which is why we have several DDT manufacturing plants designated as Superfund sites today.

    DDT has never been out of production, nor out of use against malaria.

    Which means that the claim that DDT could have saved millions of lives is specious.

    Now, if you could just convince your buddies Tren, Bate and Roberts to get their math right, and their history right, we could get on with fighting malaria, instead of bashing science and scientists.

    REPLY:

    Mr. Ed Darrell, I’ve had quite enough of you. Cite EXACTLY where I called Rachel Carson a “mass murderer” in my own words. I have never made such claim.

    Either proof or an an apology is required for your continued presence here.

    And, you should check you own blog first: http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/does-africa-fighting-malaria-actually-fight-malaria/ before you say that I’ve used the phrase. And a gentlemanly warning to you sir, I take this seriously.

    – Anthony Watts

  56. It reveals so much that the envirotrolls decry eagle-killing by DDT, but are silent on eagle-killing by their beloved windmills.

  57. If one wasn’t so indoctrinated in lefty greenies propaganda one could probably correlate the decline in malaria with the weather in those regions having gotten a bit colder and dryer–the whole drainage “phenomenon” that seem to plague people where ever they go.

  58. To Volt Aire:-)

    At least you didn’t quote the WWF or US EPA:-

    “Birds
    DDT and its metabolites can lower the reproductive rate of birds by causing eggshell thinning which leads to egg breakage, causing embryo deaths. Sensitivity to DDT varies considerably according to species(35). Predatory birds are the most sensitive. In the US, the bald eagle nearly became extinct because of environmental exposure to DDT. According to research by the World Wildlife Fund and the US EPA, birds in remote locations can be affected by DDT contamination. Albatross in the Midway islands of the mid-Pacific Ocean show classic signs of exposure to organochlorine chemicals, including deformed embryos, eggshell thinning and a 3% reduction in nest productivity. Researchers found levels of DDT in adults, chicks and eggs nearly as high as levels found in bald eagles from the North American Great Lakes(36).”

    I seem to recall that those two illustrious organisations have come under suspicion of late!

    However, birds & other animals can suffer effects that appear to be directly linked to one thing or another, due simply to assumption, & people tending to believe what they at first see as the issue. For instance, when birds are stresses, their egg shells thin! When habitat is also under threat, causing stress, often young suffer for a variaty of reasons. I was not meaning to imply that your comments were in fact Junk Science, but that it was a source of information & I’ll take your word at face value. The point I was badly trying to make is that in my line of work, people jump to conclusions for all sorts of reasons, they may “believe” their property is subsiding when in fact it is not, but they “associate” cracking in buildings with subsidence, but buildings crack for all sorts of reasons without subsidence being connected at all:-)

    Another point to consider, is that DDT was abused in as much as it became to be seen as panacea for all ills, when its useage should have been more controlled. Like so many things done over here in the Union of European Socialist Republics is that scientist appear to feed obscence levels of one substance or anoher (presumeably to “represent” or “simulate” life time usage) into some poor old lab rat until it develops a tumour then claim that the substance is a carcenogen, when it probably wouldn’t cause any meaningful long-term damage in reality. Not putting lemon into one’s G & T for instance was a little gem the media got hold of some years ago, due to the residue of pesticide on the peel being found to cause cancer. Ditto using lead-crystal glass was another scare storey where I believe some Californian laboratory found that after some time the lead could leach out into the alcohol left inside a lead-crystal decanter – after 5 years though! As someone pointed out at the time if one can leave alcohol in a lead-crystal decanter for 5 years they probably weren’t going to come to much harm from anything:-) I am still awaiting being eaten alive by a superbug, BSE/CjD ( the ticking time-bomb is now some 20 years old), lead poisoning from my pewter tankards used frequently & lead-crystal glasses used on hi-days & holidays, the flu pandemic, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, F & M, CAGW et al! What’s next I wonder?

  59. Why argue against replicable results? There has been many studies on DDT in America and Canada on this very subject. The alteration of a diet of fish rife with lead, pcb and mercury to one of cultivated red meat containing nothing of the sort indicated what about DDT? Why absolutely nothing at all if they were not maintaining the eagle’s intake of these other well documented causes of nest mortality as part and parcel of that new diet.

    Locally we’ve experienced an explosion in our bald eagle population and now nesting occurs just off major roadways all over Southern Saskatchewan. Who would have thought a massive up-tick in available food, from road kill through an explosion in whitetail deer populations, would equate to a much larger bald eagle (and golden as well as turkey vulture) population in the land of potash, oil and herbicides? The only thing I’m absolutely certain of is someone somewhere is pitching this as a direct result of something else completely unrelated to everything but their own agenda.

  60. Steve from Rockwood says: “Luckily the real cause of the pine beetle infestation is global warming and not poor forestry management so we’re OK. Just one example.”

    I doubt that global warming is the main cause of pine beetle infestation. Rather, pine beetle infestation is an example how blaming the global warming can lead us to making a problem worst — by ignoring the real cause.
    Fires are part of the “natural” cycle of forests, but we have suppressed fires. As a result, pine forests have become congested with pines — the trees are now too close together and a breeding ground for pine beetles. This last summer, I visited the Black Hills and studied what the forest service is doing there to control the pine beetle problem. The main strategy apparently is to thin the pine trees, and I observed that where they have done this, the pine forest is healthy.
    I commend the forest service: rather than blaming global warming, they attacked the real cause of the problem and made signficant progress.

  61. I suppose the following quotes are mythical too:

    “Dr. Charles Wurster, former chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, was once asked if he thought a ban on DDT might result in the use of more dangerous chemicals and more malaria cases in Sri Lanka. He replied, “Probably–so what? People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and this is as good a way as any.”

    His views are hardly atypical. According to Earthbound, a collection of essays on so-called environmental ethics, “Massive human diebacks would be good. It is our duty to cause them. It is our species’ duty, relative to the whole, to eliminate 90 percent of our numbers.”

    Former National Park Service research biologist David Graber famously remarked, “We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”

    “If radical environmentalists were to invent a disease to bring human populations back to sanity, it would probably be something like AIDS,” reads a 1989 Earth First! newsletter. “It has the potential to end industrialism, which is the main force behind the environmental crisis.” ”

    http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/1143/Is_the_DDT_ban_intended_to_control_global_population.html

    Seems to me there is an awfully cavalier and yes, even evil misanthropy, at the base of the “food chain” here.

  62. per Jimbo’s post up there:
    =========================================================
    =========================================================
    Jimbo says:
    September 14, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Dr. Charles Wurster, former chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, was once asked if he thought a ban on DDT might result in the use of more dangerous chemicals and more malaria cases in Sri Lanka. He replied, “Probably–so what? People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and this is as good a way as any.”
    ——
    “A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells;
    the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people.
    We must shift our efforts from the treatment of the symptoms to
    the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many
    apparently brutal and heartless decisions.”
    – Prof Paul Ehrlich,
    The Population Bomb
    ———
    “I don’t claim to have any special interest in natural history,
    but as a boy I was made aware of the annual fluctuations in
    the number of game animals and the need to adjust
    the cull to the size of the surplus population.”
    – Prince Philip,
    preface of Down to Earth
    ——
    “One America burdens the earth much more than
    twenty Bangladeshes. This is a terrible thing to say.
    In order to stabilize world population,we must eliminate
    350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say,
    but it’s just as bad not to say it.”
    – Jacques Cousteau,
    UNESCO Courier
    ———
    “If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth
    as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”
    – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,
    patron of the World Wildlife Fund
    ———
    ==============================================

    i think these folks like Erhlich and the despicable prince philip, wurster, etc might be such narcissists that the thought never even crosses their minds that they might be the ones deemed necessary for culling….

    “Dr. Erhlich, we know this is a brutal and heartless decision, but it is time to cut out the cancer…..”
    “Dr. Wurster, we have too many and we need to get rid of some of ‘them’, and luckily, ‘you’ were selected”
    “Prince Philip, you are getting your wish – it’s re-incarnation time”
    “Jacques, it is time for population stabilization, goodbye!”

  63. It’s worth noting that malaria is not the only mosquito-borne disease. Things like Dengue Fever are on the increase now as well.

  64. Man! I thought we had beaten the DDT/malaria thing to death already. First off, it is important to understand the spectrum of insecticidal activity of DDT. There are huge numbers of bugs that are unaffected by DDT. DDT also breaks down in the environment. I would love to see any evidence of DDT harming vertebrates. DDT does not harm humans. Humans are also at the top of the food chain.

    Before I go further I have to link to the excellent article by J. Gordon Edwards. This is the single best article I’ve ever seen about DDT:

    http://www.jpands.org/vol9no3/edwards.pdf

    There seems to be a general eco-geek perception that ALL pesticides are EVIL. Look at permethrin (a synthetic pyrethroid). This is wonderful stuff. In extremely small concentrations it eliminates probably more species of insects than any other safe and effective insecticide. It is so non-toxic to humans and pets that it is used in dips and in a 1% solution as a lice shampoo for children (which is sold OTC). A whopping 5% cream is used to treat scabies. The stuff kills roaches, ants, beetles, termites, flies, spiders…you name it. It’s very effective but has an extremely short residual time. DDT, on the other hand, has a much narrower spectrum of activity but an effective residual time making it ideal for mosquito control.

    Insecticides are used for pro-human motivations (e.g. saving food crops from devastation, preventing disease, preventing structural damage, etc.). We don’t develop and use insecticides just because we hate bugs. Just like climate scientists, humans follow the path of enlightened self-interests. We’re human racists.

    DDT is cheap and remarkably effective for mosquito control, but this is only one part of a complicated malaria control regime. Mosquitoes are the vector of the disease, but humans are the reservoir. You have treat infected humans and wipe out as much of the vector as possible in order to break the life cycle of the Plasmodia.

  65. My case, Anton, is this:

    If a man really thinks that the majority of human beings are “anthropocentrically brainwashed,” and that man’s life is worth less than that of an insect, he is not worthy of any further conversation.

    We cannot interview and debate every inhabitant of every mental asylum.

  66. Jimbo: “Dr. Charles Wurster, former chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, was once asked…”

    The passive construction, “was once asked” should be an alert on this quote. Who asked? Another version claims, “responded to a reporter’s question”. Which reporter?

    Quotes that are vague on their source should be treated with scepticism, especially quotes that have the appearance of being heaven-sent.

  67. The root of the problem is that environmentalists have never been exposed to a natural environment, as the majority of you have. Wonder why?

  68. If you must complain about DDT, then promote Mother Nature’s way to control mosquitoes and thus malaria, and put up a bat house. Bats are voracious eaters of mosquitos, so more bats means less mosquitoes means less malaria thus less need for DDT. Show you’re willing to support a sustainable natural alternative and give some bats a new home.

    Of course all bats are filthy disease-ridden rabies-carrying bloodsuckers, really just flying rats, so this is not done. Why Mother Nature ever allowed such vermin to evolve, ah, who knows. Best to eradicate them from anywhere humans live, to be safe. Think of the children!

  69. GM says:
    September 13, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    One has to always think about the whole system, not about the direct short-term benefit for certain much-less-smart-than-they-think-they-are primates, short-term benefit that may turn out to be a much greater long-term disaster.

    When banning CO2 for example?

  70. To all people who refer to so-called “natural ecosystems”:

    For hundreds of thousands of years, man has been changing the biological content of his environment to suit his needs. Except for some totally uninhabitable, almost inaccessible desert and mountain regions, and for ice fields of Antarctica, there are no ecosystems on this planet that are not-managed to some extent.

    Therefore, it is nonsensical to talk about “natural ecosystems,” as opposed to man-made ecosystems. All you can see around, in most places of the world, from the downtown of a large city to the deepest jungle of Borneo, is a man-managed ecosystem.

    Nobody likes pollution, and most of us do whatever we can to prevent and mitigate it, by reasonable, rational means, and taking into account the needs of human beings as our foremost, humanitarian priority. Perhaps, there is no sense in eternal increase in population, and I suspect that Earth’s human population will stabilize at some point, given the wide distribution of various birth control methods, and the undeniable fact that the more food people have available per person, the less they tend to procreate.

    In the developed countries of the world the population has already stabilized, and in some cases declines. Call it “evolution in action.” Environmental protection in Western countries is more than adequate; additional measures (such as an excessive forest fire control) often result in more damage than doing nothing.

    As a person who drives a car for 20 miles once in two weeks, who maintains 40 acres of the Colorado mountain pine forest in “pristine” condition (with some walking trails and benches for human comfort, of course), who collected and transported to a landfill two 18-wheeler truck loads of garbage left on this land by its previous owners, and who heats his house with pellets made from dead wood, I challenge any environmentalist lecturing me on the advantages of “natural ecosystems.”

    You, and only you, the green fanatics, the eco-nuts, undermined the reputation of environmental protection, embezzled uncounted public funds, distorted and faked experimental data, perverted the educational system, and made it impossible for any reasonable people to support green causes.

    You hijacked the good cause, and made it evil.

    Truly, you are death worshipers. I enjoy watching your inhuman ideology going down in blue flames every day. You, green liars, deserve this, and much worse.

  71. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    September 14, 2010 at 12:02 pm
    If you must complain about DDT, then promote Mother Nature’s way to control mosquitoes and thus malaria, and put up a bat house. Bats are voracious eaters of mosquitos, so more bats means less mosquitoes means less malaria thus less need for DDT. Show you’re willing to support a sustainable natural alternative and give some bats a new home.

    Of course all bats are filthy disease-ridden rabies-carrying bloodsuckers, really just flying rats, so this is not done. Why Mother Nature ever allowed such vermin to evolve, ah, who knows. Best to eradicate them from anywhere humans live, to be safe. Think of the children!

    One: I for one have built bat houses on my property and I used the instructions straight from my states conservation department.

    Two, Malaria is not an issue in N. America. I just do not like mosquitoes and I try to use the natural solution first before resorting to chemicals.

    And 3, your sarcasm is terrible, as is your reckoning of what we the skeptics at this site believe. Most of us just refuse to believe that there needs to be a solution to “over-population” because no case we have seen proves it is an issue that will lead to disaster as so claimed by the prophets of environmentalism.

    We try to save human lives from those who would destroy them for no other reason then what those prophets say must be done. How does one figure out what an ideal population of the planet is? I say that the ideal population is whatever we want it to be. Anyone claiming life is not precious should lead by example. I will think of your beliefs the second you live by them.

    Until then, my opinion of you is no higher then the scum on my shoes or the bat sh** in my backyard.

  72. Hmm, I guess I have a little problem with a couple of the negative effects of DDT. If DDT kills everything, wiping out the ecosystem, and lasts for months or years, surely there can be no insects, fish, animals or birds presently existing in or near the Panama Canal after the hundreds of DDT applications during and after the Canal’s construction.

    There are also areas in the United States, which also had extensive ongoing DDT applications until Malaria, was wiped out in those areas. Only then was it discontinued. For anyone who has been in, or near, the swamps of Florida, there is no doubt that the ecosystem recovers. I am sure there are examples in Europe, South America and Africa as well.

    When there are uncertainties in the projected long-term destructive effects of something, go with observational data. That goes for DDT or AGW.

