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Was Rachel Carson a fraud and is DDT actually safe for humans?
The Straight Dope ^ | December 13 2002 | Cecil Adams

Posted on 12/13/2002 5:30:25 AM PST by xp38

Dear Cecil:

Was Rachel Carson a fraud and is DDT actually safe for humans? According to Marjorie Mazel Hecht and [San Jose State University] professor J. Gordon Edwards at, DDT is safe and indeed saved and can save human lives, and Rachel Carson's <>Silent Spring is full of lies. According to them, the banning of DDT was politically motivated and went against the majority of scientific opinion. Yet I consistently hear how dangerous DDT is. What's the truth here? --Craig Sheldon

Cecil replies:

Claiming Silent Spring (1962) is full of lies is a bit harsh. Let's say it contains certain statements at variance with the facts as we now understand them. I'm willing to believe this was a natural result of the fledgling state of environmental science at the time, whereas right-wing conspiracy theorists (who apparently include the parties you mention--Hecht supports crank-for-all-seasons Lyndon LaRouche) see it as evidence of a campaign of deceit by the liberal cabal. We could spend pages debating the details, but the bottom line is this: Soaking the biota in DDT like it was bubble bath, standard practice at the time Silent Spring was written, was a bad thing and Carson was right to condemn it. But refusing to use DDT because of exaggerated fears of environmental damage is, in some circumstances, far worse.

Rachel Carson, a biologist and writer who worked for many years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is widely credited with catalyzing the modern environmental movement. Silent Spring was the first popular book to call attention to the dangers of indiscriminate introduction of pesticides and other chemicals into the environment. Carson's principal target was DDT (if you really want to impress the ladies, Craig, tell them it stands for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), a cheap and effective insecticide first employed on a large scale during World War II to control typhus and malaria. After the war DDT was widely used in the United States in agriculture and in mosquito abatement programs.

Part of what made DDT appealing was its broad spectrum--it can kill not just one or two but hundreds of insect species (not to mention various other types of wildlife, especially fish, if you aren't careful about overspraying or runoff into streams). Carson took this fact and ran with it, rhetorically speaking--she claimed that DDT and other pesticides would destroy all living things, and that they should properly be termed "biocides." In the chapter from which Silent Spring takes its title, she paints an apocalyptic picture of an environment bereft of life due to chemical pollution, in which "no birds sing." Among other things, the book claims that DDT interferes with bird reproduction and causes cancer in humans; after its publication the chemical was linked to the thinning of eggshells in some avian species. The Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970, in no small part due to Silent Spring, and two years later DDT became the first chemical it banned. Most other industrialized nations followed suit, and pressured third world countries to do the same.

Many of Carson's claims were overblown. While DDT is highly toxic to insects and fish and can poison other animals in large enough doses, in moderate amounts it's not especially harmful to birds and mammals, including humans. (Ironically, the EPA's own judge agreed, but was overruled by its chief administrator.) No one has conclusively proved that DDT can give you cancer. The cause of eggshell thinning is likewise poorly understood.

On the other hand, DDT is demonstrably effective at controlling the mosquitoes and other insects that transmit malaria and typhus. Thanks principally to DDT, in the years after World War II malaria was eradicated in the U.S. and sharply curtailed in many tropical countries. Venezuela recorded eight million cases of malaria in 1943; by 1958 that number was down to eight hundred. The World Health Organization estimates that DDT saved 50 to 100 million lives during this period, and that's just counting malaria prevention. In recent years, however, the disease has staged a comeback. Globally it quadrupled during the 1990s, and it's even reappeared sporadically in the United States. The resurgence of malaria is due to a variety of factors, including changes in land use and possibly climate, and some experts say the phasing out of DDT is one of them.

I don't mean to suggest that DDT is benign. On the contrary, it's a potent contact toxin, and though it breaks down quickly in sunlight, it's much more persistent in soil and water and accumulates in plants and fatty animal tissues with long-term exposure. But its drawbacks have to be weighed against its benefits. Malaria currently infects 300 to 500 million people annually, mostly in Africa, and causes as many as 2.7 million deaths. Alternative methods of mosquito control cost more and are less effective. Some 400 scientists and doctors have signed a petition opposing the inclusion of DDT among the 12 persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to be banned under a United Nations treaty now up for ratification, and a few public health experts are campaigning to bring DDT back. DDT isn't a panacea; India, which still uses it, suffered nasty outbreaks of malaria in the 90s, and insects in many parts of that country have become resistant to the chemical. But it remains an important tool, and in a time of rising global pestilence we shun it at our peril.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: ddt; epa; rachelcarson
The Straight Dope is syndicated to mostly the alternative (read leftist) press. This week it seems a small ray of sanity enters.
1 posted on 12/13/2002 5:30:25 AM PST by xp38
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To: xp38
A pretty well-balanced summary of the DDT question. One MAJOR need for DDT today is for TERMITE CONTROL. DDT's persistance in the environment in this application is a GOOD THING, not bad. The "Formosa termite" is spreading rapidly through the south, destroying hundred-year-old homes, and centuries-old trees, and AFAIK, there IS no real effective insecticide for them. I don't know if DDT would work for them, but of course, since it was banned, we can't even make the attempt.
2 posted on 12/13/2002 5:44:29 AM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: xp38
Well, the issue is what "safe for humans" means.

If it means that millions of lives are saved at a small cost, that's one thing.

If it means that millions of lives are saved with zero risk and at zero cost, that's another.

We've moved from small risk tolerance to zero risk tolerance, and that is a huge change.

3 posted on 12/13/2002 5:47:08 AM PST by Jim Noble
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To: Wonder Warthog
And mosquito control. There is NOTHING more effective than DDT at killing AND repelling mosquitos. There are studies that show that many things can cause eggshell thinning (the main reason for the DDT ban), but DDT was conclusivley shown not to be one of them. It is setimated the 2 MILLION lives could be saved each year if DDT were allowed for mosquito control.
4 posted on 12/13/2002 6:03:05 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants
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To: xp38
DDT was a good way to get rid of mosquitoes. And you heard about the West Nile and St Louis encephalitis cases. I would rather have a little DDT in my town than those two [possibly] fatal diseases.

My husband has been with Dow Chem for 29 years. We make a chemical that is used to kill termites. We recently had an apartment in LA, while he was designing an ethylene plant, doing design work out in Calif.

The landlord called everyone in to explain that the apartments had dry wood termites, they would have to all leave for a few days, they would put a tent over the entire huge complex and pump in poison to kill the termites. She said DOW made the chemical.

My husband said out loud "I work for DOW!" He was proud cause it is not a stinky chem. and it works. He said he sure got a LOT of DIRTY LOOKS from those Southern Calif. people!!!!! They threw poison darts at him with their eyes. I suppose they would have preferred termites to cause the building to crumble and they would have also had termites in all their furniture. UGH! EnviroMENTALwackos!!!!!!

He laughed it off, but he knew he would never be popular there. LOL
5 posted on 12/13/2002 6:11:47 AM PST by buffyt
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To: xp38
From J Gordon edwards and Steven Milloy

Population control advocates blamed DDT for increasing third world population. In the 1960s, World Health Organization authorities believed there was no alternative to the overpopulation problem but to assure than up to 40 percent of the children in poor nations would die of malaria. As an official of the Agency for International Development stated, "Rather dead than alive and riotously reproducing."

