Why are millions dying of malaria, a disease all but extinct forty years ago?
“Fraud in science is a major problem.” So begins “DDT: A Case Study in Scientific Fraud” by the late J. Gordon Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Entomology at San Jose State University in San Jose, California.
The article was published shortly after his death last July in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Fall, 2004. It is based in part on his 34-page manuscript discussing fraud in acid rain, ozone holes, ultraviolet radiation, carbon dioxide, global warming, and pesticides, particularly DDT.
His publications distinguish Edwards as the leading authority on the environmental science and politics of DDT.
In World War I, prior to the discovery of the insecticidal potential of DDT, typhus killed more servicemen than bullets. In World War II, typhus was no problem. The world has marveled at the effectiveness of DDT in fighting malaria, yellow fever, dengue, sleeping sickness, plague, encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, fleas, and lice.
Today, the greatest killer and disabler is malaria, which kills a person every 30 seconds. By the 1960s, DDT had brought malaria near to extinction. “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,” said the National Academy of Sciences.
But the handwriting was on the wall when William Ruckelshaus, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in an address to the Audubon Society in Milwaukee in 1971, clearly stated his position:
“As you know, many mass uses of DDT have already been prohibited, including all uses around the home. Certainly we’ll all feel better when the persistent compounds can be phased out in favor of biological controls. But awaiting this millennium does not permit the luxury of dodging the harsh decisions of today.
Rachel Carson began the countrywide assault on DDT with her 1962 book, Silent Spring. Carson made errors, some designed to scare, about DDT and synthetic pesticides. “For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from the moment of conception to death,” she intoned.
“This is nonsense,” commented pesticide specialists Bruce N. Ames and Thomas H. Jukes of the University of California at Berkeley. (Ames is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, world renowned. Jukes, who died a few years ago, was a professor of biophysics and a leader in the defense of DDT.) “Every chemical is dangerous if the concentration is too high. Moreover, 99.9 percent of the chemicals humans ingest are natural… produced by plants to kill off predators,” Ames and Jukes wrote in Reason in 1993.
Carson, not very scrupulous, implied that the renowned Albert Schweitzer agreed with her on DDT by dedicating Silent Spring “to Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who said ‘Man has lost the capacity to foresee and forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.’” Professor Edwards doubted the implication. He got a copy of Schweitzer’s autobiography. Dr. Schweitzer was referring to atomic warfare. Professor Edwards found on page 262, “How much labor and waste of time these wicked insects do cause, but a ray of hope, in the use of DDT, is now held out to us.”
But Miss Carson’s skillful writing was enough to direct a new-born environmental industry looking for a hot issue into a feverish campaign against DDT. “Rachel Carson set the style for environmentalism. Exaggeration and omission of pertinent contradictory evidence are acceptable for the holy cause,” wrote Professors Ames and Jukes.
THE FIRST CHARGE AGAINST DDT was that it causes cancer. No search has ever turned up any evidence, despite massive use of DDT in agriculture in the 1950s and 1960s. Wayland Hayes, U.S. Public Health Service scientist, for 18 months, fed to human volunteers, daily, three times the quantity of DDT that the average American was ingesting annually. None experienced any adverse effect, then or six to ten years later.
Workers without wearing protective clothing, with nine to 19 years of continuous exposure to DDT in the Montrose Chemical Company which manufactured DDT, never developed a single case of cancer. DDT caused no illness in the 130,000 men who sprayed it on the interior walls of mud and thatched huts, nor the millions of people who lived in them. Professor Edwards in his classroom occasionally ate a tablespoon of DDT to illustrate to his students that it is not harmful. Indeed, DDT is so safe that canned baby food was permitted to contain five parts per million.
“There has never been any convincing evidence that DDT (or pesticide residues in food) has ever caused cancer in man,” concluded Ames and Jukes.
In fact, DDT prevents cancer. “DDT in the diet has repeatedly been shown to enhance the production of hepatic enzymes in mammals and birds. Those enzymes inhibit tumors and cancers in humans as well as wildlife,” wrote Professor Edwards in 1992.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?