  73. A lot of people here seem to be so angry about the pesticide not being used anymore and the deaths that could have been prevented with its use. What about unintended consequences, and the quiet Mad Cow Disease epidemic we heard so much about in the 80’s and 90’s. Most of you probably don’t realize that the real cause of this “epidemic” was do to the unintended consequence of pouring an organophosphate insecticide to the spine of cattle in the UK from the early 80’s to erradicate the warble fly, and the fact that it chelated the mineral copper from the brain of the cattle and replaced it with manganese and other minerals not meant for the prions in the brain of people and animals. This is not the only cause of of CJD, as it is caused by a metal imbalance and areas of the world due have natural mineral imbalances. I am not saying that DDT is harmful and definitely not saying that it is good, but I think that without an understanding of the reasons why it was pulled from the market, you should not be so sure of yourselves or angry. A lot of information that we are given in this world is spin and people that view this site know this very well, but it is sad that there are so many people ready to start using a chemical insecticide that was banned because of health concerns. I think that if you feel that strongly go ahead and spray yourself and your home, but leave me out of it, as we already get enough chemicals and toxins that are mandated by our government (flame retardents etc.). Hey and if you are so concerned about babies dying from malaria maybe you should think about crib death and maybe you should check out the link to your babies mattress. It has been found that New Zealand has all but eliminated crib death by “wrapping” mattresses to prevent the toxic gas that forms when flame retardents and a common household fungus mix in a thin layer above the mattress.

  74. Alexander Feht says “it is nonsensical to talk about “natural ecosystems”.”

    Your point about man having changed most of the natural ecosystems is well taken. This is the reason we have so many green fanatics.

    What we should objecting to are the insane artificial ecosystems we create and attempt to sustain, such as golf courses, asphalt parking lots etc and how we have destroyed so many natural ecosystems (off-shore fisheries, natural forests having more than one kind of tree, unpolluted water systems etc).

    I too live in the country on a property of 100 acres of mostly trees. Much of the property is covered in swamp. Some days I would love to spray DDT to get rid of the mosquitoes. But what would happen to the birds? What would happen to my water supply? Does DDT affect bee populations? Are there other unknown risks?

    If I lived in a malarial area, I wouldn’t stop to think. Spray and take your chances. But to have a cavalier attitude about man’s ability to control ecosystems is irresponsible.

  75. I love the enviros and other radicals who argue on the one hand that DDT eradicates all kinds of other insects and is too dangerous while also arguing that resistance is built up and the mosquitos make a comeback.

    Are the mosquitos somehow special so that they can build up resistance and no other insects can??

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    They also try to argue against DDT as if overuse is the standard when it is wasteful and supporters also are against overuse!!

  76. From: Ben D. on September 14, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    And 3, your sarcasm is terrible, as is your reckoning of what we the skeptics at this site believe. Most of us just refuse to believe that there needs to be a solution to “over-population” because no case we have seen proves it is an issue that will lead to disaster as so claimed by the prophets of environmentalism.

    Ha ha ha ha! Thank you, that was the best laugh I had all day!

    You seem to be unfamiliar with my usual writings and my frequently dry wry wit. I am far from one of those who consider overpopulation a problem. I am however well accustomed to those who proclaim “natural” is best, so long as it is their perception of “nature” which is not reality. You have those like GM who decry a human-centered viewpoint, yet are in no hurry to surrender their dominance and live in the wilderness as other animals do. People live their lives and raise their children in sterile environments with frequent cleaning and hand washing, and insist on natural organic foods grown without unnatural pesticides and fertilizers. Those that eat meat insist on natural free-range sources, and would never contemplate securing their own meat themselves as done by meat-eaters in nature as that would be unnatural cruelty against animals.

    And bats are filthy creatures no decent person would tolerate around where people live, and decent people should agree DDT should be banned as a crime against Mother Nature.

    I have found that practically all of those who most insist on having things be completely natural, are those who are in no way willing to completely live with nature.

  77. Steve, believe me, I’ve seen insane, criminal pollution and environment destruction on enormous scale in the former USSR (while nobody made more noise about “environmental protection” and “industrial pollution in Western countries” than Kremlin Zombies).

    In 1980s, when a person used to live in Russia would cross the border and find himself in a Western country, the first impression was how unbelievably clean and green was the landscape, compared with the all-pervasive dirt, run-down buildings, rust and gray color palette of what he left behind in worker’s paradise.

    This cleanliness and lush green landscapes of the Western countries are due to the laws protecting private property, which in the end results in environmental protection. A possibility of taking a large industrial company to the court for damages caused to your property by heir industrial emissions is the most adequate and effective way to protect the environment.

    Ideological “preventive” policies of the government are unnecessary and economically damaging, they turn the population against the environmental protection in principle, as it becomes an undesirable intrusion into individual people’s lives. Most of the environmental damage on this planet is caused not by private businesses or corporations (who look after their shareholders’ profits but would never intentionally alienate the same shareholders by any obvious environmentally unsound activity) — no, most of the damage to the environment is done by governments and , paradoxically, by the environmentalist academia and activists, who spread panic, support most irresponsible, unscientific government policies, destroy the education and the financial hopes of our children, and distort the reality to the extent that nobody understands the true situation any more.

    Man is a part of nature, no less than a wasp or a beaver, and fixes nature to suit his need, as it is also done by wasps, beavers, and most other living organisms. Excluding man from his habitat under the pretext of “natural ecosystem” is homicidal in principle.

  78. Bethany says:
    September 14, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    “Most of you probably don’t realize that the real cause of this “epidemic” was do to the unintended consequence of pouring an organophosphate insecticide to the spine of cattle in the UK from the early 80′s to erradicate the warble fly, and the fact that it chelated the mineral copper from the brain of the cattle and replaced it with manganese and other minerals not meant for the prions in the brain of people and animals. ”

    ‘Fraid I’m gonna have to ask for a reference for that. And please make it a recent one from a source other than a one-man organic farming crusader.

    Maybe unfounded allegations against modern technology is one reason people here may seem a little angry.

  79. I think the point of most of these comments, is that DDT needs to be used, and it needs to be used NOW, without hesitation. With the resurgence of bed bugs in New York City, and now Florida, as well as the cases of Dengue Fever showing up in the U.S….can we really afford to waste time on political policies, when the scientific facts have always been on our side?

    Most of us KNOW this, but it is time to get this information to the masses. I went to a pre-screening for Dr. Rutledge’s new documentary(have you heard of him? If not, you SHOULD http://www.3billionandcounting.com) and it is displayed in such a beautiful manner, and it’s time that we let this picture paint the thousand words, instead of it lurking among the internet in a small group of people. The facts are there. The evidence of a continent being enslaved and kept in poverty by this disease are presented. The disgusting cover-ups of the EPA are exposed(did you know he is the only person with all 9312 pages of that DDT Hearing Records?).

    We support lots of things in this country, and it’s time to support life and truth. If you, or anyone you know is in the NYC area, you MUST go see this film—-he even DRINKS DDT in the film, with lab results to prove it.

    I could not quit thinking about it for DAYS.

    It premieres at the Quad next week on September 17th. This film, unlike most things presented these days, EMPOWERS people, instead of scarring them to death like Rachel Carson did(for what, mind you). This is not about taking control back from the people, but reminding them that they have always had it.

    Even if you DISAGREE, you should go see it. Why not, right?

    Let’s support the 5+ years this man has put into uncovering the TRUE story of DDT.

    The website for the film is posted above, and a link to the cinema in which it premieres is listed below.

    I’ve never “promoted” any sort of thing in my life, but I can’t help but spread the word far and wide on this one—-and if you believe in the power of DDT and EMPOWERING people….you will too. It’s TIME.

    See also the article in Canada Free Press by Paul Driessen written about this film.

    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/27559

    And Kudos to you on Ed Darrel. That man is a stooge for the EPA—- at best.

    http://www.quadcinema.com/coming-soon/

  80. @Alexander Feht.

    I especially enjoyed..

    “You, and only you, the green fanatics, the eco-nuts, undermined the reputation of environmental protection, embezzled uncounted public funds, distorted and faked experimental data, perverted the educational system, and made it impossible for any reasonable people to support green causes.”

    I strongly agree that man cannot be excluded from the ecosystem as is often suggested (demanded) by the eco-nuts. The problem is the extent to which we attempt to reshape our environment with no regard for the effects our changes will bring, especially to those things we do not yet understand, or just clearly disregard.

    I also think the following is worth repeating…

    ” most of the damage to the environment is done by governments and, paradoxically, by the environmentalist academia and activists, who spread panic, support most irresponsible, unscientific government policies, destroy the education and the financial hopes of our children, and distort the reality to the extent that nobody understands the true situation any more.”

    But I thought the death worshiper stuff was a little over the top.

    The general problem of AGW can be linked back to your point that reality is distorted to the extent that nobody understands the true situation any more.

  81. It is essential that malaria be linked to rising CAGW temperatures (even though it is not) and greater death threats worldwide (even though deaths have been declining throughout the 20th century and rising sea levels and retreating glaciers and greater droughts and more flooding and ….

    If malaria were not a urgent and rebounding threat, Penn State University’s disease lab could not have been able to generate 79 million in Mann-made federal taxpayer’s grant dollars just one month ago to study the (rising) relationship between CAGW Mann-made warming and malaria . And without those promised dollars, Penn State could not have justified their Mann-made whitewash of his ill-gotten gains and shoddy so-called research.

  82. quote /
    Pamela Gray says:
    September 14, 2010 at 7:06 am

    I don’t support the use of DDT because it is not specific to malaria carrying bugs. I like bugs and bug predators. In fact there are several species of bugs that I like better than some humans I know.

    Wear protective lightweight clothing or use bug repellent during the day and sleep inside a net at night. Keep water barrels covered and don’t set up camp near ponds and lakes. Use bug traps.

    /end quote

    I suggest you go to the Valley of a Thousand Hills in KwaZulu-Natal and spend some time there working as one of the locals – with their level of money and without all your cosy comfortable western benefits.

    What a

    I have been in & out of Southern Africa since 1971. I can assure everyone and anyone that to the NORMAL population of Zambia/Rhodesia/Zimbabwe/South Africa/Lesotho/Swaziland/Botswana – DDT became UNAVAILABLE. Due to the USA’s environmental lobby EFFECTIVELY banning it (note I do not say the DID ban it; but their activities certainly resulted in DDT becoming unavailable).

    An remember that anti-malarial tablets may cost $US30 or $40 for a months worth of tablets; so you spoilt western brats can easily afford it as well as the airfare – THE LOCALS CAN NOT AFFORD TO SPEND THEIR ENTIRE LIVES PAYING THAT SORT OF AMOUNT of $ – hell I even made the same decision not to bother paying for that protection as it was too damned expensive – and I wasn’t on 3rd world pay.

    The bloody arrogance of some people is unbelievable – but then the CAGW crowd want 3rd world people to burn wood not electricity and the econuts banned DDT – crimes against humanity – like the paths to hell; are paved with good intentions – or else you start believing in conspiracy theories.

    The best cure for all the econuts would be a year living in 3rd world conditions in a 3rd world country; see how much they enjoy that ! Hypocrites !
    /end rant

  83. GM:

    You’ll have to excuse my specicentric viewpoint, but DDT is safe for HUMANS. Tell me how many dead people are an insect going for these days?

  84. Now I’m curious.

    Anthony, are you saying you were unaware of the claims of the people whose views you’ve promoted on your blog? Are you saying that you did not know Tren, Bate and others — who you allow to be cited as authorities in your feature posts — carry those views?

    Are you saying you disapprove of those views?

    Or are you saying that you’re merely the piano player, and you’re not responsible for the stuff you post on your blog?

    If you disavow the claim that “Rachel Carson is a mass murderer,” and if you disavow the claim that DDT could save millions of lives if only those meany old environmentalists would let Idi Amin spray a little DDT, I’d be happy to acknowledge I got your views in error, for the want of a comma.

    Are you taking down your advocacy of the repugnant views of Christopher Monckton? Are you rewriting the post by Mr. Goklany to eliminate the views of Tren, Bate and Roberts?

    Or is this crocodile tears now that you’ve been caught?

    REPLY: Ed, dancing around the question with irrelevant issues shows your inability to address a direct question. Typically, that is your MO though, like your “playing stupid” over your error on the Southern cross stars on the Australian logo. Either show EXACTLY where I’ve said the words you attribute to me, or you’ll not be posting here ever again, because I’ll put you on permanent ban. Putting words in my mouth is dishonest, I expect better of a teacher. – Anthony Watts

  85. I live in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Half of my work crew are away on a regular basis with malaria, they can’t afford the medication, so they usually wait till it is nearly too late, then attend #9 Hospital for treatment. Average amount of time off for each episode is about 2 weeks.

    Should I pay them more? hell yes, but I’m not the person that makes that decision unfortunately, Minimum wage here is SBD$4.50 per hour, about US$0.50c.

    Living conditions in the capitol city of the Solomons are best described as poor, water supply is almost nonexistant, I was 15 months from april of 2009 till June 2010 without water to my house. Thankfully I have a rain water tank, which isn’t too bad once I filter the mosquito larvae out of the water.

    Electricity is expensive, we have 3 diesel generators supplying Honiara, one of which is always being repaired, so supply can be erratic at the best of times.

    All of my work crew from CEO and manager to work crew live in those quaint “oh look Charles a native bush house” housing, with no doors or windows, just openings. The temperature averages 30C all year, at present in the dry it is up in the mid 30’s, all of their children suffer bouts of malaria, child mortality is high, so people have more children to cover the losses, as the more help you have working the gardens the better fed you may be. They do not have electricity to their houses, nor a clean water supply due to the expense of both.

    I have no answers to wiping out the mosquitos here, but I do believe it is a disease of poverty, and lack of political will that has let this remain at epidemic proportions here. DDT would be a great help though.

  86. Bethany says: What about unintended consequences, and the quiet Mad Cow Disease epidemic we heard so much about in the 80′s and 90′s. Most of you probably don’t realize that the real cause of this “epidemic” was do to the unintended consequence of pouring an organophosphate insecticide to the spine of cattle in the UK from the early 80′s to erradicate the warble fly, and the fact that it chelated the mineral copper from the brain of the cattle and replaced it with manganese and other minerals not meant for the prions in the brain of people and animals.

    Um, I think you have been hanging out with the wrong folks. Organophosphates, as the name encodes, contain carbon, hydrogen, phosphate (and sometimes the sporadic nitrogen). Not a lot of metals in that list…

    But more importantly, we are not meant to have prions in our brains at all. A prion is a mis-folded form of a natural protein. One that causes damage AND can cause normal foldings to refold into the broken form (leading to a cascade failure and also making them ‘infective’).

    Further, in a presentation held at a major drug company in Palo Alto I was privileged to hear first hand the research from the leading lights in the field. Turns out that CJD comes in two forms. One is genetic and based on the individual having a mis-coded protein that is prone to spontaneous refolding into the broken form. The other is infective and comes from exposure to a mis-folded dose in the body.

    So where did the cows get Mad-Cow from? Scrapie. Sheep have a modest level of the disease in many herds. (Though there are programs to eradicate it). It was the decision to grind up animals dying of scrapie and add them to cattle feed that made the Mad Cow prions form. THEN started the feedback loop as ‘downer cattle’ were added to the feed mix…

    It was breaking that feedback loop by going back to ‘vegetarian cows’ that ended the plague.