Junk science?     Junkman?       Trash Talk BBS       Store       Feedback       Site Search      E-mail List        Archives & Links

100 things you should know about DDT

by J. Gordon Edwards and Steven Milloy

I. Historical Background
II. Advocacy against DDT
III. EPA hearings
IV. Human exposure
V. Cancer
VI. Egg shell thinning
VII. Bald eagles
VIII. Peregrine falcons
IX. Brown pelicans
X. Bird populations increase during DDT years
XI.Erroneous detection

    I. Historical Background

    Discovered by accident, DDT became one of the greatest public health tools of the 20th century.
    Overuse harmed its efficacy -- and made it politically unpopular.

  1. Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) was first synthesized, for no purpose, in 1874 by German chemist Othmar Zeidler. In 1939, Dr. Paul Müller independently produced DDT. Müller found that DDT quickly killed flies, aphids, mosquitoes, walking sticks and Colorado potato beetles. Müller and the Geigy corporation patented DDT in Switzerland (1940), England (1942) and U.S. (1943).
  2. The first large-scale use of DDT occurred in 1943 when 500 gallons of DDT were produced by Merck & Company and delivered to Italy to help squelch a rapidly spreading epidemic of louse-borne typhus. Later in 1943, the U.S. Army issued small tin boxes of 10 percent DDT dust to its soldiers around the world who used it to kill body lice, head lice and crab lice.
  3. Müller won the Nobel Prize in 1948 for his work on DDT.
  4. Peak usage occurred in 1962, when 80 million kilograms of DDT were used and 82 million kilograms produced.
  5. "In May 1955 the Eighth World Health Assembly adopted a Global Malaria Eradication Campaign based on the widespread use of DDT against mosquitos and of antimalarial drugs to treat malaria and to eliminate the parasite in humans. As a result of the Campaign, malaria was eradicated by 1967 from all developed countries where the disease was endemic and large areas of tropical Asia and Latin America were freed from the risk of infection. The Malaria Eradication Campaign was only launched in three countries of tropical Africa since it was not considered feasible in the others. Despite these achievements, improvements in the malaria situation could not be maintained indefinitely by time-limited, highly prescriptive and centralized programmes."

    [Bull World Health Organ 1998;76(1):11-6]
  6. "To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT... In little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths, due to malaria, that otherwise would have been inevitable."

    [National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Research in the Life Sciences of the Committee on Science and Public Policy. 1970. The Life Sciences; Recent Progress and Application to Human Affairs; The World of Biological Research; Requirements for the Future.]
  7. It is believed that [malaria] afflicts between 300 and 500 million every year, causing up to 2.7 million deaths, mainly among children under five years.

    [Africa News, January 27, 1999]
  8. Some mosquitoes became "resistant" to DDT. "There is persuasive evidence that antimalarial operations did not produce mosquito resistance to DDT. That crime, and in a very real sense it was a crime, can be laid to the intemperate and inappropriate use of DDT by farmers, espeially cotton growers. They used the insecticide at levels that would accelerate, if not actually induce, the selection of a resistant population of mosquitoes."

    [Desowitz, RS. 1992. Malaria Capers, W.W. Norton & Company]
  9. "Resistance" may be a misleading term when discussing DDT and mosquitoes. While some mosquitoes develop biochemical/physiological mechanisms of resistance to the chemical, DDT also can provoke strong avoidance behavior in some mosquitoes so they spend less time in areas where DDT has been applied -- this still reduces mosquito-human contact. "This avoidance behavior, exhibited when malaria vectors avoid insecticides by not entering or by rapidly exiting sprayed houses, should raise serious questions about the overall value of current physiological and biochemical resistance tests. The continued efficacy of DDT in Africa, India, Brazil, and Mexico, where 69% of all reported cases of malaria occur and where vectors are physiologically resistant to DDT (excluding Brazil), serves as one indicator that repellency is very important in preventing indoor transmission of malaria."

    [See, e.g., J Am Mosq Control Assoc 1998 Dec;14(4):410-20; and Am J Trop Med Hyg 1994;50(6 Suppl):21-34]

    II. Advocacy against DDT

    DDT was demagogued out of use.

  10. Rachel Carson sounded the initial alarm against DDT, but represented the science of DDT erroneously in her 1962 book Silent Spring. Carson wrote "Dr. DeWitt's now classic experiments [on quail and pheasants] have now established the fact that exposure to DDT, even when doing no observable harm to the birds, may seriously affect reproduction. Quail into whose diet DDT was introduced throughout the breeding season survived and even produced normal numbers of fertile eggs. But few of the eggs hatched." DeWitt's 1956 article (in Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry) actually yielded a very different conclusion. Quail were fed 200 parts per million of DDT in all of their food throughout the breeding season. DeWitt reports that 80% of their eggs hatched, compared with the "control"" birds which hatched 83.9% of their eggs. Carson also omitted mention of DeWitt's report that "control" pheasants hatched only 57 percent of their eggs, while those that were fed high levels of DDT in all of their food for an entire year hatched more than 80% of their eggs.
  11. Population control advocates blamed DDT for increasing third world population. In the 1960s, World Health Organization authorities believed there was no alternative to the overpopulation problem but to assure than up to 40 percent of the children in poor nations would die of malaria. As an official of the Agency for International Development stated, "Rather dead than alive and riotously reproducing."

    [Desowitz, RS. 1992. Malaria Capers, W.W. Norton & Company]
  12. The environmental movement used DDT as a means to increase their power. Charles Wurster, chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, commented, "If the environmentalists win on DDT, they will achieve a level of authority they have never had before.. In a sense, much more is at stake than DDT."

    [Seattle Times, October 5, 1969]
  13. Science journals were biased against DDT. Philip Abelson, editor of Science informed Dr. Thomas Jukes that Science would never publish any article on DDT that was not antagonistic.
  14. William Ruckelshaus, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who made the ultimate decision to ban DDT in 1972, was a member of the Environmental Defense Fund. Ruckelshaus solicited donations for EDF on his personal stationery that read "EDF's scientists blew the whistle on DDT by showing it to be a cancer hazard, and three years later, when the dust had cleared, EDF had won."
  15. But as an assistant attorney general, William Ruckelshaus stated on August 31, 1970 in a U.S. Court of Appeals that "DDT has an amazing an exemplary record of safe use, does not cause a toxic response in man or other animals, and is not harmful. Carcinogenic claims regarding DDT are unproven speculation." But in a May 2, 1971 address to the Audubon Society, Ruckelshaus stated, "As a member of the Society, myself, I was highly suspicious of this compound, to put it mildly. But I was compelled by the facts to temper my emotions ... because the best scientific evidence available did not warrant such a precipitate action. However, we in the EPA have streamlined our administrative procedures so we can now suspend registration of DDT and the other persistent pesticides at any time during the period of review." Ruckelshaus later explained his ambivalence by stating that as assistant attorney general he was an advocate for the government, but as head of the EPA he was "a maker of policy."

    [Barrons, 10 November 1975]
  16. Environmental activists planned to defame scientists who defended DDT. In an uncontradicted deposition in a federal lawsuit, Victor Yannacone, a founder of the Environmental Defense Fund, testified that he attended a meeting in which Roland Clement of the Audubon Society and officials of the Environmental Defense Fund decided that University of California-Berkeley professor and DDT-supporter Thomas H. Jukes was to be muzzled by attacking his credibility.

