ACSH friend R. Kozlovich s ode to banned, lifesaving DDT

By ACSH Staff — Nov 24, 2014
Can DDT fight the bedbug problem? Maybe. But the banned insecticide could do a lot more than that IF science held sway rather than mythology and superstition.

Bedbug004Don t get on Rich Kozlovich s bad side. He calls out those who foment harmful, unscientific and agenda-driven messages, especially when they impinge upon his area of expertise: pesticides, and the pests who fear them: both 8-legged and 2-legged, we should emphasize.

In his recent Paradigms and Demographics blog, which is entitled Repealing the Ban on DDT is Bigger Than Bed Bugs!, he takes on a CBC correspondent who had the temerity to demean DDT as being unable to impede the bedbug infestation in Hamilton, Canada. While the reporter (Samantha Craggs) may have been technically correct, she (or her editor) went on the add this sub-headline: 'DDT is going to have zero effect. All it s going to do is a lot of damage.'

Quite appropriately, this and other assertions and insinuations in the CBC article got Rich s attention, and his goat. Mainly, the allusions to the closely- and long-held myths about DDT s toxicity, for humans, animals (especially birds of prey), and for the environment.

That last one is both especially difficult to quantify and especially difficult to counter with evidence-based science. There is little in the greenosphere/enviro-base so dear as the antipathy to DDT, the poster child of chemical fears since Rachel Carson s polemic against the lifesaving insecticide, published in 1962.

Anyway, to return to the Kozlovich v. the CBC: the article attacked Councilman-elect Matthew Green s (ironic? yes) proposed repeal of the ban of DDT in order to fight the bedbug infestation/epidemic which has been annoying Hamilton s residents for 8 years or so. Rich K., knowing full well that DDT will, in fact, not reduce the bedbug threat, nevertheless fervently supports Green s measure NOT for helping the anti-bedbug fight, but for its symbolic resonance, given the seminal effect of DDT s anti-iconic position in the environmentalist ethos.

We think the author can best speak for himself:

But environmentalists understand the real issue here, and it isn t just about bed bugs. It's all about lifting the ban on DDT that would be far reaching. The article goes on to say, a local environmentalist and chemical scientist say thinking about bringing back powerful and banned chemicals is a bad idea.

There is the real issue in a nut shell. If DDT s ban is lifted then there will be serious efforts to do what this newly elected official wants to do when he uttered the most frightening words no green activist ever wants to hear: I need to take a closer look at the science, but there are chemical solutions and I d like to revisit that.

The raw emotion created by Rachel Carson s fallacious diatribe in her successful "science fiction" book Silent Spring against chemical pesticides is long past, and any honest scientific effort to revisit all these laws and regulations used since 1972 to eliminate these life saving products from the marketplace would devastate their movement. Carson s claim about how the poor robin was going to disappear was not only wrong she was deliberately lying. The claims about bird shell thinning was a lie based on studies that deliberately eliminated calcium from the test bird s diets. Carson had to know all of that and deliberately lied.

Scientists if that s what you choose to call them have been going along with this propaganda for decades because it s profitable, and as the years have gone by I have discovered these people are incapable of ramping up the moral fiber to be the rock in the current. ¦.[T]he ban on DDT is foundational to the green movement. If that s overturned their foundation of sand will start to crumble and eventually everything they have promoted will be called into question. That s a day that s long overdue! The green movement's success has been humanity s nightmare. monsters of the 20th century have left human devastation in their wake.

ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross added this: We should note that the ban on DDT promulgated by our nascent EPA in 1972 was based on zero science, just as Silent Spring was not. The consequences of that ban, which spread globally quite rapidly, far, far outweigh the concerns about bedbug infestations: millions upon millions of preventable deaths from malaria and other insect-borne diseases resulted. This catastrophe has never been acknowledged, much less regretted, by the unscientific, anti-human green movement.

For a thorough exposition of the history of DDT and its health-related issues, see this book and this movie (in which ACSH spokespeople appear, full disclosure).