    FWIW, a fascinating series of tests were done with feeding and with direct blood exposure between different species. As each species has a modest variation in the protein in question, they ‘fit’ each other to greater or lesser degrees. So some species can “give” CJD (or Mad Cow, or Mad Weasel or..) disease to others, and some can not. Critically, it looks like cows can give it to people, but most of the time sheep can not. Thus the scrapie had not been much of an issue… until we made Cannibal Cows…

    Kuru is a disease related to CJD (and variant CJD from Mad Cow prions) that has been eradicated by the expedient of getting the tribes in question to stop honoring their dead by eating their brains.

    But don’t worry, you can continue fretting about the issue. Similar prions have been identified in a variety of wild deer, elk, etc. and nobody knows how many species spread it from who to whom. (But I’d be careful about eating any wild meat from a critter that did not look well..) We can also enjoy knowing that pigs can get a similar disease and are usually slaughtered before they are old enough to show symptoms; but are still infective. So I’d personally advocate for not feeding pigs any animal products… Also, IIRC, they found similar prions in a variety of critters from mink to weasels including some fur farms where the whole population went down from feed made from ‘downer’ sheep and cows. Including in countries other than Great Britain.

    So unless someone is running all around the world dumping pesticides on the spines of all those wild deer, elk, pigs, mink, weasels, etc. etc. and doing the same in fur farms and ranches all over the world AND treating the Kuru afflicted tribes in the same way AND doing the same to all the herds of sheep that still have scrapie, I think your thesis has a few “issues” to work through.

    Oh, and you also have to explain all the lab tests where blood and meat were shown to be sufficient to transmit the disease to others of the same species (no pesticides involved) and why it only propagates between certain species, and … well, you get the idea. There are a LOT of lose ends for your thesis to patch up; while the ‘infective protein’ via ‘protein folding errors’ thesis is a fairly clean match to the data. And don’t forget those cases where their is a genetic heritable form of the disease with known coding errors and known folding ‘issues’…

    (Yes, I was intensely curious about Mad Cow when it was an issue and kind of did an in-depth immersion into the science of the time… It is a fascinating disease. Since then I’ve not kept up, but the basics have not changed much. They have found a couple of other protein folding error diseases, so it’s now a whole class of illness.)

    If you would like to see a case where brain metal ion levels DO have involvement, hit the following link. Though I ought to warn you, it’s not Aluminum pots and pans… it looks like another genetic issue leading to a somewhat broken protein…

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/09/04/iron-zinc-and-alzheimers/

  87. Alexander Feht says:

    “My case, Anton, is this:

    “If a man really thinks that the majority of human beings are ‘anthropocentrically brainwashed,’ and that man’s life is worth less than that of an insect, he is not worthy of any further conversation.

    “We cannot interview and debate every inhabitant of every mental asylum.”

    Putting aside the royal “We,” I believe you missed GM’s point, which was the audacity of your original statement: namely, “Most “natural ecosystems” are hostile to man, and man is the measure of all things. ”

    Man is not the measure of all things, except, as GM says, to those who are man-centered. Earth was here long before humans, and will be here long after them. And Earth is only one inhabited planet among potentially billions of trillions of such planets. You sound like those residents of NYC who regard themselves as the pinnacles of human evolution. Everyone else knows their full of it, but they’re blissfully carry on.

    I am not opposed to the safe usage of DDT; to not use it seems potentially more damaging. But, to use it indiscriminately to protect humans is not appropriate. Humans do not own the planet, they are not the center of the Universe, and as long as they pretend to be, they will continue to inflict unnecessary misery and suffering on billions of living sentient creatures who are not here to harm them.

    It isn’t an either/or situation. Every issue does not require taking sides.

  88. i think E.M. Smith has got it correct there on the mad cow/CJD info from everything i’ve ever heard or read on it….not sure where Bethany got her info but i found it odd that she managed to start off with a condescending

    ” Most of you probably don’t realize that the real cause of this….”

    and then proceeds to rattle off a load of false statements….

  89. RESPONSE to Ed Darrell on September 14, 2010 at 9:11 am .

    ED: First, although the US banned DDT in 1972, its use continued in much of the rest of the world.

    RESPONSE: First, DDT production indeed continued in other parts of the world, but with reduced US production (which had begun to phase down even before the ban), the lowered supplies would have increased prices, which would mean lower usage and, therefore, fewer lives saved. Second, the US ban reinforced the opprobrium attached to DDT because, believe it or not, many developing countries lacking human capital took many of their cues with respect to “science” and health from US practice. Third, the greens were very keen on ensuring that its aid agencies would not fund DDT use abroad – and aid agencies were happy to oblige.

    Tina Rosenberg of the New York Times wrote in 2004,

    “at the moment, there is only one country in the world getting donor money to finance the use of DDT: Eritrea, which gets money for its program from the World Bank with the understanding that it will look for alternatives. Major donors, including the United States Agency for International Development, or Usaid, have not financed any use of DDT, and global health institutions like W.H.O. and its malaria program, Roll Back Malaria, actively discourage countries from using it.” See: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/11/magazine/what-the-world-needs-now-is-ddt.html.

    She also notes that:

    The other reason DDT has fallen into disuse is wealthy countries’ fear of a double standard. ”For us to be buying and using in another country something we don’t allow in our own country raises the specter of preferential treatment,” said E. Anne Peterson, the assistant administrator for global health at Usaid. ”We certainly have to think about ‘What would the American people think and want?’ and ‘What would Africans think if we’re going to do to them what we wouldn’t do to our own people?”’

    I guess it never occurred to these folks to ask Africans what they would want!

    In other words, there was a de facto ban on DDT. Which is why, in 2006, both the USAID and the WHO made policy pronouncements supporting DDT spraying indoors for malaria control. See: DDT to Return as Weapon Against Malaria, Experts Say and W.H.O. Supports Wider Use of DDT vs. Malaria – New York Times
    If there had been no de facto ban, it would have been unnecessary to issue these pronouncements.

    Incidentally the WHO got a lot of grief from green groups. The Pesticide Action Network – UK complained:

    ”The recent announcement from the World Health Organization (WHO) giving DDT a ‘clean bill of health’ for malaria control has generated dissension and resignations within the agency and sparked protests from environmental health and development experts around the world.
    “WHO’s controversial malaria programme chief Dr. Arata Kochi spearheaded the 15 September press event promoting widespread use of DDT in Africa. Kochi’s announcement overstates WHO’s actual policies regarding indoor residual spraying, ignores widely accepted scientific evidence of the human health effects of low-level exposure to DDT, and directly undermines the international Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs treaty). …
    “The misleading signal sent by WHO has already led to adoption of DDT-based malaria control strategies in several African countries not previously using DDT. It has been used by the European Chemical Industry Council to argue against the substitution principle in European policy debates. And it has been touted as a major victory by advocates on the far right, who have for years been aggressively promoting widespread DDT use in Africa for malaria control. Meanwhile, the controversy within WHO and between international agencies continues.”

    Source: http://www.pan-uk.org/Info/DDT/comeback.html.

    Note that EU diplomats actively tried to discourage the use oif DDT for indoor spraying. See the UNEP summary at http://www.unep.org/cpi/briefs/2006May22.doc.

    ED: Could you tell that to Anthony Watts, Paul Driessen, and all the other people who claim Rachel Carson was a mass murderer?

    RESPONSE: While Carson was not a mass murderer, in my opinion, her book was indeed partly, if not substantially, instrumental in helping provide intellectual ammunition for policies that killed.

    ED: DDT was left open to U.S. manufacture by the “ban,” also — which is why we have several DDT manufacturing plants designated as Superfund sites today.

    RESPONSE: I suspect that any site that had ever manufactured DDT would be on the Superfund list, even if had ceased producing DDT as of the day of the ban.

    ED: DDT has never been out of production, nor out of use against malaria.

    RESPONSE: See above.

    ED: Which means that the claim that DDT could have saved millions of lives is specious.
    RESPONSE: See above responses.

    ED: Now, if you could just convince your buddies Tren, Bate and Roberts to get their math right, and their history right, we could get on with fighting malaria, instead of bashing science and scientists.

    RESPONSE: Don’t hide behind the bogus claim that science supports banning DDT for indoor spraying. No one is bashing science. In fact, there was no science behind the aid agencies pre-2006 decisions not to fund — or for WHO to not endorse — DDT use for indoor spraying. In any case, the decision on using DDT (or not) requires going beyond science. It also involves risk analysis. For such a risk analysis, see Applying the Precautionary Principle to DDT.

  90. Following is the conclusion from the above-mentioned risk analysis, which should answer some of the matters raised by a number of commentators:

    The precautionary principle has been invoked to justify policies for a worldwide ban on DDT. However, these justifications are based upon a selective application of the precautionary principle which considers the risks that might be reduced by such a ban but ignores the far larger, more certain and more immediate risks that such a ban would inevitably bring in its wake. Specifically, these justifications overlook the likely outcome of a global DDT ban on human health and mortality in developing countries. Thus, contrary to claims that a global ban on DDT use is based on caution, it would, in fact, increase the disease burden and overall risks to public health worldwide. In turn, economic development in malaria endemic countries will continue to be adversely impacted.

    An even-handed application of the precautionary principle which considers not only the public health and environmental risks that might be reduced by a global ban on DDT use, but also the risks that might be generated in the real world, argues for a substantially different policy. Specifically, the precautionary principle argues that DDT use should not be banned worldwide because it will surely increase death and disease in human beings. In fact, indoor spraying of DDT ought to be encouraged in countries where such spraying would diminish malaria incidence. Such spraying should continue so long as equally safe and cost-effective substitutes are unavailable. It should be discontinued only after “informed consent” for a suspension of DDT spraying has been obtained from the beneficiaries of such spraying, i.e., the populations at risk of contracting malaria.

    In belated recognition of the public health benefits of DDT use in various developing countries, the idea has been advanced that a global ban should be postponed to 2007. But this too would be contrary to the precautionary approach. Under a postponement, there are only two possibilities in 2007. First, a cost-effective substitute is not found, in which instance the case for banning DDT use will be no stronger in 2007 than it is today. Second, a cost-effective substitute is indeed discovered, in which case economic considerations will prevail and use of DDT will be discontinued automatically. In either case there is little to be gained by writing a postponement into a legally binding international agreement. Instead of playing God with DDT and malaria by placing a deadline on global DDT use, it would be more fruitful to invest more heavily in research and development of alternative approaches to more cost-effectively combat malaria.

    A better case can be made under the precautionary principle for a ban on DDT use in developed countries. However, a global ban will do little to further advance their public health or environmental quality. Developed countries have rid themselves of malaria and, if the need should ever arise, they can afford substitutes. Thus access to DDT is no longer critical to protect their public health. Not surprisingly, many have already banned DDT use. This has helped reduce the environmental impacts of DDT within their borders and, in fact, many of its worst impacts are being reversed, despite the absence of a global ban.

    The likelihood that developing countries still in the grip of malaria have a lot to lose from a global ban on DDT whether it is immediate or postponed, and developed countries very little to gain, leads to the inexorable conclusion that in the policy calculus of many self-styled environmental groups in rich countries like Sweden, Denmark, Germany, U.K. and U.S., the lives of tens–if not hundreds of–thousands of lives in Asia, Africa and Latin America are not too high a price to pay for marginal environmental benefits in their countries.

  91. Brendan H said:

    For all pesticides, some organisms within a population will possess a natural resistance to the chemical, presumably as a result of genetic mutation. This allows them to survive the pesticide, and the destruction of the susceptible organisms enables the resistant ones to multiply freely without competition. In short order, you have developed a resistant strain.
    ______________________________________________________
    Actually recent studies (released in 2010) have shown that resistance does not necessarily get passed on genetically. There are other factors at play. We have all heard about super bugs and antibiotic resistant bacteria. The “consensus” was that the “strong” resistant bacteria were passing along their genetic material and that they were growing in nubers. In fact, when examined carefully, it was found that the resistant bacteria were getting weaker and weaker because they were producing anti-gens that the other “normal” bacteria could use to survive the anti-biotics. The resistant “altruistic” bacteria actually ended up sacrificing themselves to protect the normal bacteria. http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/20997

    The conclusion was that the ability to pass on protection through “survival of the fittest” does not always apply. It is akin to a soldier falling on a grenade to save his brethren.

    This study suggested that there is much going on in the environment that we have yet to understand and the whole idea of genetic mutations developing resistance to certain vectors needs to be reassessed.

  92. There’s so much wrong with Indur’s post, but let’s start with him putting words in Bill Gates’ mouth: “Whatever people may think of Bill Gates stance on global warming, there is little doubt that he exhibited substantial political courage in espousing malaria control with DDT. ” Sorry, but nowhere in that 20 minute video does he “espouse” the use of DDT. Sure, he mentions that DDT and chloroquine “brought the death rate down” in the past (3:40), and later (5:45) he mentions that DDT and bed nets can cut deaths by over 50%, but that’s all he says about DDT, and nowhere does he boldly advocate increased use of DDT now. He also notes (~6:15) that “every tool [for combating malaria] has eventually become ineffective”. This would presumable include DDT.

    Maybe Gates has indeed espoused DDT use somewhere, maybe he’s even funding it, but the link Indur provides to back this claim up doesn’t support him. He’s putting words in Gates’ mouth.

    Speaking of bad citations: How about citing some folks from the mainstream rather than relying on the tired clique of right wing/free market pundits. The guys who’ve been pushing the DDT ban myth for years as part of a strategy to slander the environmental movement and make the world safe for free enterprise unbridled by environmental regulations. Guy affiliated with think tanks funded by oil companies and the Koch brothers. Indur quotes a passage from AFM which cites mostly researchers affiliated with AFM (Roberts, Bate), or the American Council on Science and Health (Whelan), or himself. Then he he quotes himself a bit, including work published by Cato. Then he mentions Don Roberts (again), Amir Attaran, Roger Bate (again) and Richard Tren –all guys affiliated with AFM. Finally, he tops it off with a section of “Additional References,” which includes mostly works by these same people. The problem is these guys all hail from a very narrow section of the ideological spectrum. Lot’s has been written on the history of malaria and the history of DDT, and there’s a lively policy debate going on right now about how best to address malaria. Indur seems to be acquainted with only an exceedingly narrow range of views on these topics. If he’s smarter than this, he doesn’t show it with this post.

    Lastly he cites figure 13 of a 2009 EJSD paper to support the statement that “the US ban was imposed only after malaria had been wiped out in the US for practical purposes.” Fair enough, but that that same figure also indicates that by 1945, when DDT was introduced in the US, death rates from malaria had already been steadily declining. This is borne out more dramatically in CDC’s graph of US malaria morbidity and mortality here: http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/history/uscurves.html. So the implication that DDT was essential to our defeating malaria and then we callously banned it once we were malaria free is not supported by US malaria mortality trends.

    In fact, to bring it back to the Gates video, he hints (3:50) at the real reason why malaria was eliminated from rich countries some 50 years ago but still plagues Africa and much of Asia: climate. Rich countries tend to be in temperate zones, and poor ones in tropical zones where the climate is more conducive to malaria. Sure DDT (along with chloroquine and other measures) played a role, but we had–and continue to have–a much easier time dealing with malaria simply because we’re in the temperate zone.