    [21st Century, Spring 1992]

    III. EPA hearings

    DDT was banned by an EPA administrator who ignored the decision of his own administrative law judge.

  17. Extensive hearings on DDT before an EPA administrative law judge occurred during 1971-1972. The EPA hearing examiner, Judge Edmund Sweeney, concluded that "DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man... DDT is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man... The use of DDT under the regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife."

    [Sweeney, EM. 1972. EPA Hearing Examiner's recommendations and findings concerning DDT hearings, April 25, 1972 (40 CFR 164.32, 113 pages). Summarized in Barrons (May 1, 1972) and Oregonian (April 26, 1972)]
  18. Overruling the EPA hearing examiner, EPA administrator Ruckelshaus banned DDT in 1972. Ruckelshaus never attended a single hour of the seven months of EPA hearings on DDT. Ruckelshaus' aides reported he did not even read the transcript of the EPA hearings on DDT.

    [Santa Ana Register, April 25, 1972]
  19. After reversing the EPA hearing examiner's decision, Ruckelshaus refused to release materials upon which his ban was based. Ruckelshaus rebuffed USDA efforts to obtain those materials through the Freedom of Information Act, claiming that they were just "internal memos." Scientists were therefore prevented from refuting the false allegations in the Ruckelshaus' "Opinion and Order on DDT."

    IV. Human exposure

    Actual human exposures have always been far lower than the "acceptable" level.

  20. Human ingestion of DDT was estimated to average about 0.0026 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day (mg/kg/day) about 0.18 milligrams per day.

    [Hayes, W. 1956. J Amer Medical Assn, Oct. 1956]

  21. In 1967, the daily average intake of DDT by 20 men with high occupational exposure was estimated to be 17.5 to 18 mg/man per day, as compared with an average of 0.04 mg/man per day for the general population.

    [IARC V.5, 1974].
  22. Dr. Alice Ottoboni, toxicologist for the state of California, estimated that the average American ingests between 0.0006 mg/kg/day and 0.0001 mg/kg/day of DDT.

    [Ottoboni, A. et al. California's Health, August 1969 & May 1972]
  23. "In the United States, the average amount of DDT and DDE eaten daily in food in 1981 was 2.24 micrograms per day (ug/day) (0.000032 mg/kg/day), with root and leafy vegetables containing the highest amount. Meat, fish, and poultry also contain very low levels of these compounds."

    [Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 1989.Public Health Statement: DDT, DDE, and DDD]
  24. The World Health Organization set an acceptable daily intake of DDT for humans at 0.01 mg/kg/day.
  25. "Air samples in the United States have shown levels of DDT ranging from 0.00001 to 1.56 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3), depending on the location and year of sampling. Most reported samples were collected in the mid 1970s, and present levels are expected to be much lower. DDT and DDE have been reported in surface waters at levels of 0.001 micrograms per liter (ug/L), while DDD generally is not found in surface water. National soil testing programs in the early 1970s have reported levels in soil ranging from 0.18 to 5.86 parts per million (ppm)."

    [Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 1989.Public Health Statement: DDT, DDE, and DDD]

    V. Cancer

    DDT was alleged to be a liver carcinogen in Silent Spring and a breast carcinogen in Our Stolen Future.

  26. Feeding primates more than 33,000 times the average daily human exposure to DDT (as estimated in 1969 and 1972) was "inconclusive with respect to a carcinogenic effect of DDT in nonhuman primates."

    [J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 1999;125(3-4):219-25]
  27. A nested case-control study was conducted to examine the association between serum concentrations of DDE and PCBs and the development of breast cancer up to 20 years later. Cases (n = 346) and controls (n = 346) were selected from cohorts of women who donated blood in 1974, 1989, or both, and were matched on age, race, menopausal status, and month and year of blood donation. "Even after 20 years of follow-up, exposure to relatively high concentrations of DDE or PCBs showed no evidence of contributing to an increased risk of breast cancer."

    [Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1999 Jun;8(6):525-32]
  28. To prospectively evaluate relationships of organochlorine pesticides and PCBs with breast cancer, a case-control study nested in a cohort using the Columbia, Missouri Breast Cancer Serum Bank. Women donated blood in 1977- 87, and during up to 9.5 years follow-up, 105 donors who met the inclusion criteria for the current study were diagnosed with breast cancer. For each case, two controls matched on age and date of blood collection were selected. Five DDT analogs, 13 other organochlorine pesticides, and 27 PCBs were measured in serum. Results of this study do not support a role for organochlorine pesticides and PCBs in breast cancer etiology.

    [Cancer Causes Control 1999 Feb;10(1):1-11]
  29. A pooled analysis examined whether exposure to DDT was associated with the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among male farmers. Data from three case-control studies from four midwestern states in the United States (Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas) were pooled to carry out analyses of 993 cases and 2918 controls. No strong consistent evidence was found for an association between exposure to DDT and risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

    [Occup Environ Med 1998 Aug;55(8):522-7]
  30. "We measured plasma levels of DDE and PCBs prospectively among 240 women who gave a blood sample in 1989 or 1990 and who were subsequently given a diagnosis of breast cancer before June 1, 1992. We compared these levels with those measured in matched control women in whom breast cancer did not develop. Data on DDE were available for 236 pairs, and data on PCBs were available for 230 pairs. Our data do not support the hypothesis that exposure to [DDT] and PCBs increases the risk of breast cancer."

    [N Engl J Med 1997;337:1253-8]
  31. "... weakly estrogenic organochlorine compounds such as PCBs, DDT, and DDE are not a cause of breast cancer."

  32. To examine any possible links between exposure to DDE, the persistent metabolite of the pesticide dicophane (DDT), and breast cancer, 265 postmenopausal women with breast cancer and 341 controls matched for age and center were studied. Women with breast cancer had adipose DDE concentrations 9.2% lower than control women. No increased risk of breast cancer was found at higher concentrations. The odds ratio of breast cancer, adjusted for age and center, for the highest versus the lowest fourth of DDE distribution was 0.73 (95% confidence interval 0.44 to 1.21) and decreased to 0.48 (0.25 to 0.95; P for trend = 0.02) after adjustment for body mass index, age at first birth, and current alcohol drinking. Adjustment for other risk factors did not materially affect these estimates. This study does not support the hypothesis that DDE increases risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women in Europe.

    [BMJ 1997 Jul 12;315(7100):81-5]
  33. No correlation at the population level can be demonstrated between exposures to DDT and the incidence of cancer at any site. It is concluded that DDT has had no significant impact on human cancer patterns and is unlikely to be an important carcinogen for man at previous exposure levels, within the statistical limitations of the data.

    [IARC Sci Publ 1985;(65):107-17]
  34. Syrian golden hamsters were fed for their lifespan a diet containing 0, 125, 250 and 500 parts per million (ppm) of DDT. The incidence of tumor bearing animals was 13% among control females and ranged between 11-20% in treated females. In control males 8% had tumors. The incidence of tumor bearing animals among treated males ranged between 17-28%.

    [Tumori 1982 Feb 28;68(1):5-10]
  35. None of 35 workers heavily exposed to DDT (600 times the average U.S. exposure for 9 to 19 years) developed cancer.

    [Laws, ER. 1967. Arch Env Health 15:766-775]
  36. Men who voluntarily ingested 35 mgs of DDT daily for nearly two years were carefully examined for years and "developed no adverse effects."

    [Hayes, W. 1956. JAMA 162:890-897]
  37. DDT was found to reduce tumors in animals.