  93. Anton,

    Humans do own this planet (who else, harpies or fairies?), a man who is not man-centered is a man mentally ill (as any psychiatrist will tell you), and a man is a measure of all things for the simple reason that a man cannot imagine any measure that he cannot imagine.

    Before preaching to people who respect facts and logic, check your facts and your logic.

  94. Wayne Delbeke: “Actually recent studies (released in 2010) have shown that resistance does not necessarily get passed on genetically.”

    Interesting research. I’m not competent to comment on the details of the science, but the take-home message for the layperson is that chemical resistance is a central factor in the science of pesticides, and of course in its practical application,

  95. Bethany, you are quite wrong, the cause was a closed circuit feeding system whereby spinal chords and brain stems were ground up and included in the feed, this is now banned, before the Nat Geographic went political they had some articles on this, including a study of some primitive tribe that forbade the kids meat, the women salvaged non obvious “meat” when performing funeral prep and produced the same CJD symptoms, I suspect the chemical “explanation” came later. The French had this and it continued for longer as due to the CAP they farm “traditionaly” but they failed to report it for years, the farmers called it JCB, the name of the digger/back hoe they called for when a cow went loopy, bury the evidence and carry on feeding the brain stem.

  96. If this has already been posted, apologies. Interesting film release: “3 Million and Counting”. A snippet from the web page;

    “Sure to spark outrage, Dr. Rutledge, a California physician specializing in preventative medicine, chronicles the effects of the world-wide ban on the pesticide DDT in 1972, a ban inspired by the first enviro-bestseller, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962). Rutledge’s five-year-long effort is driven by his revulsion at millions of deaths, mostly of women and young children, in Africa and South East Asia, by the mosquito-borne disease, Malaria. According to a recent World Health Organization report, Malaria kills one million people annually, a disease, Rutledge confirms, that is wholly and immediately preventable.”

    http://3billionandcounting.wordpress.com/

    I’d say this is pretty much on topic.

  97. Anthony, I’m very confused now.

    Is it fair to say you repudiate the statements that Rachel Carson is a mass murderer?

    If so, I apologize for assuming you supported the position of those you cite. I can make a more forceful correction, if you provide evidence it is a correction.

    But if you support the claim, it would be dishonest for me to apologize for pointing it out.

    REPLY: OK you had your chance to correct your libel by saying simply: “Anthony did not call Rachel Carson a mass murderer, I’m sorry for saying he did”. I don’t need to tolerate people (in my home on the Internet, see policy page) who put words in my mouth I’ve never written or said and then refuse to retract their error given ample opportunity.

    You aren’t “confused”, you are dishonest, and you are now banned, permanently. – Anthony

  98. Alexander Feht says:

    “Anton,

    “Humans do own this planet (who else, harpies or fairies?), a man who is not man-centered is a man mentally ill (as any psychiatrist will tell you), and a man is a measure of all things for the simple reason that a man cannot imagine any measure that he cannot imagine.

    “Before preaching to people who respect facts and logic, check your facts and your logic.”
    ————
    That’s it? That’s your argument? And anyone who doesn’t agree is mentally ill “as any psychiatrist will tell you.”

    YOU own the planet because you are a man, and you are the measure of all things because you cannot imagine any measure that you cannot imagine. How brilliant.

    Best wishes.

  99. Goodness gracious. Peter you are one very angry man, at least as portrayed in your post.

    Many of humankind’s ills have been mitigated by common sense and low cost measures. Yet, some of the simplest measures have been blocked by the very countries that would be helped the most.

    Western $$$??? Western leisure??? “…comfortable western benefits…”??? Wearing protective clothing, washing hands, avoiding ponded water, use of nets at night, and other low cost safety and risk mitigation measures are not my idea of high-end western ideas. Far better for third world countries to educate their citizenry on these low cost sensible measures than to depend on the vagaries of high-end, quick-fix measures.

    I will repeat. Wear protective clothing, use nets, camp away from ponded water, and cover water barrels.

    My point of view is I think sensible, not reactionary. Develop a hardy response to life’s risks by mitigating those risks in sensible ways. Else you become dependent on a dictatorial government (be it outside or within your country) that clearly will not have your best interests at heart.

  100. By the way, I am anything but an environmentalist, commie, econut, terrorist, bleeding heart, or any other epitaph you might think of because I happen to like bugs. I try to lower my cost of living by using the cheapest fuel I can get my hands on, I lower my risks of injury or illness as best I can, and I clean up after myself. Not only do I like bugs, I also use bugs for a variety of purposes. Some I just like to look at, some I use to control other pests, and some I fish with. All these actions are both wise and mannerly. And I will readily join any revolution that seeks to fight against any government intent on taking away my individual rights to these beliefs and actions.

    “Spoilt western brats” would not be a definition that describes me, or anyone else I know out in rural areas that like bugs.

  101. Rutledge’s claim that Rachel Carson killed 3 billion people, blames her for more deaths than actually occured from all causes since 1972. But it’s the title of the movie, so it must be true, I guess.

    REPLY: Tim, you neglected to provide a link to your post involving Mr. Goklany, so I’ll do it for you:

    Indor Goklnay, DDT and Malaria

    Maybe it was because you were embarrassed that you spelled both his first and last name wrong?

    Of course I’ve made some spelling errors too, but I think if you are going to criticize somebody, you should at least spell their name correctly. For the record: I n d u r _ G o k l a n y

    Cut and paste is also helpful in avoiding such misspellings, and his name is right there on the top of the WUWT article.

    You’re welcome. – Anthony

  102. Isn’t a Deltoid a small delta, where the debris and mud that was flowing down the river comes to rest and accumulates?

    *whistles nonchalantly*

  103. Whilst Lambert may have some potentially valid points to raise about resistance, he undermines them by a staggeringly dishonest presentation of the Sri Lanka malaria reecord.

    For example; in his graph, there are two DDT “stops” and one “start”. Why has he only labelled one? What about the record prior to 1960? Why use probability of fatality, rather than the more telling number of deaths?

    The likely answer to these, is if you do a bit of digging, this information strongly demonstrates the effectiveness of DDT as a tool for Malaria control. As I found out when I searched out a more complete data set (link here).

    Of course, there are issues regarding resistance, and DDT should be just one of a number of tools used in combatting malaria. But when presenting the complete story, it is clear the immense value of DDT. If Lambert was really objective about this, why did he feel the need to withhold such important information?

  104. There is a new documentary out 17 – 23 September, Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street, New York which proves DDT is SAFE. The trailer is here:

    http://www.3billionandcounting.com/trailer.php

    For those of a medical persuasion, you will find this article by Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, president of the American Council on Science and Health, to be very interesting. The link is here:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/246562/deadly-war-against-ddt-elizabeth-m-whelan

  105. Pamela Gray says:
    September 15, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Western $$$??? Western leisure??? “…comfortable western benefits…”??? Wearing protective clothing, washing hands, avoiding ponded water, use of nets at night, and other low cost safety and risk mitigation measures are not my idea of high-end western ideas. Far better for third world countries to educate their citizenry on these low cost sensible measures than to depend on the vagaries of high-end, quick-fix measures.

    I will repeat. Wear protective clothing, use nets, camp away from ponded water, and cover water barrels.

    Pamela, for you these are low cost measures, the reality here in the Solomons is that no one can afford them.

    Protective nets? Believe it or not, we were able for a while to get mosquito nets free, unfortunately, the only place to obtain them was in Honiara, which left 90% of the population unable to access them. Transportation is by foot or canoe here, the ferries and cargo boats are only for necessary trips home for weddings and funerals, unless you work for the Government.

    Camp away from ponded water? This is the tropics, we have 3 – 4 metres of rain per year, mostly in the wet season from October to March, we don’t have ponded water, we have lakes.

    Clean water to wash in? The people that live in Honiara, White River, Borderline, Lungga, use whatever water they can find, the ditches and small streams running through the villages are the usual source of water, and don’t talk about rain water tanks, they are beyond the reach of the local income level.

    Protective clothing? All our clothing here comes from charity agencies in bales, to be sold by the various kaleko klothing shops in Honiara, the rest of the Solomons make do with hand me downs from wantok that live in Honiara or have access to the shops. I have never seen protective clothing, I know you probably mean long sleeved shirts, long trousers etc, but when it is 30+ C and 90% humidity, believe me, you don’t want to be wearing long sleeved, long legged anything.

    Cover water barrels? I have the luxury of having a rain water tank, (250 gal) with a mesh screen that always has mosquito larvae in, my work crew have a stream or ditch for their water supply, which is also the garbage and sewage disposal system, as we do not have a rubbish collection, garbage collection, sewage, or reticulated water supply.

    I appreciate your thoughts, but I wish a lot of well meaning people would actually get out a bit more and visit the places they are so quick to offer advice to, well meaning and all, but bearing absolutely no relevance to the actual living conditions.

    I enjoy your posts, but in this case you need to get out a bit more and realise that your low cost measures are high cost measures here.

  106. What is so amazing about this scam is that DDT is ACTUALLY SAFE!! So for you so-called enviros out there, I have a few questions I would like answered:
    Why would any humanity loving person ban something which is so cheap, and so effective against malaria?
    Why have I been so outrageously lied to?
    What excuse do you have for allowing all of these deaths, this suffering? And don’t tell me it’s because DDT is toxic – Having seen a preview of this movie I now KNOW better than to fall for that ruse.
    I’m waiting for your answers….

  107. DDT and Malaria in Ceylon

    There is apparently a lot of confusion about malaria and DDT use in Ceylon. In fact, Tim Lambert on September 15, 2010 at 11:24 am claims I’m spreading misinformation. He bases this claim on a diagram he found on a WHO website that provides a graph of malaria cases from 1960 to 2008 but is very economical with the history of DDT usage, as noted by Spence_UK on September 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm. Spence_UK has also linked to a most interesting curve, which indicates, in the words of the underlying paper at http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1475-2875-7-140.pdf, that “relaxation of controls” (which included DDT use) after 1963 “led to rapid and dramatic resurgence” of malaria.

    I would like to add to what Spence has unearthed. But, before that let me note that the information I provided in my post was identified as coming from Whelan (1992). To check that I hadn’t gotten something wrong – what the heck, I am insecure — I tried to locate the original book. I didn’t find it, but did find a book with the same name but with a publication date of 1985. No matter, in that version the data can be found on page 69. Tim, go check it out. It ought to be in your University’s library.

    Now I must say that I was surprised that the WHO website provided by Tim Lambert was silent on the DDT cessation after 1963. So I thought I should verify that this actually occurred. Perhaps I had been mistaken.

    However, I found a number of references to this episode. These include a report in the New York Times from February 13, 1971, headlined, “U.N. Agency Backs Indoor Use of DDT to Combat Mosquitoes”. It’s worth reading in its entirety. It’s at http://goklany.org/Misc/DDT and Ceylon Feb 13 1971.pdf. It notes that WHO “defended…the use of DDT to kill mosquitoes indoors” in a special report. [Wonder who it was being defended to, or why it needed to be defended, if no one was against its use?] It further notes:

    “’Ceylon is a case in point,’ the report declared “Malaria was almost eradicated, the number of cases having dropped from 2.8 million in 1946 to 110 in 1961 and the number of deaths reduced from 12,587 to zero. But Ceylon, following premature cessation of spraying, is again facing an epidemic of malaria, with a total of 2.5 million cases already reported in 1968-1969.’”

    Note that the WHO numbers quoted in the NY Times report are consistent with Whelan (1985).

    The NY Times also adds:

    “The report also emphasized that, while developed countries had the money to combat communicable diseases by providing good sanitation, this method… ‘is out of the financial reach of developing countries.’…”

    The NY Times article goes on to report that, according to the WHO, substituting for DDT would raise costs of the program from $60 million a year to between $184 million – $510 million, depending on which substitute were used. [I interpret this to the cost of a global program, rather than a Ceylon-only program — I wonder what WHO’s budget for these activities was in 1971?]

    As an aside, clearly the WHO website that Tim Lambert linked to has amnesia about the 1971 report, but that could be a genuine loss of institutional memory.

    Also, I came across an abstract of an article in the Indian Journal of Malariology, from June 1993, 30(2):51-5.

    Trends in malaria morbidity and mortality in Sri Lanka.

    By Pinikahana J, Dixon RA.

    Department of History and Sociology, University of Ruhuna, Matara, Sri Lanka.

    Abstract
    Trends since 1930 in malaria morbidity and mortality in Sri Lanka were analysed. The Malaria Control Programme, which began in 1945 with DDT spraying, was associated with a 100-fold reduction in morbidity and mortality over the following ten years, and gave way to the Malaria Eradication Programme in 1958. DDT spraying ceased in 1964 and a vivax malaria epidemic in 1968 returned to the island to 1952 morbidity levels, though with little mortality. After the discovery of DDT resistance in 1969, malathion spraying took over in 1973, and USAID-assisted control programme, involving case-detection and treatment, started in 1977. However, morbidity levels comparable to 1952 levels were observed in 1975 and 1986 when falciparum malaria morbidity levels were especially high. Mortality rates since 1960 have however remained lower than at any other previous time.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have access to this paper, but its story seems consistent with the Whelan (185), and the NY Times story.

    Finally, I should note that, if you read my paper, it fully acknowledges the issue of DDT resistance, which is why it conditions the use of DDT to situations where it I effective. For example, in the summary posted previously, I note that “In fact, indoor spraying of DDT ought to be encouraged in countries where such spraying would diminish malaria incidence.” [Emphasis added.]

    No one is advocating DDT use where, or if, it’s ineffective. But there are situations where it is not only effective, it is also the cheapest intervention available. Regardless, we should never foreclose the option that it be available for use.

  108. Indur Goklany, The New York Times story you linked is wrong about the number of cases.

    From Malaria: Principles and Practice of Malariology edited by Wernsdorfer and McGregor (1988) Chapter 45 “The recent history of malaria control and eradication.” by Gramiccia and Beales pages 1366-1367:

    In Sri Lanka, after the minimum of 17 cases in 1963, the incidence increased markedly and practically unimpeded, reaching 537 700 registered cases in 1969. There were still 400 700 cases in 1975. Malaria in Sri Lanka was known to produce epidemics at three to five year intervals on account of low rainfall and high temperature, which favour the propagation of the vector A. culicifacies. The development of epidemic foci was facilitated by an increased population movement for chena cultivation, often deep in poorly accessible forested areas, and for gem mining which created ideal mosquito breeding grounds in abandoned pits in the proximity to the shelters built by the workers. These conditions occurred again in late 1967 and in 1968. During the successful eradication period P. falciparum had been eliminated, but in 1975, after the resurgence of malaria, this species constituted 16% of all infections.

    The reasons for the upsurge were many. It was certainly facilitated by the backlog of slides accumulated in the laboratories and the comparatively low numbers of blood smears taken by health institutions that permitted a gradual build up of undetected, untreated cases. Intradomiciliary residual spraying with DDT had been withdrawn in the early 1960s because of the low number of cases (in accordance with the criteria for passing from attack to consolidation). After the resurgence was recognized, administrative and financial difficulties prevented the purchase of insecticides of which there was no residual stock, and the employment of temporary squads for spraying them when insecticides were donated. In 1968, the programme reverted from consolidation to attack phase, but by that time malaria had already taken root again in all previously endemic areas. DDT residual spraying was again applied on a total coverage basis, accompanied in some areas by mass radical treatment. These measures met with limited success, but the malaria situation deteriorated once more between 1972 and 1975. Apart from operational and administrative shortcomings, the main reason for this second increase was the development of vector resistance to DDT, to such an extent that it was necessary to change to the more expensive malathion in 1977.

    DDT spraying was suspended in 1964 not because of environmental concerns but because there were too few cases to justify its use. They felt that they are succeeded in eradicating malaria and the few remaining cases could be treated with drugs. This wasn’t unreasonable — that’s what had worked in temperate climates.

    No one is advocating DDT use where, or if, it’s ineffective.

    Actually, they are. I give you Michael Fumento:

    The best answer would be spraying with DDT. Unfortunately, environmentalists have demonized DDT based essentially on unfounded accusations in a 1962 book, Silent Spring. … DDT should be sprayed on water pools, tents, and on people themselves—as indeed was once common in Sri Lanka and throughout most of the world.

    Once upon a time DDT was the insecticide of choice for fighting malaria. But DDT resistance and new technologies like long lasting insecticide treated nets mean that these days it is not generally the cheapest or most effective means. See here.

  109. Indur M. Goklany said on September 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Third try. The link to the NY Times article is : http://goklany.org/Misc/DDT and Ceylon Feb 13 1971.pdf.
    If the link doesn’t work, copy every thing from http to pdf, and paste it in the address box.
    My apologies.

    Ah, it’s a common problem. The WordPress auto-parser just can’t handle spaces in an URL.

    Refer to this chart:

    http://www.december.com/html/spec/esccodes.html

    It provides the “escape codes” used in URL’s that take the place of non-alphanumeric characters. In this case you’d use “percent sign-20″ in place of the space. Oh, I spelled that out since some “bulletin board” programs may have “issues” where they automatically convert URL escape codes into the characters they represent, just as some do with the “ampersand” HTML codes for non-alphanumeric characters.

    I’m going to test WordPress now. I’ll use your URL twice with the escape code, once by itself and once in a link that you can “right-click copy-link-location.” I’ve tested the URL in an address bar with the spaces replaced by that escape code and it worked. Using the CA Assistant Preview feature I get a working link that when I “right-click copy-link-location”
    followed by a ctrl-v paste in an address bar gives me the URL with the escape codes. But until I actually post the examples I won’t know how WordPress itself will mangle them.

    http://goklany.org/Misc/DDT%20and%20Ceylon%20Feb%2013%201971.pdf

    Link

  110. As you can see Indur, the links came through just fine.

    As I can see, the one “wordpress” auto-correction feature I have noticed, where “WordPress” spelled with a capital-W only (as I just did in the last set of quotes) is converted into “wordpress” with both a capital-W and a capital-P, which I find highly annoying, while “wordpress” in all lowercase is ignored, which is annoying for the inconsistency, is still functioning.

  111. DDT remains effective against the spread of malaria even after the mosquitoes have been declared resistant to DDT.

    From here:

    http://www.malaria.org/attarannaturemed.html

    Original was in Nature Medicine, July 2000, Volume 6 Number 7, pp 729 – 731, found online behind a paywall.

    Balancing risks on the backs of the poor
    Amir Attaran(2), Donald R. Roberts(1), Chris F. Curtis(3) & Wenceslaus L. Kilama(4)
    Excerpt:

    But despite ‘resistance’ in itself, DDT still works to alleviate mortality and morbidity. Resistance tests work by measuring whether mosquitoes survive a normally toxic dose of DDT. The tests wholly overlook two non-toxic actions of DDT: contact-mediated irritancy(9), which drives mosquitoes off sprayed walls and out of doors before they bite, and volatile repellency(10, 11), which deters their entry in the first place. Both actions disrupt human–mosquito contact and disease transmission.

    Data from the Pan-American Health Organization show a strong inverse correlation between malaria cases and rates of spraying houses (1959–1992) in South America, even after DDT resistance became widespread in the 1960s (Fig. 1). Here, ‘cumulative cases’ represent the population-adjusted, ‘running’ total of cases that exceed or fall short of the average annual number of cases from 1959 to 1979 (years in which World Health Organization strategy emphasized house spraying(12)). Cumulative cases increase considerably in later years, coincident with a sharp decrease in rates of spraying houses.

    This inverse correlation is readily understandable because it is so biologically plausible. For mosquitoes, DDT is a toxin, irritant and repellant all rolled into one chemical. All three properties decrease the odds of being bitten by mosquitoes, and toxicity particularly reduces the odds that parasite-bearing mosquitoes will survive to infect others. Lowering these odds slows disease propagation by second- or higher-order relationships and therefore is very important(13, 14). Indeed, renewing the spraying of houses with DDT, as Ecuador did in the early 1990s, rapidly decreases case rates(5).

    This body of evidence is so indisputable that even environmental groups such as Physicians for Social Responsibility concede that DDT is “highly effective” in malaria control(15). Campaigning for a DDT ban given this benefit would seem politically difficult unless one alleged even greater health risks associated with its use, which is precisely what environmentalists do. Recent bulletins from Physicians for Social Responsibility and the World Wildlife Fund cite animal studies indicating involvement of DDT in neurological and immune deficits, and epidemiological studies linking DDT to human cancers and endocrine-disrupting effects, such as reduced lactation(15, 16).

    There is confirmation. From here:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2915.2000.00262.x/abstract (paywall)
    Originally published in Medical and Veterinary Entomology, Volume 14, Issue 4, pages 345–354, December 2000.

    Cost-comparison of DDT and alternative insecticides for malaria control
    K. Walker
    From the abstract:

    In anti-malaria operations the use of DDT for indoor residual spraying has declined substantially over the past 30 years, but this insecticide is still considered valuable for malaria control, mainly because of its low cost relative to alternative insecticides. Despite the development of resistance to DDT in some populations of malaria vector Anopheles mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae), DDT remains generally effective when used for house-spraying against most species of Anopheles, due to excitorepellency as well as insecticidal effects.

    My eyes glaze over at long-winded multi-page excerpts and I usually skip over wars of dueling citations. So for those like me, here’s the quick take-home message:

    Those who argue against using DDT because mosquitoes are resistant or are growing resistant, are not presenting you with the science that shows DDT is still effective against the spread of malaria.

    For another reason for increased indoor spraying, over at the CIA’s World Factbook entry for Sri Lanka, under “Major Infectious Diseases” there are two listed in the “vectorborne disease” classification, dengue fever and chikungunya. From here:

    Dengue fever – mosquito-borne (Aedes aegypti) viral disease associated with urban environments; manifests as sudden onset of fever and severe headache; occasionally produces shock and hemorrhage leading to death in 5% of cases.
    (…)
    Chikungunya – mosquito-borne (Aedes aegypti) viral disease associated with urban environments, similar to Dengue Fever; characterized by sudden onset of fever, rash, and severe joint pain usually lasting 3-7 days, some cases result in persistent arthritis.

    There are other mosquito-transmitted diseases than malaria. Note the key phrase in both listings, “…associated with urban environments…” The word “urban” does not conjure up images of swamps that can be drained. Mosquito nets for beds, treated or not, don’t help in offices and factories. The spraying of the walls of rooms with DDT can be done for any building, protecting people from these diseases all day long while they are in them. Not doing so because of worries about resistance, and claiming bed nets are as effective, is not supported by the science.

  112. Best “natural ecosystem” is a man-managed ecosystem (most of the environmentalist fanatics never experienced any completely “natural” ecosystems, their view of our planet is as artificial as the view of marine life in an aquarium).

    That sounds remarkably like environmental central planning communism.

  113. Those who argue against using DDT because mosquitoes are resistant or are growing resistant, are not presenting you with the science that shows DDT is still effective against the spread of malaria.

    You need to understand what it was saying. “excitorepellency ” is the repellent effect, even if they are immune to a degree, they don’t like the effect it has on them. It is also referring to use in the home, which has not been banned, and is encouraged if used properly.

  114. The difference (that many miss) is that we have developed a good therapy against malaria, artemisinin combination therapies (ACT). This prevents the spread of maleria by wiping it out efficiently in one of the hosts (us). The Gates Foundation has played a major role in getting the price of this three drug therapy down and making it available. By eliminating one of the ping pong hosts (mosquito – human – mosquito) this has dropped mortality. Distribution of bed nets and indoor spraying has contributed greatly. Attacking the Gates Foundation is fundamentally wrong. They have lead the fight in Africa, but what is scary is that resistance to artemisinin is emerging.

  115. Re: kadaka

    Indeed, from the graph I linked above you can see that quite clearly. As Tim Lambert points out, DDT was phased out for “the more expensive” malathion in 1977. Under the DDT regime, even after resistance was developed, deaths were in the single figures per year. After switching to malathion, even though total cases dropped slightly, deaths shot up to 100 per year by 1980, and stayed there. By the middle of the 1980s the total cases had returned – the “more expensive” malathion had returned to the same levels that DDT had achieved, with more deaths.

    Malathion was clearly more expensive, and LESS effective and keeping deaths down than DDT, even after resistance had built up, and offered negligible improvement in total cases. Which is in keeping with the article you cite.

    The only point Tim has successfully made is that perhaps the 1969 figure (on a like-for-like comparison) is probably closer to half a million than 2.5 million. (This doesn’t make the 2.5 million wrong FWIW: estimating these figures is VERY difficult and there may be more than one definition of “reporting”, i.e. diagnosis by doctor vs. blood test) But so what? Even at half a million, the point being made by Indur is still valid.

    Over at deltoid people are rushing to claim a conspiracy by right wingers to attack Rachel Carson. I’m sure there are a very small number who take an extreme viewpoint, but this is not the tenor of the argument presented here. The points being made are the flaws of the precautionary principle, and that taking action to stop something when there is great uncertainty can actually increase the risk, rather than reduce it. From that perspective, there are lessons we need to learn from the DDT case and reduce such policy failures in the future.

  116. From: stereo on September 16, 2010 at 6:11 am

    You need to understand what it was saying.

    I don’t think you understand what I was saying!

    You better read it again. All of it. Slowly.

  117. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    September 16, 2010 at 8:07 am

    From: stereo on September 16, 2010 at 6:11 am

    You need to understand what it was saying.

    I don’t think you understand what I was saying!

    I know what you were saying, but what you were saying was based on a misrepresentation of what they were saying.

  118. I don’t know if anyone has heard, but there’s a new documentary coming out on DDT called 3 Billion and Counting . I saw a preview of it at a Q@A screening in LA. The director was there…he seems like a very legitimate, sincere guy. He started off as a total sceptic, intent on proving that DDT was toxic….imagine his surprise finding those EPA hearing papers, some 9000 odd pages. I heard there are scientists all over the world looking to track those papers down. And this guy found them!

    I thought the movie was just going to be about malaria….did I get more than I bargained for…government agendas, scams, organic food (I didn’t know that stuff was sprayed with stuff like arsenic!), plus a few more shocks. There were some light hearted moments too. I was riveted the whole time I was there. I reckon I need to see it again a few times..this film goes way beyond malaria. I hear it is showing up in NY this week. Anyone going to it?

  119. From: stereo on September 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I know what you were saying, but what you were saying was based on a misrepresentation of what they were saying.

    O RLY? Let’s see what you said:

    “excitorepellency ” is the repellent effect…
    Yeah, the “-repellency” part sort of gives that away.

    …even if they are immune to a degree, they don’t like the effect it has on them.
    Which was made clear in my post, although “resistant” is the word of choice over “immune.”

    It is also referring to use in the home, which has not been banned…
    As described repeatedly elsewhere, technically not banned, except in certain countries. Also use in the home, which is included in use in buildings where humans may be found, was part of what I was talking about.

    …and is encouraged if used properly.
    And this is why I wrote the post! There are people NOT encouraging its use. When they are not outright saying DDT is completely bad, period, no debate, don’t use it at all, they point to mosquitoes having and developing resistance, which really doesn’t matter as DDT continues to be effective, as justification for foisting off less-effective bed nets and after-the-fact drug treatments as being just as good.

    So you spent many words saying nothing in contention to my post, finishing with something that was argued upstream and not the point of my post which was to remove resistance as justification for not using DDT. And now you’re saying I’m somehow misrepresenting what was said, as you presented in your words that I just went through. Thus I still don’t think you understand what I was saying!

  120. Eli Rabett – I agree that we should use ACT, but it is for treating, not preventing, malaria. On the other hand, DDT (and other insecticides), as well as malaria vaccines, are more for preventing malaria. Therefore, their use isn’t mutually exclusive. In any case, even if we have an effective therapy, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to prevent malaria, so long as that is cost-effective. In fact, it’s better to prevent than to cure malaria, if possible. I say that since I have contracted malaria more than once – I am an Indian and spent the first 23 years of my life there — and while I obviously survived, I’d rather not have contracted it in the first place.

    [As an aside, I note that my mother was diagnosed with cerebral malaria shortly before she died.]However, I attribute her death to old age; she was about 90.] [BTW, indoor DDT spraying was a regular occurrence when I was growing up, but that didn’t guarantee you wouldn’t get malaria. Also, I have always hated mosquito nets – it’s like living in a cage and cuts down airflow, which can feel suffocating if you don’t have electricity for a fan. Even my dog hates a crate.]

  121. Tim Lambert – As Spence_UK notes, whether the number of cases after 1963 rose from a handful to 537,700 (per the figures you quoted) or 2.5 million (per the numbers I quoted) the critical point is that DDT use was effective because when it was withdrawn, cases (and deaths) rose and then when it was reintroduced, they dropped once again. It is more than likely that many Sinhalese who are alive today owe their lives to DDT usage in the 1960s (and later), even if P. falciparum was developing resistance to DDT.

    Also, let’s not forget that data from other countries also indicates that cases and deaths were sensitive to the use of DDT.

    However, I AM bothered by the large disparity in the reported numbers for Ceylon/Sri Lanka. But it doesn’t automatically follow from what you presented that the numbers attributed by the NY Times to the WHO special study are necessarily wrong and your source (Gramicci and Beales) is right. You have not presented any basis for this claim. I note that the passage you quote, and the link to the WHO website that you provided, both glossed over the fact that DDT use was discontinued in the early 1960s.

    One explanation is that Ceylon did not, in fact, suspend DDT use in the early 1960s, but there are a number of other sources, in addition to the Whelan (1985 or 1992) and the 1971 NY Times report of the WHO study (which was much more contemporaneous to actual events than the WHO website or the Gramicci and Beales chapter), that say otherwise. These include the Zubair et al. paper noted by Spence_UK and the Pinikahana and Dixon paper that I noted.

    Regardless, I hope to figure which data set is more correct and why. But it won’t be anytime soon, since I have been unable to locate the book you quote (which includes the Gramicci/Beales paper) or the Pinikahana/Dixon paper at a library that I can access readily. Although, I hope to get them via Interlibrary Loan, I would appreciate getting a copy if you have access to either of them. [Thanks. You should have my e-mail address, since I registered on your site.]