    [Laws, ER. 1971. Arch. Env Health, 23:181-184; McLean, AEM & EK McLean. 1967. Proc Nutr Soc 26;Okey, AB. 1972. Life Sciences 11:833-843;Sillinskas, KC & AB Okey. 1975. J Natl Cancer Inst 55:653- 657, 1975]
  38. Rodent tests for a carcinogenic effect of DDT, DDE and TDE produced equivocal results despite extremely high doses (642 ppm of DDT, 3,295 ppm of TDE and 839 ppm of DDE).

    [National Toxicology Program, TR-131 Bioassays of DDT, TDE, and p,p'-DDE for Possible Carcinogenicity (CAS No. 50-29-3, CAS No. 72-54-8, CAS No. 72-55-9)]

    VI. Egg-shell thinning

    DDT was alleged to have thinned bird egg shells.

  39. Many experiments on caged-birds demonstrate that DDT and its metabolites (DDD and DDE) do not cause serious egg shell thinning, even at levels many hundreds of times greater than wild birds would ever accumulate.

    [Cecil, HC et al. 1971. Poultry Science 50: 656-659 (No effects of DDT or DDE, if adequate calcium is in diet); Chang, ES & ELR Stokstad. 1975. Poultry Science 54: 3-10 1975. (No effects of DDT on shells); Edwards, JG. 1971. Chem Eng News p. 6 & 59 (August 16, 1971) (Summary of egg shell- thinning and refutations presented revealing all data); Hazeltine, WE. 1974. Statement and affidavit, EPA Hearings on Tussock Moth Control, Portland Oregon, p. 9 (January 14, 1974); Jeffries, DJ. 1969. J Wildlife Management 32: 441-456 (Shells 7 percent thicker after two years on DDT diet); Robson, WA et al. 1976. Poultry Science 55:2222- 2227; Scott, ML et al. 1975. Poultry Science 54: 350-368 (Egg production, hatchability and shell quality depend on calcium, and are not effected by DDT and its metabolites); Spears, G & P. Waibel. 1972. Minn. Science 28(3):4-5; Tucker, RK & HA Haegele. 1970. Bull Environ Contam. Toxicol 5:191-194 (Neither egg weight nor shell thickness affected by 300 parts per million DDT in daily diet);Edwards, JG. 1973. Statement and affidavit, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, 24 pages, October 24, 1973; Poult Sci 1979 Nov;58(6):1432-49 ("There was no correlation between concentrations of pesticides and egg shell thinning].") ]
  40. Experiments associating DDT with egg shell thinning involve doses much higher than would ever be encountered in the wild.

    [J Toxicol Environ Health 1977 Nov;3(4):699-704 (50 ppm for 6 months); Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 1978;7(3):359-67 ("acute" doses); Acta Pharmacol Toxicol (Copenh) 1982 Feb;50(2):121-9 (40 mg/kg/day for 45 days); Fed Proc 1977 May;36(6):1888-93 ("In well-controlled experiments using white leghorn chickens and Japanese quail, dietary PCBs, DDT and related compounds produced no detrimental effects on eggshell quality. ... no detrimental effects on eggshell quality, egg production or hatchability were found with ... DDT up to 100 ppm)]
  41. Laboratory egg shell thinning required massive doses of DDE far in excess of anything expected in nature, and massive laboratory doses produce much less thinning than is seen in many of the thin-shelled eggs collected in the wild.

    [Hazeltine, WE. 1974. Statement and affidavit, EPA Hearings on Tussock Moth Control, Portland Oregon, p. 9 (January 14, 1974)]
  42. Years of carefully controlled feeding experiments involving levels of DDT as high as present in most wild birds resulted in no tremors, mortality, thinning of egg shells nor reproductive interference.

    [Scott, ML et al. 1975. Poultry Science 54: 350-368 (Egg production, hatch ability and shell quality depend on calcium, and are not effected by DDT and its metabolites)]
  43. Egg shell thinning is not correlated with pesticide residues.

    [Krantz WC. 1970 (No correlation between shell-thinning and pesticide residues in eggs) Pesticide Monitoring J 4(3): 136-141; Postupalsky, S. 1971. Canadian Wildlife Service manuscript, April 8, 1971 (No correlation between shell-thinning and DDE in eggs of bald eagles and cormorants); Anon. 1970. Oregon State University Health Sciences Conference, Annual report, p. 94. (Lowest DDT residues associated with thinnest shells in Cooper's hawk, sharp-shinned hawk and goshawk); Claus G and K Bolander. 1977. Ecological Sanity, David McKay Co., N.Y., p. 461. (Feeding thyreprotein causes hens to lay lighter eggs, with heavier, thicker shells)]
  44. Among brown pelican egg shells examined there was no correlation between DDT residue and shell thickness.

    [Switzer, B. 1972. Consolidated EPA hearings, Transcript pp. 8212-8336; and Hazeltine, WE. 1972. Why pelican eggshells are thin. Nature 239: 410-412]
  45. Egg shells of red-tailed hawks were reported to be six percent thicker during years of heavy DDT usage than just before DDT use began. Golden eagle egg shells were 5 percent thicker than those produced before DDT use.

    [Hickey, JJ and DW Anderson. 1968. Science 162: 271-273]

    To the extent egg shell thinning occurred, many other substances and conditions could have been responsible.

  46. Oil has been associated with egg shell thinning.

    [Anon. National Wildlife Federation, Conservation News, pp. 6-10, October 15 1979. (Embryonic mortality from oil on feathers of adults birds) ; Hartung, R. 1965. J Wildlife Management 29:872-874 (Oil on eggs reduces hatch ability by 68 percent); Libby, EE. 1978. Fish, wildlife and oil. Ecolibrium 2(4):7-10; King, KA et al. 1979 Bull Environ Contam Tox 23:800-805 (Oil a probably cause of pelican mortality for six weeks after spill);Albers, PH. 1977. Fate and Effects of Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Marine Ecosystems, Pergamon Press, N.Y. (Chapters 15 & 16; Dieter, MP. 1977. Interagency Energy-Environment Research and Development Program Report, pp. 35-42 (5 microliters of oil on fertile egg kills 76 to 98 percent of embryos within; birds ingesting oil produce 70 percent to 100 percent less eggs than normal; offspring failed to develop normal flight feathers); Szaro, RC. 1977. Proc 42nd N Amer Wildlife Nat Resources Conference, pp. 375-376]
  47. Lead has been associated with egg shell thinning.

    [Bellrose, RC. 1959. Ill Nat Hist Survey Bull 27:235-288 (Lead poisoning in wildlife)]
  48. Mercury has been associated with egg shell thinning.

    [D'Itri, FM & PB Trost. 1970. International Conference on Mercury Contamination, Ann Arbor, September 30, 1070; Scott, JL et al. 1975. Effects of PCBs, DDT and mercury upon egg production, hatch ability and shell quality. Poultry Sci 54:3350-368; Stoewssand, GS et al.. 1971. Shell- thinning in quail fed mercuric chloride. Science 173:1030-1031; Tucker, RK. 1971. Utah Science June 1971:47-49 (Effects of many chemicals on shell thickness).; Tucker, RK & HA Haegle. 1970. Bull Environ Contamin Toxicol 5:191-194]
  49. Stress from noise, fear or excitement and disease are associated with egg shell thinning.

    [Scott, HM et al.. 1944. (Physiological stress thins shells) Poultry Science 23:446-453; Draper, MH & PE Lake. 1967. Effects of stress and defensive responses. In Environmental Control in Poultry Production, Oliver and Boyd, London; Reid, BL. 1971. (Effects of stress on laying birds) Farm Technology, Fall 1971; Sykes, AH. 1955 (Adrenaline excess inhibits shell formation) Poultry Science 34: 622-628]
  50. Older birds produce thinner shells.

    [Sunde, ML. 1971 (Older birds produce thinner shells) Farm Technology, Fall 1971]
  51. Normal egg shells become 5 percent thinner as developing embryos withdraw calcium for bone development.

    [Romanoff, AL and AJ Romanoff. 1967. Biochemistry of the Avian Embryo, Wiley & Sons, N.Y.; Simkiss, K. 1967. (Shells thinned by embryo development within) In Calcium in Reproductive Physiology, Reinhold, NY, pp 198-213]
  52. Larger birds tend to produce thicker-shelled eggs.

    [Asmundson, VS et al. 1943. (Relations between the parts of birds' eggs) Auk 60:34-44]
  53. Dehydration is associated with thinner egg shells.

    [Tucker, RK and HA Haegle. 1970. (30 percent thinner shells formed after quail were kept from water for 36 hours) Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 5(3): 191-194]
  54. Temperature extremes are associated with thinner egg shells.

    [Romanoff, AL and AJ Romanoff, 1949. The Avian Egg, Wiley & Sons]
  55. Decreased illumination is associated with thinner egg shells.

    [Peakall, DB. 1970. (Shells not thinned even after illumination was abruptly reduced from 16 hours daily to 8 hours daily and high DDT dosage begun simultaneously) Science 168:592-594; Day, EJ. 1971. (Importance of even illumination on laying birds) Farm Technology, Fall 1971;Houser, EJ. 1962. Pacific Poultryman, August 1962; Morris, TR et al. 1964. (The most critical area of light duration is that between 16 hours and 8 hours daily) British Poultry Science 5: 133-147; Ward, P. 1972 (Physiological importance of photo period in bird experiments) Ibis 114: 275]
  56. Human and predator intrusion is associated with thinner egg shells.

    [Beatty, RG. 1973. The DDT Myth, John Day Co., N.Y. 201 pages; Anon. 1971. Hawk Chalk 10(3):47-57; Cade, TJ. 1960. Ecology of the peregrine and gyrfalcon populations in Alaska. Univ Calif Publ Zool 63(3): 151-290]
  57. Simple restraint interferes with the transport of calcium throughout the body of birds, preventing adequate calcium from reaching the shell gland and forming good shells.

    [Sykes, AH. 1955. Poultry Science 34:622-628]
  58. Uncovering eggs after parent birds are removed or frightened off exposes eggs to potentially fatal chilling, especially in northern or high altitude locations.

    [Cade, TJ. 1960. Ecology of the peregrine and gyrfalcon populations in Alaska. Uni Calif Publ Zool 63(3):151-290]
  59. Phosphorus deficiency is associated with thinner shells.

    [Crowley, TA et al. 1963. Poultry Science 54: 350-368]
  60. Calcium deficiency is associated with thinner shells.

    [Greely, F.. 196 (Effects of calcium deficiency) J Wildlife Management 70:149-153; Romanoff, AL and AJ Romanoff. 1949. The Avian Egg, Wiley & Sons; Scott, ML. 1975. Poultry Science 54:350-368; Taylor, TG. 1970. How and eggshell is formed. Scientific American 222:89-95; Tucker, RK and HA Tucker. 1970. Bull Environ Contamin Toxicol 5(3):1191-194]
  61. Egg shell deficiencies were attributed to DDT and DDE by U.S. Fish and Wildlife researchers even though the birds had been placed on low-calcium diets.

    [Bitman, J et al. 1969. Nature 224: 44-46; Bitman, J et al. 1970. Science 594-595. ]
  62. Cutting illumination from 16 hours daily to 8 hours daily at the same time as DDT feeding began had no significant adverse effect on shell quality. Shell quality was only adversely impacted after large amounts of DDE were injected into birds.

    [Peakall, DB. 1970. Science 168:592-594]
  63. DDT was blamed for egg shell thinning even though a known egg shell thinner (dieldrin) was also added to the diet.

    [Porter, RD and SN Wiemeyer. 1969. Science 165: 199-200]
  64. No significant correlation between DDE and egg shell thinning in Canadian terns even though the eggs contained as much as 100 parts per million of DDE.

    [Switzer, BG et al. 1971. Can J Zool 49:69-73]

    VII. Bald eagles

    DDT was blamed for the decline in the bald eagle population.

  65. Bald eagles were reportedly threatened with extinction in 1921 -- 25 years before widespread use of DDT.

    [Van Name, WG. 1921. Ecology 2:76]
  66. Alaska paid over $100,000 in bounties for 115,000 bald eagles between 1917 and 1942.

    [Anon. Science News Letter, July 3, 1943]
  67. The bald eagle had vanished from New England by 1937.

    [Bent, AC. 1937. Raptorial Birds of America. US National Museum Bull 167:321-349]
  68. After 15 years of heavy and widespread usage of DDT, Audubon Society ornithologists counted 25 percent more eagles per observer in 1960 than during the pre-DDT 1941 bird census.

    [Marvin, PH. 1964 Birds on the rise. Bull Entomol Soc Amer 10(3):184-186; Wurster, CF. 1969 Congressional Record S4599, May 5, 1969; Anon. 1942. The 42nd Annual Christmas Bird Census. Audubon Magazine 44:1-75 (Jan/Feb 1942; Cruickshank, AD (Editor). 1961. The 61st Annual Christmas Bird Census. Audubon Field Notes 15(2):84-300; White-Stevens, R.. 1972. Statistical analyses of Audubon Christmas Bird censuses. Letter to New York Times, August 15, 1972]
  69. No significant correlation between DDE residues and shell thickness was reported in a large series of bald eagle eggs.

    [Postupalsky, S. 1971. (DDE residues and shell thickness). Canadian Wildlife Service manuscript, April 8, 1971]
  70. Thickness of eggshells from Florida, Maine and Wisconsin was found to not be correlated with DDT residues.

    Data from Krantz, WC. 1970. Pesticides Monitoring Journal 4(3):136-140.
    State Thickness (mm) DDE residue (ppm)
    Florida 0.50 About 10
    Maine 0.53 About 22
    Wisconsin 0.55 About 4

  71. U.S. Forest Service studies reported an increase in nesting bald eagle productivity (51 in 1964 to 107 in 1970).

    [U.S. Forest Service (Milwaukee, WI). 1970. Annual Report on Bald Eagle Status]
  72. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists fed large doses of DDT to captive bald eagles for 112 days and concluded that "DDT residues encountered by eagles in the environment would not adversely affect eagles or their eggs."

    [Stickel, L. 1966. Bald eagle-pesticide relationships. Trans 31st N Amer Wildlife Conference, pp.190-200]
  73. Wildlife authorities attributed bald eagle population reductions to a "widespread loss of suitable habitat", but noted that "illegal shooting continues to be the leading cause of direct mortality in both adult and immature bald eagles."

    [Anon.. 1978. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Tech Bull 3:8-9]
  74. Every bald eagle found dead in the U.S., between 1961-1977 (266 birds) was analyzed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists who reported no adverse effects caused by DDT or its residues.