    Also, note that until a truly effective vaccine comes along, it is more than likely that resistance will develop to whatever drugs and/or insecticides we use to reduce malaria. This does not mean that we shouldn’t use any drugs/insecticides, rather it tells us that we should use them judiciously, and try to maximize their utility. So, in my opinion, the argument that resistance develops misses the point, namely, that until resistance develops, the drug/insecticide is saving lives. In fact, even a malaria vaccine may, for all we know, be short-lived (in effectiveness) – think annual flu shots. However, that would be a poor reason to abandon the search for a vaccine. Even if it is effective for only a couple of years, one could potentially save a few million lives, not to mention a few hundred million cases. I think that would be an acceptable outcome.

    The same logic applies to drugs and insecticides, no matter how short-lived their effectiveness.

  122. Golkany, clearly you do not understand the life cycle of Plasmodium falciparum. If you use ACT to effect rapid cures one of the reservoirs for spreading the disease (people) is diminished substantially. You could inform yourself by looking at this ppt presentation, take note of slide 6 where one of the listed advantages of ACT is the reduction of gametocyte carriage and then look further on where the effect of ACT therapy in reducing cases is shown (btw they do consider RESIDUAL spraying of DDT in KwaZulu, but residual spraying is spraying indoors, which Tim and Ed and Eli endorse, not broadcast spraying which you endorse, which lead to the disaster in Sri Lanka).

  123. I really don’t know why I’m doing this on my day off — nevertheless, here I go.

    Eli Rabett – Thanks for the slide show. I’ll look at it very carefully. However, ACT is for treatment, not prevention – it’s really a very simple concept. It makes sense to use indoor residual spraying as part of prevention measures (again when it works) and if, despite that (and other measures), one contracts malaria, one ought to use ACT (or whatever other therapies or combination of therapies are most cost-effective). See http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs094/en/.

    I note also that ACT is not recommended for prophylaxis. See, e.g., slides 37 and 40 of the PPT presentation, The role of Artemisinin Drugs in the treatment of malaria, at http://www.malaria-ipca.com/images/artemisinin_drugs.ppt.

    Also, note the caution in slide 35 on using artemesinin and derivatives during the first trimester of pregnancy. The solution: “risks have to be balanced against the benefits.”. Exactly so.

    Second, where do you get the notion that I support “broadcast spraying”? Certainly not from my writings. If you READ the Conclusion of my paper posted above on September 14, 2010 at 9:14 pm you’ll see that it states:

    Specifically, the precautionary principle argues that DDT use should not be banned worldwide because it will surely increase death and disease in human beings. In fact, indoor spraying of DDT ought to be encouraged in countries where such spraying would diminish malaria incidence. Such spraying should continue so long as equally safe and cost-effective substitutes are unavailable. It should be discontinued only after “informed consent” for a suspension of DDT spraying has been obtained from the beneficiaries of such spraying, i.e., the populations at risk of contracting malaria.

    [Emphasis added.]

    And if you read further, you’ll note that although I’m skeptical that a global DDT ban will necessarily advance well-being in developed countries, I do not oppose such a ban with respect to its impacts on such countries. For practical purposes, such a ban would be superfluous from their point of view. To quote:

    A better case can be made under the precautionary principle for a ban on DDT use in developed countries. However, a global ban will do little to further advance their public health or environmental quality. Developed countries have rid themselves of malaria and, if the need should ever arise, they can afford substitutes. Thus access to DDT is no longer critical to protect their public health. Not surprisingly, many have already banned DDT use. This has helped reduce the environmental impacts of DDT within their borders and, in fact, many of its worst impacts are being reversed, despite the absence of a global ban. .

    However, what I really object to is people and organizations wanting to play God with other people’s lives. In the context of a global ban on DDT that seemed imminent 10 years ago, I wrote:

    In belated recognition of the public health benefits of DDT use in various developing countries, the idea has been advanced that a global ban should be postponed to 2007. But this too would be contrary to the precautionary approach. Under a postponement, there are only two possibilities in 2007. First, a cost-effective substitute is not found, in which instance the case for banning DDT use will be no stronger in 2007 than it is today. Second, a cost-effective substitute is indeed discovered, in which case economic considerations will prevail and use of DDT will be discontinued automatically. In either case there is little to be gained by writing a postponement into a legally binding international agreement. Instead of playing God with DDT and malaria by placing a deadline on global DDT use, it would be more fruitful to invest more heavily in research and development of alternative approaches to more cost-effectively combat malaria. .

  124. Re: Eli Rabett on September 16, 2010 at 6:31 am and September 17, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Ah Eli, Eli… May I call you Eli? You’re just not getting it.

    First some basic research, Wikipedia will suffice.
    Artemisinin
    Plasmodium falciparum
    Plasmodium vivax
    Antimalarial drug [Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs)]
    Plasmodium (the genus)

    ACT is now recommended front-line treatment for uncomplicated P. falciparum, with limitations. It is not for severe infections, except as a possible finishing treatment after other drugs have done the bulk of the work. ACT is being used for P. vivax, however “…in combination with primaquine for radical cure.” “P. vivax is found mainly in Asia, Latin America, and in some parts of Africa.” “Overall it accounts for 65% of malaria cases in Asia and South America.” Artemisinin resistence has been growing within Cambodia. The plant Artemisia annua has been used in Chinese herbal medicine for over a thousand years in the treatment of malaria, thus resistance to artemisinin should be expected.

    P. falciparum is only one of six types of malaria. (The Genus article says at least 11 of the 200+ Plasmodium species infect humans.) Thus ACT is a partial treatment of malaria, of value part of the time, whose effectiveness is already decreasing. As I’ve noted, there are other mosquito-transmitted diseases.

    Use of ACT requires a medical infrastructure. Sick people and medical personnel need to be brought quickly together as soon as the need arises. Lab work also needs to done promptly, to determine which strain of Plasmodium is involved before ACT is employed. Malaria is found in very poor countries where the only way to get medical care is to walk for days, and after the journey there may only be a simple clinic capable of setting basic simple fractures and suturing of incisions and lacerations, perhaps there are some common antibiotics on hand.

    Indoor spraying of DDT is effective against the mosquito-transmitted diseases, including all forms of malaria, by preventing the mosquito-to-human transmission of the diseases. Its use only needs someone showing up once a year to do the spraying.

    You are extolling ACT for rapidly depleting reservoirs of P. falciparum. Why not simply prevent those reservoirs from forming in the first place? Given the potential lifelong debilitating effects of malaria, isn’t the best course of action to prevent the infections, period?

    And bed nets? Why should people only be safe from malaria in their beds, when they can easily be safe throughout their entire homes, and any building they occupy?

    ACT sounds good, for certain P. falciparum infections that occur like outdoors where the protection of indoor DDT spraying is unavailable, for now. Don’t oversell it.

  125. You folk don’t get it. ACT therapy has been shown to decrease malaria cases substantially, and malaria deaths drastically. Broadcast spraying of DDT has been shown to INCREASE malaria cases and malaria deaths because of the rapid development of resistance in the mosquitos. No one is advising against residual spraying of DDT in houses, and the more effective DDT impregnated bed netting. ACT works when properly applied. The increase in resistance in SE Asia can be traced back to insufficient dosing because of the relatively high cost of ACT (Gates and the Clinton Health Initiative are sponsoring research on reducing the costs). As the NE Journal of Medicine said in 2006

    “In most of Asia, South America, and the Horn of Africa, chloroquine is still needed for the treatment of vivax malaria. This situation could change, since most malaria infections are treated without any particular species having been diagnosed, and the
    artemisinin-based combination treatments (with the exception of artesunate–sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine) are reliably effective against all the malarias that affect humans.”

    and we have this from the Lancet

    “Early parasitological diagnosis and treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are key components of worldwide malaria elimination programmes. In general, use of ACTs has been limited to patients with falciparum malaria whereas blood-stage infections with Plasmodium vivax are mostly still treated with chloroquine. We review the evidence for the relative benefits and disadvantages of the existing separate treatment approach versus a unified ACT-based strategy for treating Plasmodium falciparum and P vivax infections in regions where both species are endemic (co-endemic). The separate treatment scenario is justifiable if P vivax remains sensitive to chloroquine and diagnostic tests reliably distinguish P vivax from P falciparum. However, with the high number of misdiagnoses in routine practice and the rise and spread of chloroquine-resistant P vivax, there might be a compelling rationale for a unified ACT-based strategy for vivax and falciparum malaria in all co-endemic regions. Analyses of the cost-effectiveness of ACTs for both Plasmodium species are needed to assess the role of these drugs in the control and elimination of vivax malaria.”

    It is not that ACT doesn’t work against vivax, it is that choloquinine is still effective and much less expensive. Chloroquinine clear more slowly from the blood stream and therefore can be used as a propholaxtic.

    Since artemisinin is rapidly cleared from the blood stream and is expensive you would have to be an idiot to think that it should be used for propholaxis, esp in the developing countries. Using it in that way would, esp in subclinical doses, in any case probably lead to development of resistance.

  126. Indur, I have more extesive extracts from several books here. These are just what I found on the shelves at the UNSW library. We have multiple sources in agreement on the number of cases of malaria (a malaria text book, official WHO statistics, and Gordon Harrison’s history at my link above). We only have a newspaper story giving a different figure. I think it is likely that the reporter made a mistake when reporting what the WHO report said and mistook a figure for the number of cases when DDT spraying started in 1947 for the number of cases when they restarted after suspending spraying for a few years in the 60s.

    DDT spraying against malaria was suspended in 1964 not because of environmental concerns but because there were too few cases to justify its use. DDT continued to be used in agriculture. They felt that they are succeeded in eradicating malaria and the few remaining cases could be treated with drugs. This wasn’t unreasonable — that’s what had worked in temperate climates.

    It seems likely that the continued use of DDT in agriculture in Sri Lanka in the 60s helped cause mosquito resistance to DDT and the resulting malaria epidemic in the 70s despite DDT spraying. This is one of the things that Rachel Carson warned about in Silent Spring, but vested interests in agriculture and pesticide manufacturers delayed action till it was too late. Sri Lanka did learn a lesson from this and banned the agricultural use of malathion to prevent it from suffering the same fate as DDT.

  127. Re: Eli Rabett on September 17, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Well, isn’t this a fine mess.

    At only the third sentence you toss out a red herring:

    Broadcast spraying of DDT has been shown to INCREASE malaria cases and malaria deaths because of the rapid development of resistance in the mosquitos.

    I’ve been proposing indoor spraying of walls, not broadcast spraying. Indur already made clear to you his position. So why are you still bringing up broadcast spraying? Besides, as I pointed out, DDT remains effective for indoor spraying even after the mosquitoes have been declared resistant so it’s a moot point anyway.

    Your next line contains what logically must be false:

    No one is advising against residual spraying of DDT in houses, and the more effective DDT impregnated bed netting.

    One, there are people advocating a total ban on DDT thus there are people by default advising against indoor spraying. Two, how can DDT-impregnated bed netting be more effective than indoor spraying? Bed nets are only protection when one is in bed, with DDT-impregnation perhaps the room the bed is in is protected as well by the same way indoor spraying protects. But indoor spraying protects the entire home, which includes where the bed resides, and protects those in the home when they are not in bed. How can protecting a part be superior to protecting the whole?

    Then comes your long speech about ACT. From which I obtained “…most malaria infections are treated without any particular species having been diagnosed….” Switching to ACT as front-line treatment for all forms of malaria will hasten resistance, and ACT will be prohibitively expensive in many poverty-stricken areas, which can already be the case with the cheaper drugs. And ACT still requires a medical infrastructure to administer it, which is often lacking where malaria is prevalent.

    Then your next to the last sentence is another red herring:

    Since artemisinin is rapidly cleared from the blood stream and is expensive you would have to be an idiot to think that it should be used for propholaxis, esp in the developing countries.

    From the sources I linked to in my previous post it is clear it is not for prophylaxis, and I did not suggest its use as such. Indur also said it is not for prevention. So why bring it up?

    Then comes your last line:

    Using it in that way would, esp in subclinical doses, in any case probably lead to development of resistance.

    Resistance has already developed, now what is left is for it to spread. As I previously said, the plant Artemisia annua has been used in Chinese herbal medicine for over a thousand years for the treatment of malaria. Thus malaria that’s resistant to artemisinin likely already existed, thus ACT’s usefulness will be time limited.

    Which still doesn’t change that ACT is an after-the-fact treatment, the superior position of stopping the infection from happening in the first place still remains. By concentrating on doing so, there will be less malaria infections, far less, thus less infections to treat with ACT thus extending the period it will remain effective.

    Well, you say no one is advising against indoor spraying of DDT. I’ve promoted it. Indur has promoted it. Thus we’re all in agreement. Bring on the indoor spraying of DDT, and we’ll see what we can do about the few cases that remain.

  128. Tim,
    Thank you very much for a very interesting compendium of materials. Perhaps the number ought to be closer to half a million than 2.5 million, although it doesn’t really change my qualitative conclusions: (a) indoor spraying has saved many lives over time, (b) where it’s effective, indoor spraying is fine, especially in developing countries, but broadcast spraying isn’t, if for no reason other than the fact that it hastens the development of DDT-resistant strains, (b) costs are important, particularly for developing countries who are generally short of resources, and (c) the decision on whether or not DDT should be made by the people whose lives are most at risk.

    Next time I write on DDT and Sri Lanka, I’ll certainly link to the information you provided. I hope that before then I will have figured out which of these numbers is closer to truth. Thanks, again.

    Indur

  129. Really? The facts are that a) indoor spraying with DDT is being carried out. The costs are higher than the costs of impregnated nets. Given the nocturnal feeding habits of most mosquitoes indoor spraying and nets are both efficient (but at least some of the mosquitoes have adapted to indoor spraying by not roosting immediately after feeding.) On the other hand, indoor spraying is at high enough levels now that accumulation in people is being observed and appears to be associated, among other things, with reduced semen count in men and other such goodies

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ddt-use-to-combat-malaria

    “The scientists reported that DDT may have a variety of human health effects, including reduced fertility, genital birth defects, breast cancer, diabetes and damage to developing brains. Its metabolite, DDE, can block male hormones.

    “Based on recent studies, we conclude that humans are exposed to DDT and DDE, that indoor residual spraying can result in substantial exposure and that DDT may pose a risk for human populations,” the scientists wrote in their consensus statement, published online today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.”

    What the world does not need is an engineer who thinks he knows it all posting to a credulous audience in an attempt to diminish interest in other problems. Roger Bate was the nasty piece of work who invented this ploy to deflect the WHO[‘s interest in dealing with the death and disease caused by tobacco. Golkany appears to want to follow in Bates’ footsteps but the target this time is to prevent us from dealing with climate change. Bate claims he never received any funding directly, but that is a tissue thin excuse given how money flows. He certainly asked for it.

    It is dangerous on many levels. First it is a real threat to those exposed to malaria because Golkany’s recommendation, if foolishly adopted, would not work. More would get sick, more would die, and as we are seeing now there are secondary effects from indoor spraying that are emerging. Second, Golkany is prescribing from ignorance. He obviously is clueless with respect to the current efforts against malaria, coordinated by the Global Fund and the WHO, and supported, among others, but significantly by the Gates Foundation and the Clinton Global initiative, otherwise, why take the Gates foundation to task. They are supporting indoor spraying where appropriate. Golkany’s is a complete strawman, no matter how he tries to walk it back now. Further, he has no idea of medicinal attack on malaria, the people who are working to reduce costs and make effective drugs universally available.