    [Reichel, WL. 1969. (Pesticide residues in 45 bald eagles found dad in the U.S. 1964-1965). Pesticides Monitoring J 3(3)142-144; Belisle, AA. 1972. (Pesticide residues and PCBs and mercury, in bald eagles found dead in the U.S. 1969-1970). Pesticides Monitoring J 6(3): 133-138; Cromartie, E. 1974. (Organochlorine pesticides and PCBs in 37 bald eagles found dead in the U.S. 1971-1972). Pesticides Monitoring J 9:11-14; Coon, NC. 1970. (Causes of bald eagle mortality in the US 1960-1065). Journal of Wildlife Diseases 6:72-76]
  75. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists linked high intake of mercury from contaminated fish with eagle reproductive problems.

    [Spann, JW, RG Heath, JF Kreitzer, LN Locke. 1972. (Lethal and reproductive effects of mercury on birds) Science 175:328- 331]
  76. Shooting, power line electrocution, collisions in flight and poisoning from eating ducks containing lead shot were ranked by the National Wildlife Federation as late as 1984 as the leading causes of eagle deaths.

    [Anon. 1984. National Wildlife Federation publication. (Eagle deaths)]

    VIII. Peregrine falcons

    DDT was blamed for the decline in the peregrine falcon population.

  77. The decline in the U.S. peregrine falcon population occurred long before the DDT years.

    [Hickey JJ. 1942. (Only 170 pairs of peregrines in eastern U.S. in 1940) Auk 59:176; Hickey JJ. 1971 Testimony at DDT hearings before EPA hearing examiner. (350 pre- DDT peregrines claimed in eastern U.S., with 28 of the females sterile); and Beebe FL. 1971. The Myth of the Vanishing Peregrine Falcon: A study in manipulation of public and official attitudes. Canadian Raptor Society Publication, 31 pages]
  78. Peregrine falcons were deemed undesirable in the early 20th century. Dr. William Hornaday of the New York Zoological Society referred them as birds that "deserve death, but are so rare that we need not take them into account."

    [Hornaday, WT. 1913. Our Vanishing Wild Life. New York Zoological Society, p. 226]
  79. Oologists amassed great collections of falcon eggs.

    [Peterson, RT. 1948. Birds Over American, Dodd Mead & Co., NY, pp 135-151; Rice, JN. 1969. In Peregrine Falcon Populations, Univ. Of Wisconsin Press, pp 155-164; Berger, DD. 1969. In Peregrine Falcon Populations, Univ. Of Wisconsin Press, pp 165-173]
  80. The decline in falcons along the Hudson River was attributed to falconers, egg collectors, pigeon fanciers and disturbance by construction workers and others.

    [Herbert, RA and KG Herbert. 1969. In Peregrine Falcon Populations, Univ. Of Wisconsin Press, pp 133- 154. (Also in Auk 82: 62-94)]
  81. The 1950's and 1960's saw continuing harassment trapping brooding birds in their nests, removing fat samples for analysis and operating time-lapse cameras beside the nests for extended periods of time), predation and habitat destruction.

    [Hazeltine, WE. 1972. Statement before Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, March 16, 1972; Enderson, JH and DD Berger. 1968. (Chlorinated hydrocarbons in peregrines from Northern Canada). Condor 70:149-153; Enderson, JH.. 1972. (Time lapse photography in peregrine nests) Living Bird 11: 113- 128; Risebrough, RW. 1970. (Organochlorines in peregrines and merlins migrating through Wisconsin). Canadian Field-Naturalist 84:247-253]
  82. Changes in climate (higher temperatures and decreasing precipitation) were blamed for the gradual disappearance of peregrines from the Rocky Mountains.

    [Nelson, MW. 1969. Peregrine Falcon Populations, pp 61-72]
  83. Falconers were blamed for decimating western populations.

    [Herman, S. 1969. Peregrine Falcon Populations, University of Wisconsin Press]
  84. During the 1960's, peregrines in northern Canada were "reproducing normally," even though they contained 30 times more DDT, DDD, and DDE than the midwestern peregrines that were allegedly extirpated by those chemicals.

    [Enderson, JH and DD Berger. 1968. (Chlorinated hydrocarbons in peregrines from Northern Canada) Condor 70:170-178]
  85. There was no decline in peregrine falcon pairs in Canada and Alaska between 1950 and 1967 despite the presence of DDT and DDE.

    [Fyfe, RW. 1959. Peregrine Falcon Populations, pp 101-114; and Fyfe, RW. 1968. Auk 85: 383-384]
  86. The peregrine with the very highest DDT residue (2,435 parts per million) was found feeding three healthy young.

    [Enderson, JH. 1968. (Pesticide residues in Alaska and Yukon Territory) Auk 85: 683]
  87. Shooting, egg collecting, falconry and disruption of nesting birds along the Yukon River and Colville River were reported to be the cause of the decline in peregrine falcon population.

    [Beebe, FL. 1971. The Myth of the Vanishing Peregrine Falcon: A study in manipulation of public and official attitudes. Canadian Raptor Society Publication, 31 pages; and Beebe, FL. 1975. Brit Columbia Provincial Museum Occas. Paper No. 17, pages 126-144]
  88. The decline in British peregrine falcons ended by 1966, though DDT was as abundant as ever. The Federal Advisory Committee on Pesticides concluded "There is no close correlation between the declines in populations of predatory birds, particularly the peregrine falcon and the sparrow hawk, and the use of DDT."

    [Wilson report. 1969. Review of Organochlorine pesticides in Britain. Report by the Advisory Committee on toxic chemicals. Department of Education and Science]
  89. During 1940-1945, the British Air Ministry shot about 600 peregrines (half the pre-1939 level) to protect carrier pigeons.
  90. Peregrine falcon and sparrow hawk egg shells thinned in Britain prior to the use of DDT.

    [Redcliff, DH. 1967. Nature 215: 208-210; Redcliff, DH. 1970 J Applied Biology 7:67; and Redcliff, DH. 1967. Nature 215: 208-210]

    IX. Brown pelicans

    DDT was blamed for the decline in the brown pelican population.

  91. Brown pelicans declined in Texas from a high of 5,000 birds in 1918 to a low of 200 in 1941, three years before the presence of DDT.

    [Pearson TG. 1919. Review of reviews. Pp. 509-511 (May 1919); Pearson TG. 1934. Adventures in Bird Protection, Appleton- Century Co., p. 332; Pearson TG. 1934 (Discussion of 1918 survey) National Geographic pp. 299-302 (March 1934); Allen RG. 1935. Auk 52: p.199;]
  92. Disappearance of the brown pelicans from Texas was attributed to fisherman and hunters. Gustafson AF. 1939. Conservation in the United States, Comstock Publ. Co., Ithaca, NY. (Repeated in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Report No. 1, 1970)]
  93. Brown pelicans experienced no difficulty in reproducing during the DDT years.

    [See Banks, RC. 1966. Trans San Diego Soc Nat Hist 14:173-188; and Schreiber RW and RL DeLong. 1969. Audubon Field Notes 23:57-59]
  94. Brown pelicans did suffer reproductive problems following the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. Oil on eggs is a known cause of embryo death

    [See e.g., National Wildlife Federation . 1979. Embryonic mortality from oil on feathers of adult birds. Conservation News, pp. 6-10 (October 15, 1979); Hartung, R. 1965. (Oil on eggs reduces hatch ability by 68 percent). J Wildlife Management 29: 872-874; King, KA 1979. (Oil a probable cause of pelican mortality for six weeks after spill). Bull Environ Contam. Toxicol 23:800-805; and Dieter, MP. 1977. (5 micro liters of oil on fertile egg kills 76 percent to 98 percent of embryos within. Interagency Energy-Environment Research and Development Program Report, pp 35-42]
  95. Among brown pelican egg shells examined (72 percent), there was no correlation between DDT residue and shell thickness.

    [Switzer, B. 1972. Consolidated EPA hearings, Transcript pp. 8212-8336; and Hazeltine, WE. 1972. Why pelican eggshells are thin. Nature 239: 410-412]
  96. An epidemic of Newcastle disease resulted in millions of birds put to death to eradicate the disease.

    [United Press International. "Newcastle disease epidemic in California (April 1972)] The epidemic among U.S. birds was caused by the migration of sick pelicans along the Mexican coast.

    [Hofstad MC. 1972. Diseases of Poultry. Iowa State Univ. Press]

    X. Bird populations increase during DDT years

    Widespread declines in bird populations during the DDT years is a myth.

  97. In congressional testimony, Charles Wurster, a biologist for the Environmental Defense Fund, noted the abundance of birds during the DDT years, referring to "increasing numbers of pheasants, quail, doves, turkeys and other game species."

    [Wurster, C.F. 1969 Congressional Record S4599, May 5, 1969]
  98. The Audubon Society's annual bird census in 1960 reported that at least 26 kinds of birds became more numerous during 1941 - 1960.

    [See Anon. 1942. The 42nd annual Christmas bird census." Audubon Magazine 44;1-75 (Jan/Feb 1942), and Cruicjshank, AD (editor) 1961. The 61st annual Christmas bird census. Audubon Field Notes 15(2); 84-300]
  99. Statistical analysis of the Audubon data bore out the perceived increases.

    [White-Stevens, R. 1972. Statistical analyses of Audubon Christmas bird censuses. Letter to New York Times, August 15, 1972]
  100. The white-tailed kite, a raptor, was "in very real danger of complete extirpation in the U.S." in 1935, but "by the 1960's, a very great population increase and range expansion had become apparent in California and the breeding range had extended through the Central American countries."

    [Eisenmann, E. 1971. Range expansion and population increase of the White-tailed kite. American Birds 25(3):529-535]
  101. Great increases inmost kinds of hawks during the DDT years were reported by the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association (Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania).

    [Taylor, JW. Summaries of Hawk Mountain migrations of raptors, 1934 to 1970. In Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association Newsletters]
  102. National forest studies from Wisconsin and Michigan reported an increase in nesting osprey productivity from 11 young in 1965 to 74 young in 1970.

    [U.S. Forest Service, Milwaukee. 1970. Annual report on osprey status in national forests in Wisconsin and Michigan]
  103. A study of fish-eaters at Funk Island (on the North Atlantic coast) reported that, despite diets contaminated with DDT, gannet and murres pairs increased by 1,500 percent and 10,000 percent from 1945 to the early 1970s.

    [Bruemmer, F. 1971. Animals Magazine, p.555, April]
  104. Herring gulls reportedly increased from 2,000 pairs in 1941 to 35,000 pairs in 1971. Ironically, the Massachusetts department of Natural resources permitted the Audubon Society to poison 30,000 of the pairs on Tern Island. The Audubon-ers preferred terns. Audubon Society scientist William Drury stated, "it's kind of like weeding a garden."

    [Graham, F. 1985. Audubon Magazine, p.17, January 1985]
  105. Some birds multiplied so well during the DDT years that they became pests:

    • 6 million blackbirds ruined Scotland Neck, North Carolina in 1970, polluting streams, depositing nine inches of droppings on the ground and killing the forest where they roosted at night.

      [Associated Press, March 18, 1970]
    • 77 million blackbirds roosted within 50 miles of Ft. Campbell, KY increasing the risk of histoplasmosis in humans.

      [Louisville Courier-Journal, December 1975.]
    • Ten million redwings were reported in a small area of northern Ohio.

      [Graham, F. 1971. Bye-bye blackbirds? Audubon Magazine, pp. 29-35, September]
    • The Virginia Department of Agriculture stated, "We can no longer tolerate the damage caused by the redwing ... 15 million tons of grain are destroyed annually enough to feed 90 million people."

      [Bulletin of the Virginia Department of Agriculture, May 1967]
    • The phenomena of increasing bird populations during the DDT years may be due, in part, to (1) fewer blood-sucking insects and reduced spread of avian diseases (avian malaria, rickettsial-pox, avian bronchitis, Newcastle disease, encephalitis, etc); (2) more seed and fruits available for birds to eat after plant-eating insects were decimated; and (3) Ingestion of DDT triggers hepatic enzymes that detoxify carcinogens such as aflatoxin.

    XI. Erroneous detection

    Gas chromatography was universally used for pesticide analysis in the mid-1960's.
    But it often failed to differentiate between DDT residues and other chemicals.

  106. Gas chromatography detected DDT in samples of wildlife and soil collected before DDT was even produced.

    [Scott, ML et al. 1975. Poultry Science 54: 350-368 ("Many reports relating reproductive declines of wild birds (and body stores in those birds) to DDT and DDE were based on analytical procedures that did not distinguish between DDT and PCBs."); Sherman, RW. 1973. Artifacts and mimics of DDT and other insecticides. J New York Entomol Soc 81:152-163 (Robin collected in 1938); Coon, FB. 1966. Electron capture gas chromatograph analyses of selected samples of authentic pre-DDT origin. Presented at the Conference of American Chemical Society in New York (Gibbon collected in 1935); Frazier, BE et al. 1970. Pesticides Monitoring J 4:67-70, 1970 (Soil collected in 1911); Bowman, MC et al. 1965. J Econ Entomology 58: 896-902 (Soil collected in 1940); Hom, W. 1974. Science 184:1197-1199 (1930-vintage Santa Barbara basin sediment)]
  107. DDT was mistaken for other organochlorines.

    [Glotfelty, DE.. 1970. Anal Chem 42:82-84 (Misidentifications of DDT resulted from interference by "pigment-related natural products in photosynthesic tissues."); Hylin, JW. 1969. Residue Reviews 26:127 ("Organochlorine compounds in plants can cause interference in residue analyses "); Sims, JJ. 1977. Press release, June 15, 1977 (Certain marine algae produce halogen compounds that are detected by gas chromatography and may be misidentified as DDT metabolites);George JL and DEH Frear. 1966. Pesticides in the Antarctic. J Appld Ecology 3 (suppl): 155-167 (Antarctic samples of fish and birds widely touted as containing DDT residues likely contained PCBs instead that leached from the plastic containers they were stored in for 6 months prior to analysis)]
  108. Laboratory fluorescent lights containing liquid PCBs and plastic tubing leaching PCBs erroneously led to PCBs misidentified as DDT or DDE.

    [Gustafson, CG. 1970. Environ Sci Technology 4(10):814-819; Lisk, DJ. 1970. Analysis of pesticide residues: methods and problems. Science 170:589-593; Anderson, DW et al. 1969. Can Field-Naturalist 83:91-112 (Samples reported in 1965 to be contaminated with DDT were acknowledged in 1969 to actually have been contaminated with PCBs. Faulty analytic methods were blamed); National Audubon Society, Research Dept. 1968. Brown Pelican Newsletter (Tavernier, Florida) No. 1, page 9 (The Audubon Society was aware of the problem of PCB interference in announcing its warning: "DO NOT BRING PLASTICS INTO CONTACT WITH THE SPECIMEN.")]
  109. The coating of aluminum foil used to wrap specimens, formalin, and sodium sulfate may also have contained PCBs or oils that might have interfered with analyses.