    The war against Rachel Carson continues.

  130. Eli Rabett’s one side of his mouth said on September 17, 2010 at 6:18 pm:

    No one is advising against residual spraying of DDT in houses…

    Eli Rabett’s other side of his mouth is now saying on September 18, 2010 at 6:32 pm how bad indoor spraying is, effectively advising against residual spraying of DDT in houses.

    After which, all of his mouth is used to say in several ways that Goklany is an idiot.

    Yup, we can see how Eli wants to play his game.

    So let him play, while the grown-ups go on saving lives with what we know will work.

  131. Tim Lambert says:

    “Rutledge’s claim that Rachel Carson killed 3 billion people, blames her for more deaths than actually occured from all causes since 1972. But it’s the title of the movie, so it must be true, I guess.”

    Lambert ought to be the last person to be talking about numbers. He continually peddled the Lancet mortality figures even after Johns Hopkins had sanctioned the academic for peddling a defective study.

    At the rate Lambert and Lancet were accumulating Iraqi deaths, we would have reached a 5 trillion Iraqi war deaths toll by now.

    [snip]

    Treat him like any troll.

  132. > volokh
    You’d think someone over there would bother to look this stuff up.
    It’s not hard to find actual research published recently.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=DDT+cancer&as_sdt=2001&as_ylo=2001&as_vis=1

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2022666/

    Environ Health Perspect. 2007 October; 115(10): 1406–1414.
    Published online 2007 July 24. doi: 10.1289/ehp.10260.

    PMCID: PMC2022666 Copyright This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article’s original DOI.

    Research

    DDT and Breast Cancer in Young Women: New Data on the Significance of Age at Exposure

    “Results
    High levels of serum p,p′-DDT predicted a statistically significant 5-fold increased risk of breast cancer among women who were born after 1931. These women were under 14 years of age in 1945, when DDT came into widespread use, and mostly under 20 years as DDT use peaked. Women who were not exposed to p,p′-DDT before 14 years of age showed no association between p,p′-DDT and breast cancer (p = 0.02 for difference by age).
    Conclusions
    Exposure to p,p′-DDT early in life may increase breast cancer risk. Many U.S. women heavily exposed to DDT in childhood have not yet reached 50 years of age. The public health significance of DDT exposure in early life may be large….”

  133. Hank Roberts,

    Advice on reading scientific studies: 1. do not rely on a single paper; 2. check the cites to find out about subsequent findings.

    One of the citations of the paper you quoted was, for example, this one:

    False-Positive Results in Cancer Epidemiology: A Plea for
    Epistemological Modesty
    by Boffetta et al., in which the study you cite was given as an example of:

    Overinterpretation and an apparent lack of skepticism had major roles in the wide acceptance of the result.

    … and …

    What is of ongoing concern is that given the history of studies of this exposure – disease issue, the results were still interpreted with few reservations and little if any caution.

    Surely that could never happen in the peer reviewed literature? Oh yes it can, and indeed frequently does, particularly in fields with strong political ties and emotive aspects to them.

  134. Hank,

    You know what is DEFINITELY causing breast cancer? Birth Control Pills. Funny that a substance that limits population AND causes cancer is totally legal, but one that gives life and prosperity and is POSSIBLY cancer causing(in the same catagory as coffee and pickles) is banned. Think there is anything wrong with that?
    Do you drive? Cause the odds of you getting killed in a wreck are very high. Do you dance? Careful, you might break a leg.
    Do you eat sugar? Might be wary of diabetes then.

    Must we sit in a box and not move, not produce, not breathe? Are we to sacrifice the lives of countless children because you dug up some “might” cause breast cancer statistics? Let’s ask those moms in Africa if they think it’s worth that risk? Why are white men in Washington deciding this for them?

    Rats that were fed DDT developed 26% less cancer than the control fed mice. Even with ALL data laid on the table, kids are dying, and DDT could stop it.

    Sorry, but you are gonna have to peddle that arguement somewhere else.

  135. Eli – When you try to figure out whether you are for or against indoor spraying, let me recommend that you do some comparative risk analysis to figure out whether reducing death and disease from the various health effects that MAY BE associated with indoor DDT use is worth risking real death and disease that assuredly will result if indoor DDT use is banned. A general methodology for such an approach is presented and applied in the paper, Applying the Precautionary Principle to DDT, available at http://goklany.org/library/DDT%20and%20PP.PDF. A refinement of the methodology is provided in “Emerging Technology and Political Institutions: Is the Precautionary Principle an Effective Tool for Policymakers to Use in Regulating Emerging Technologies? Yes [but with a caveat],” in Peter M. Haas, John A. Hird, and Beth McBratney, Controversies in Globalization: Contending Approaches to International Relations (CQ Press, Washington, DC, 2009), pp. 103-115. A draft version is provided at http://goklany.org/library/Goklany%20-Precautionary%20Principle%20in%20Haas%20et%20al.pdf.

    Hank Roberts – If breast cancer is sensitive to indoor DDT use (as suggested by the paper you linked to), the relationship must be weak to non-existent. At http://www.time.com/time/interactive/0,31813,1668275,00.html, there is a map showing age-adjusted breast cancer rates around the world. Based on an eyeball analysis, it doesn’t seem to be related to malaria prevalence now or the 1960s and 1970s. Off hand, meat eating might seem to be a better determinant of breast cancer rates.

    In any case, I would recommend that you too do a similar risk analysis to the one recommended above. The DDT-breast cancer study that you cite concludes, “It is too soon to decide that DDT exposure has little public health significance for breast cancer risk.” On the other hand, we do know that stopping indoor residual spraying would have substantial public health risk. Moreover, if one were to compare life years lost (LYY) from an “average” malaria related death you would find it to be much greater than the average LYY from a breast cancer death (which is far more prevalent among women than men), because of the long latency times involved.

    In addition, who knows, but 50-60 years hence we may even have cure for breast cancers.

    I don’t know about you, but if I were a girl younger than 14 years of age and lived in a malaria-endemic area, which malaria, moreover, was amenable to be reduced through DDT, I would think it would be better to control malaria and increase the likelihood of my living to tomorow, even if that means that five to six decades hence I may be afflicted by best cancer.

    But regardless of my preference, it would be unethical for me to make that decision on behalf of that girl. Such decisions are best made locally by those most affected by the decisions.

  136. A peer-reviewed scientific paper published in 2008 in Malaria Journal by Yukich, Lengeler, Tediosi, Brown, Mulligan, Chavasse, Stevens, Justino, Conteh, Maharaj, Erskine, Mueller, Wiseman, Ghebremeskel, Zerom, Goodman, McGuire, Urrutia, Sakho, Hanson and Sharp compared several large vector control programs to prevent malaria, including both insecticide-treated nets (ITN) and indoor residual spraying (IRS). The results: Conventional ITNs cost $438-$2199 per child death averted, Long-lasting ITNs cost $502-$692 and IRS cost $3933-$4357.

    Even using IRS, DDT was not the most cost effective insecticide, which was deltamethrin. Yukich et al conclude:

    These findings confirm that large-scale delivery of ITNs and IRS in sub-Saharan Africa is feasible and highly cost-effective using a range of strategies. Delivery of LLINs through campaigns provides a highly cost-effective and achievable method for rapidly improving ITN coverage. However, many other options exist for ITN programming, some well suited to maintain coverage levels after campaigns. IRS, or a combination of ITNs and IRS, remain attractive and viable options in some settings. Given that sustainable high-level funding appears to be available in the long-term through new global financing mechanisms, every malaria endemic country should aim to upscale their vector control programmes as rapidly and sustainably as possible.

    Twenty years ago DDT was the WHO insecticide of choice for malaria control, but better stuff has been developed since. The folks promoting DDT over better, cheaper, alternatives need to join the 21st century. The world tried to eradicate malaria using DDT last century but it failed. If we are to defeat malaria we have to use modern technology, not stuff from the 1940s.

  137. From: Tim Lambert on September 19, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    A peer-reviewed scientific paper published in 2008 in Malaria Journal…

    Even using IRS, DDT was not the most cost effective insecticide, which was deltamethrin.

    This is truly amazing news. Especially since that is the full paper, “DDT” appears just once in the text, and “delt” doesn’t show up at all thus that full pesticide name isn’t there either. Upon reading the paper and even examining all Tables and Figures, it is clear that particular insecticides weren’t even considered, it examines more generally simply insecticide treated net (ITN) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) programs with consideration towards the new long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN’s). This is notable in the sole DDT mention:

    By contrast, IRS is competitive with ITNs and may be the better option in areas where few spray rounds are required due to either short transmission seasons, the use of inexpensive but long lasting insecticides (such as DDT), or in epidemic prone areas and other situations where good geographic and temporal targeting is possible [46].

    I could conclude that you have deliberately attributed this non-existent “fact” to this scholarly work for the purposes of misinformation, but I shall be charitable for now and go with the general rule for such: Never attribute to malevolence what can be accounted for by incompetence. You simply didn’t know what you talked about.

    Also, while you point to those child death averted numbers, you fail to note a particular distortion. Those numbers relate to children under five years of age. From the “Costing Scenarios” section:

    …fifty percent of the nets delivered were assumed to be used by children under five years of age and only one child was assumed to sleep under each of these nets on a given night.

    Then this is subsequently found in the “Main Findings” section:

    If nets were to only protect children little community effect would be realized as children represent less than 20% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa [45].

    So you have a house with 5 people in it, of which 1 is a child under 5, they acquire 2 nets, that’s 1 child death averted. IRS is whole-house protection. They would have to acquire 5 nets to get what IRS offers on a per-person basis. Although unspecified, let’s go with that 20% figure being for children under 5. Multiply those ITN cost numbers by 2.5, then compare to IRS.

    Also IRS, as described in the paper, is done on a community-wide basis. ITN’s are distributed to individuals. Once the commitment to IRS is made, entire villages are treated and protected. ITN programs have very large gaps. This is seen right off in Table 1. For the two IRS programs examined, net coverage for children under 5 was listed for one as “High” while the other is “> 95% structures.” For the 5 ITN programs it ranged from 59% to 7. Yup, down to SEVEN PERCENT.

    Now to something related. You seem to have the same affliction as Eli. Above you said:

    The world tried to eradicate malaria using DDT last century but it failed.

    Yet at considerable length you explained to Golkany that DDT usage was halted due to economic reasons, there were too few cases remaining to warrant continued usage. Thus when it suited you, you were saying economics prevented DDT from eradicating malaria, which did indicate it was enormously successful. Now, using indoor spraying which remains effective even after the mosquitoes have been declared resistant to DDT, we could follow through to the end with DDT and eliminate malaria. Thus you appear to have shifted to saying “it” failed, indicating DDT failed, although I can be charitable and go with the alternate where you actually said the world failed, in which case with sufficient determination the world can this time succeed with DDT.

    So now you’re complaining about old stuff, saying there are better, cheaper alternatives. Yet you are unable to show there is anything better and/or cheaper than indoor DDT spraying, certainly nothing as completely effective, and try to foist off this generic ITN vs IRS study as saying something specific against DDT to the point where you (inadvertently?) added a “fact” that wasn’t even in it.

    You and Eli argue similarly. Much time is spent going against DDT while appearing to be reasonably considering the issues, then when you get nailed down it becomes “Anything but DDT!” Is it that hard to admit you’re an anti-DDT advocate at the start?

  138. From the paper Tim Lambert links to:

    By contrast, IRS is competitive with ITNs and may be the better option in areas where few spray rounds are required due to either short transmission seasons, the use of inexpensive but long lasting insecticides (such as DDT), or in epidemic prone areas and other situations where good geographic and temporal targeting is possible

    Since Tim claims:

    The folks promoting DDT over better, cheaper, alternatives need to join the 21st century.

    I suggest you send a note to the authors of the paper you cited, since they promoted DDT. It seems by your reckoning, they need to “join the 21st century”.

    Note Lamberts slipperiness here – cost per death prevented is highly variable depending on a number of factors. The paper clearly shows that cost per person protected is almost identical between IRS and ITN. Of course, some of those protected by IRS will not be the most vulnerable; but in areas where IRS is used, a much greater proportion of the population will be afforded protection. A cost/benefit analysis which only includes one factor cannot be the sole basis of policy.

    Lambert also claims:

    Twenty years ago DDT was the WHO insecticide of choice for malaria control

    Be nice to see some evidence of that, Tim. Presumably, if it was the “insecticide of choice” we should be able to find lots of 20-year old WHO literature heavily promoting the use of DDT. Should be easy for you to find evidence for your claim, then. Because until I see some evidence, I will remain extremely sceptical of that claim.

  139. Spence_UK said on September 20, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Kadaka: you beat me to it! :)

    Ah, there’s some overlap but we each made separate points. The more, the merrier!

  140. kadaka, you keep claiming to be charitable when you are anything but. If you had read the article I linked you would have noticed this: ” for detailed results see [25].”, as well as repeated references to [25] whenever costs were discussed. Reference [25] is the full 130 page report that the paper is based on. Feel free to read it, come back here, and apologize.

    Your demands that DDT continue to be used even when the mosquitoes are resistant to it, suggest that you just want to spray DDT to spite environmentalists are indifferent to the malaria deaths that would result from such ineffective measures against malaria.

  141. Dear Spence UK, see: Use of DDT in vector control: Conclusions of Study Group on Vector Control for Malaria and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases, 16–24 November 1993. Quoting from the article:

    (1) At the present time there appears to be no justification on toxicological grounds for changing current policy towards indoor spraying of DDT for vector-borne disease control.

    (2) Therefore DDT may still be considered on its merits as one of the a range of possible insecticides for use in vector-borne disease control.

    (3) However, in view of the availability of alternative insecticides, some of which may be equivalent to DDT in epidemiological impact, in public acceptability, in logistical suitability (including ease of application) and in meeting requirements of W.H.O. quality specifications, DDT no longer merits being promoted as ‘the insecticide of choice’.

  142. Tim, thanks for coming back with the response – but that isn’t actually what I asked for.

    I asked for evidence that the WHO promoted DDT as “the insecticide of choice”, not literature saying it is no longer the insecticide of choice, which your quote provides.

    It takes little or no political guts to make claims like that 1993 one which would clearly appease the green movement. It takes genuine political courage to stand out – say in the late 1980s – and actually state that DDT is the insecticide of choice. That is what I asked for, and still waiting to see any evidence of.

    The problem is, lacking the political guts to do what is right costs lives. Just as the switch from DDT to malathion in Sri Lanka in 1977 saw a surge in malaria deaths from single figures per year to 100 per year. The supposedly “more effective”, more expensive insecticide was anything but. Even after some resistance developed, the evidence suggests DDT was more effective – but of course politically difficult to maintain, thanks to demonisation of the chemical by the green movement.

    An irrational demonisation that continues to this day. Check out the false positive result quoted by Hank Roberts, promoted heavily by political advocates and the media, subsequently described by more objective scientists as lacking any kind of scepticism; this is cargo cult science. Thankfully, fewer and fewer people are listening to this, and it is good to see DDT programs in place in the 21st century – where they belong.

    I’ll post no more on this thread, I think we have probably taken the useful discussion as far as it is likely to go, but I would be genuinely interested if you do have any evidence of the type I requested above.

  143. From: Tim Lambert on September 20, 2010 at 8:58 am

    kadaka, you keep claiming to be charitable when you are anything but. If you had read the article I linked you would have noticed this: ” for detailed results see [25].”, as well as repeated references to [25] whenever costs were discussed. Reference [25] is the full 130 page report that the paper is based on. Feel free to read it, come back here, and apologize.

    What I noticed was in “Cost-effectiveness calculations,” namely:

    The full set of country-specific operational and costing results is available in an unpublished report [25]; selected results only are presented here.

    You presented a peer-reviewed paper, I commented on a peer-reviewed paper, you tossed in something from an unpublished report as if it came from the peer-reviewed paper. Use of a reference does not confer peer-reviewed status to the reference, nor does it indicate the paper’s author(s) accept everything in the reference. Currently this reference has as much status as a Greenpeace flyer.

    The links are messed up. It should be ” Operations, costs and cost-effectiveness of five insecticide treated net programs (Eritrea, Malawi, Tanzania, Togo, Senegal) and two indoor residual spraying programs (KwaZulu-Natal, Mozambique).” “PubMed Abstract” link goes to “Analysis of force generation during flagellar assembly through optical trapping of free-swimming Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.” “Publisher Full Text” link is a paywall to the full paper. Of course those links shouldn’t be there anyway, as it’s an unpublished report. Guess the pdf link is the only one there…

    You said:

    Even using IRS, DDT was not the most cost effective insecticide, which was deltamethrin.

    As stated, “Even using IRS” is meaningless. Inside the unpublished report I find… Either you have misrepresented the facts or you either didn’t look deep enough or didn’t understand the significance.

    What you have stated, I cannot find in the text. One must look at certain tables within the chapters on the KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) and Mozambique IRS programs.

    Let’s start with Chapter 13: Costs and Effects of Indoor Residual Spraying in KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), pg 94. The time frame extended from 1997 to 1999, two annual spraying rounds (only once a year). As mentioned on pg 99 and elsewhere, the synthetic pyrethroid deltamethrin was used at the time of the study. How they estimated the costs are found on pg 99, and they look to have a bit of leeway to them. From Table 59 on pg 100, cost per person (2005 USD) for deltamethrin was 3.27, DDT was 3.52, a 25-cent difference. Before you start crowing, actually read the following text, as found in the Discussion section starting on that page:

    IRS has been and continues to be a highly effective intervention for the control of malaria in South Africa, including KwaZulu-Natal (Mabaso et al. 2004). The number of cases of malaria has fallen dramatically both historically and since the reintroduction of DDT spraying in 2000 (Maharaj et al. 2005; Nethercott 1974)).

    Your modern pesticide, marginally cheaper, wasn’t doing the job. DDT was brought in as the more effective replacement. How many lives were lost while saving that quarter a head? Is this how you define “cost effective”?

    Chapter 15: Costs and Effects of Indoor Residual Spraying in Southern Mozambique, pg 106, tells a similar tale. 1999-2001 but actually only one year of spraying, done twice a year. Back in Chapter 14: Indoor Residual Spraying in southern Mozambique (Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative) which started on pg 102, it is mentioned on pg 103 that bendiocarb, a carbamate insecticide, was used during the period of the study. Referring to Table 67 found on pg 110, figuring on two rounds of spraying, the cost per person (2005 USD) was highest for benidocarb at 3.90, DDT was 2.89, while deltamethrin was 2.65. However, again, see the following in the “Discussion” section on pg 111:

    In late 2005, Mozambique adopted the use of DDT in traditional structures, reducing insecticide costs as well as eliminating the need for two spray rounds per year in areas with only traditional structures.

    At the top of pg 104 the change is noted, the pricey stuff is still used on brick/concrete structures. So for the traditional structures, not only did they save by going to DDT, they saved more by being able to go to a once-a-year spraying schedule. As things go locally, given conditions like how long is the “malaria season” and other factors, it is unknown if the marginally-cheaper deltamethrin could be likewise used only once a year. However, as revealed at the bottom of pg 103:

    Early entomological studies showed that the main vector in Mozambique, A. funestus, showed significant resistance to synthetic pyrethroids in the southern part of the country.

    Therefore deltamethrin wasn’t even a candidate for use, thus DDT was the cheapest of the ones suitable for use, and the most cost effective.

    Let’s recap!
    1. You presented something gleaned from a few tables of an unpublished report as if part of a peer-reviewed paper, then took offense when called out on it.
    2. The first example of deltamethrin being the most cost effective insecticide, showed it marginally cheaper but less effective than DDT, and it was replaced by DDT.
    3. Second example, deltamethrin wasn’t even in consideration thus DDT was the most cost effective.
    4. You’re awaiting an apology.

    Bub, [snip]

    Your demands that DDT continue to be used even when the mosquitoes are resistant to it, suggest that you just want to spray DDT to spite environmentalists are indifferent to the malaria deaths that would result from such ineffective measures against malaria.

    Actually I’m looking for the most “bang for the buck,” considering the comprehensiveness of the protection as well as mere per person cost. If we’re going to get rid of malaria from a region, we have to protect everyone possible in a region. Indoor spraying of DDT keeps looking good.

    Plus I’ve presented evidence showing that DDT remains effective even after the mosquitoes have been declared resistant due to its nature as also a repellent and irritant, suitable for indoor spraying. You still haven’t refuted that.

    Instead, you’ve basically just said I’d be happy to watch people die just to piss off some enviro-wackos.

    Bub, if I really wanted to point out who’s willing to let people die due to a personal agenda by denying them the most effective prevention method while insisting inferior products are just as good….

  144. Re: my previous post:

    Mods, that was worthy of a snip, even without any profanity?

    Oh well, no skin off my nose. And yeah, given the upstream noise I can see how such may a touchy subject.

    [mod note – marginal call on my part and only a tiny snip – call me sensitive ~ac]

  145. Insecticide Treated Nets vs. Indoor Residual Spraying

    First, the two are not mutually exclusive.

    According to an August 2010 Cochrane Review (from the Cochrane Collaboration), with respect to IRS:

    Six studies were identified for inclusion (four cluster RCTs, one CBA and one ITS). Four of these studies were conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, one in India and one in Pakistan. IRS reduced malaria transmission in young children by half compared to no IRS in Tanzania (an area where people are regularly exposed to malaria), and protected all age groups in India and Pakistan (where malaria transmission is more unstable and where more than one type of malaria is found).

    When compared with ITNs, IRS appeared more protective (according to the outcome chosen) in one trial conducted in an area of stable malaria transmission, but ITN seemed to be more protective than IRS in unstable areas. Unfortunately, the level of evidence is very limited and no firm conclusions should be drawn on the basis of this review.

    In conclusion, although IRS programmes have shown impressive success in malaria reduction throughout the world, there are too few well-run trials to be able to quantify the effects of IRS in areas with different malaria transmission, or to properly compare IRS and ITN. High-quality and long-duration trials on a large scale, done in areas where there has been little or no mosquito control are still urgently required. New trials should include an IRS arm and an ITN arm, and should also assess the combined effect of ITN and IRS, a very important question in view of malaria elimination. [Source: Pluess B, Tanser FC, Lengeler C, Sharp BL. Indoor residual spraying for preventing malaria. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD006657. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006657.pub2, available at http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab006657.html.%5D

    [Emphasis added.]

    And with respect to ITN, the Cochrane Collaboration Reviews, which is the source of the number of deaths and DALYs saved in the paper that Tim Lambert linked to (Yukich, Lengeler, Tediosi et al. 2008), has this to say:

    Fourteen cluster randomized and eight individually randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria. Five trials measured child mortality: ITNs provided 17% protective efficacy (PE) compared to no nets (relative rate 0.83, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.76 to 0.90), and 23% PE compared to untreated nets (relative rate 0.77, 95% CI 0.63 to 0.95). About 5.5 lives (95% CI 3.39 to 7.67) can be saved each year for every 1000 children protected with ITNs. In areas with stable malaria, ITNs reduced the incidence of uncomplicated malarial episodes in areas of stable malaria by 50% compared to no nets, and 39% compared to untreated nets; and in areas of unstable malaria: by 62% for compared to no nets and 43% compared to untreated nets for Plasmodium falciparum episodes, and by 52% compared to no nets and 11% compared to untreated nets for P. vivax episodes. When compared to no nets and in areas of stable malaria, ITNs also had an impact on severe malaria (45% PE, 95% CI 20 to 63), parasite prevalence (13% PE), high parasitaemia (29% PE), splenomegaly (30% PE), and their use improved the average haemoglobin level in children by 1.7% packed cell volume.

    [Source: Lengeler C. Insecticide-treated bed nets and curtains for preventing malaria. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD000363. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000363.pub2 at http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab000363.html.%5D

    If both are used together, then based on the above, uncomplicated malaria in stable areas could be reduced 75% (since both seem to be about 50% efficient by themselves, and assuming no synergies and/or antagonism. See the material emphasized in the above).

    Second, having slept as a kid under mosquito nets (the non-impregnated variety) and in houses that were sprayed indoors, the quality of life under bednets is much poorer. You are literally in a cage – admittedly made of polyester nowadays rather than iron – about 6 ft.x 3ft x 4-5ft (see http://www.healing-hearts.co.uk/images/nets.jpg). It substantially reduces airflow, which makes for sweltering and uncomfortable nights in warm weather. As described in this travel piece at http://www.montereyherald.com/food/ci_15209305?nclick_check=1:

    At night, after leisurely conversation, everyone retires early. The heat is pervasive, mosquito nets are suffocating — but malaria is endemic. For us the choice was between sweltering under a net, or sleeping exposed, while the termites devouring the ceiling above rained debris down on those sleeping below.

    IRS would address both the termite and mosquito problems!

    In addition, because an ITN is a screen, it cuts down light, which makes it harder to read in bed (assuming you have a light) — an important consideration for those with poor eyesight. You can’t do much inside it, other than lie supine. At least with IRS, one has the run of the house, even if it’s small. So ITNs might be OK for infants, who don’t have much of a choice, but they are very restrictive for virtually anyone else.
    In other words, if required to choose between one or the other, in my opinion, IRS is superior. And, in fact, as a kid, that’s what I did: I didn’t use a mosquito net when sleeping at home, which was sprayed indoors, and elsewhere, often chose not to sleep under — really, inside — one (unless the mosquitoes were unbearable).

  146. Re: Indur M. Goklany on September 20, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    If one considers using nets at all, then they had best be the long-lasting insecticide-impregnated nets like those distributed by Nothing But Nets. A four year lifespan is cited, without re-treatment needed. ITN’s are cited as effective even when torn due to the insecticide, normally because the mosquitoes are being killed although repellent and irritant effects would be needed to prevent biting and thus transmission of disease. There are situations where nets are most beneficial, such as nomads and individuals in transit, in other words they are not occupying fixed-location housing suitable for indoor spraying. I do however wonder about the irony of declaring a net that should be hung to be suitable for when you have no place to hang your hat.

    Which lead me to wonder if we have constrained ourselves with an old model. We have the ability to impregnate a mesh fabric with a repellent in a durable manner. Why aren’t we using the fabric to make sleeping gowns? Lightweight “covers” we slip into at night, or even wear around the house or outdoors. The repellent will keep the mosquitoes at bay, they will be minimally constrictive, the face will not have to be covered so breathing is not impeded. They can have a hood, for the hood and at the leg and hand openings they can have things for a closer fit like drawstrings, elastic, buttons or velcro. They will need some level of water resistance, but I will assume that with a bed net good for four years it has been already figured they will be washed a few times thus the issue is likely already taken into account.

    I can envision the product, see myself using it. It would be good for camping, just something to throw on quick before going to sleep, or even for wearing around the campsite. If I wasn’t worried about it getting snagged on branches and ripped, I may find it preferable while moving through the woods to hosing myself down with DEET. Heck, it might be good for fishing off a boat or on the shore.

    Why aren’t we making these now?

  147. Since I have viewed the film 3 Billion and Counting, I have found a lot of talk about DDT both for and against it. What frustrates me the most is those who refuse to investigate the facts that were kept from us for close to 40 years now. I had been a supporter of the ban. However, now, I can’t deny the truth that I have been shown. I know many who have spent their time and energy keeping the ban going. Have they ever considered that their life work has been for people DYING? Have they ever considered that their support to ban a perfectly SAFE product that can save human life .. could also work to save their life? Do they not consider themselves Human? And have they ever considered .. if they wipe out humans (there self must be included) then there would be no HUMANS to testify to the fact that the eco system is working fine? HUMAN LIFE has to be valued above the eco system. Humans are Gods Nobelest Invention.
    Check out http://www.3billionandcounting.com and allow yourself to be introduced to some FACTS. It will amaze and shock you, for sure.
    Someone made a comment that they like some “insects” better than some humans. I prefer the company of my cat to one of my neighbors, however, I would not save my cat ahead of this neighbor! The insanity of keeping misinformation about DDT going has got to stop! If you do not value your life .. by all means end it. However, don’t devalue the right for others to live .. because you want to save your favored insects!

  148. It seems the main obstacle in this dilemma are the policies in place. These are environmental in nature. The view being that ” nature ” is more important than man and industrialism. The tendency right now is to dis-mantle industrialism and reduce the population of the world. Industrialism is in desperate need to be developed in Africa. Electricity, water, housing, sanitation, food and a higher standard of living needs to be brought about. The blockage to this is that population control and de-industrialization go hand in hand and this is the world policy at the moment. The reason for this new move to lower carbon expenditure is primarily to promote the agenda of de-industrialization. The ban on DDT was mainly to promote the other side of this which is population control. Unless there is a reversal of the world policy ( population control/de-industrialization) in place nothing much could be done to eliminate malaria. What is needed is to expose the DDT/CARBON fraud. The DDT hoax brought the environmental movement and it’s sustainable development ( de-industrialization) philosophy into power. The CARBON hoax is now being implemented by this group in power to further their agenda in this task. Both of these hoaxes must be exposed to the light of day. If the foundation to this “Big Lie ” which is mainly a barrage of constant disinformation about the evils of DDT and CARBON is exposed then the tipping point will be reached among the people of the world and the hoax will disappear as all illusion does when exposed by truth. DDT is safe and is absolutely indispensable in combating malaria mosquitoes because of it’s repellent quality which is it’s main attribute. Carbon is safe and indispensable to life and productive development.

  149. Here’s something I just found from the Senate Committee Hearing on Environment..this is just the last paragraph:
    Pressures to eliminate spray programs, and DDT in particular, are wrong. I say this not based on some projection of what might theoretically happen in the future according to some model, or some projection of theoretical harms, I say this based firmly on what has already occurred. The track record of the anti-pesticide lobby is well documented, the pressures on developing countries to abandon their spray programs are well documented, and the struggles of developing countries to maintain their programs or restart their uses of DDT for malaria control are well documented. The tragic results of pressures against the use of DDT, in terms of increasing disease and death, are quantified and well documented. How long will scientists, public health officials, the voting public, and the politicians who lead us continue policies, regulations and funding that have led us to the current state of a global humanitarian disaster? How long will support continue for policies and programs that favor phantoms over facts?
    You can read all of it here:

    http://epw.senate.gov/hearing_statements.cfm?id=246769

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