    [Risebrough, RW. 1971. Presentation to International Symposium on Identification and Measurement of Environmental Pollutants, Ottawa, Canada, June 15, 1971]

Note: The information presented here has been largely drawn from materials compiled by J. Gordon Edwards, professor of entomology at San Jose State University. Dr. Edwards testified at the 1971-1972 EPA hearings on DDT. Some research and all editing/formatting was done by Steven J. Milloy, publisher of

Copyright 1999 All rights reserved.

6 posted on 12/13/2002 6:19:46 AM PST by TooBusy
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To: xp38
I'm 40 years old and when we were kids, we used to run around in clouds of DDT when they were spraying for mosquitoes in the neighborhood. We lived in base Gagetown (Oromocto) and the bugs were bad in the summer because the place used to be a swamp before they made it into a military base.

Everybody ran in it, it was neat because everything was white and you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. Other than a few injures from kids running into telephone polls, it hasn't done any apparent damage that I know of.

Of course I may make it to 70, or 80 years old. Then when I get prostate cancer, which I'm told is unavoidable (i.e. If your lucky enough to get old, your going to get it one way or the other), I'll think about suing the military for doing that spraying all those years ago. You can always use a little extra retirement money.
7 posted on 12/13/2002 6:30:16 AM PST by jerod
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To: Blood of Tyrants
Rachel Carson was not an innocent but misguided crusader. She was the original evironmentalist leftist terrorist and all the horrors we are seeing from that movement began with Silent Spring.

Millions of lives are lost every year to diseases like malaria, yellow fever, and dengue because of this irresponsible pseudo-science.

The fact is DDT is completely harmless to humans and the environment. It is a great danger to those insects that sicken and kill humans and all mammals. It is time to tell all the cowardly politicians, including the current batch, who are clamoring for us to do more to help the diseased in third-world nations, so long as they do not act to remove the ban from DDT they are a bunch of pusillanimous liars.

DDT is safe: just ask the professor who ate it for 40 years.

DDT and Chemophobia

Thirtieth Anniversary of Misguided Ban on DDT


8 posted on 12/13/2002 6:33:55 AM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Blood of Tyrants
"And mosquito control."

Oh, I absolutely agree (and I should have said " termite control in addition to mosquito control."). Certainly, the blood of those dead from malaria should haunt the souls of the eco-fanatics, but then those nutcases think of humans as cancer cells. The termite question is "mere" property loss by comparison, but to those who lose a family home that has been in the family for generations, it "is" a significant loss.

9 posted on 12/13/2002 6:36:40 AM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: Hank Kerchief
It is time to tell all the cowardly politicians... to remove the ban from DDT...

Yea, right. It practically impossible to get them to repeal ANYTHING. Much less do the right thing. To them, two million people dead every year is a small price to pay to stay in good favor with the left wing wackos.

10 posted on 12/13/2002 6:39:59 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants
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To: xp38
One thing to remember is that environmental and human toxicity issues aside, Carson also noted other flaws in using DDT indiscriminately. Among them, the growing resistance of the Anopheles mosquito (the primary vector for Malaria) to DDT. Following WWII DDT was used extensively in Italy by Allied troops. Within a span of years, resistance emerged in nearly every local mosquito strain. Italians were forced to return to fly-swatters and fly-traps.

So regardless of the human toxicity issue, there are serious problems in instituting DDT use worldwide. The campaign for malaria eradication was a failure not due to environmentalists (which Carson certainly was), but more due to the failure of mankind to understand the development of resistance to pesticides and resistance to anti-microbial agents. In fact, only one eradication campaign has seen 100% success: smallpox. Much like staph, which recently developed vancomycin resistance, we keep underestimating and misunderstanding the microbial world.

11 posted on 12/13/2002 6:47:02 AM PST by fogarty
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To: fogarty
... Carson also noted other flaws in using DDT indiscriminately. Among them, the growing resistance of the Anopheles mosquito ...

Of course, of course. DDT won't solve every human problem forever, so ban it world-wide, even if a couple millions lives might be spared otherwise. If we used DDT and save these lives, some mosquitoes might become DDT resistant ... but, if we're not using DDT anyway, what difference does it make? Well nothing, if you don't count people's lives, which environmentalists never do.


12 posted on 12/13/2002 7:02:03 AM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Blood of Tyrants
Yea, right. It practically impossible to get them to repeal ANYTHING. Much less do the right thing. To them, two million people dead every year is a small price to pay to stay in good favor with the left wing wackos.

Absolutely. I don't expect them to remove the ban, I just get tired of people praising these cowards as doing the right thing, because it gets them elected. Good grief, right and wrong don't matter as long as your party gets in? There's no hope.


13 posted on 12/13/2002 7:04:55 AM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
DDT is NOT banned world-wide. There are countries which use it to this day. Rachel Carson, if you will read her book, NEVER demanded a world-wide ban to DDT. Certainly the environmentalists took the issue and pushed for an outright ban. It was shortsighted of them.

But we are being shortsighted as well if we think DDT is a magic solution to the problem. It may be part of the solution, but ONLY a part. Unless health officials deal with the resistance aspects of both the vector and the microbe it will result in MORE deaths, not less.

Case in point, look at malaria in India. Since India started using DDT, malaria rates initially declines, but soon returned with a vengeance. And they used DDT as part of a program of vaccinations and pesticides. Malaria is now an endemic disease in the Indian subcontinent, with the most common vectors of the microbe now resistant to DDT and several other families of more advanced pesticides. Take a look here.

14 posted on 12/13/2002 7:37:40 AM PST by fogarty
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To: xp38
I think DDT should be put back on the market for limited use. I believe everyone should be able to purchase sufficient quantity to treat their yards and the towns/counties should be able to use a suffiicient amount to treat breeding sites.
15 posted on 12/13/2002 7:46:20 AM PST by 1Old Pro
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To: fogarty
DDT is NOT banned world-wide.

Not yet, and only because the environmentalists haven't been able to push it through, which is what I meant. I didn't say it is banned world-wide.

So, what is the point of all you've said? There are problems with everything, nothing is perfect, men do have to use the best judgement of which they are capaable in the use of anything. If they do not, there are bad consequences, like the stupid banning of DDT that allows millions to die every year.

Should people be careful how they use things? Of course. Should governments be the one's to decide what can be used, and by whom, and when? Certainly not!

When free people make mistakes, there are sometimes problems, and they can be corrected. When governments makes mistakes, the problems are disasters forced of people who have no recourse and no means to correct the problems.


16 posted on 12/13/2002 7:54:27 AM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
Certainly nothing is perfect. However we are fools if we ignore evidence that something is not working. Indeed in malaria's case, there is strong evidence that DDT is making the situation WORSE, not better.

Look at almost every country that has enacted a DDT control program. Malaria has become endemic in a great many of them. Are there other factors to consider? Certainly. But the fact remains to be seen if DDT stops the spread of malaria in the long-term.

17 posted on 12/13/2002 8:08:17 AM PST by fogarty
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