Check out this breathless letter to the NY Times:
To the Editor:
Re “Is There a Place for DDT?,” by Henry I. Miller (Op-Ed, Aug. 7):
Dr. Miller’s notion that DDT can be applied “carefully and sparingly” to fight mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects is inconceivable. A few summers ago, a helicopter spraying some sort of pesticide to protect us from West Nile virus spewed a stinking wet cloud of pesticide all over our house just after dark. We had no warning, our cats were outside, and our tomatoes were ripe on the vine. To this day, we have no idea of the consequences.
Mamaroneck, N.Y., Aug. 7, 2003
One of the main reasons the government is as inefficient and ineffetive as it is might be because they have to deal with morons and cretins all day long- in other words, taxpayers are stupid. I offer Ms. Desmond as exhibit A. This letter to the editor is so stupid on so many levels that it made my head hurt.
1.) DDT was banned in the United States on June 14, 1972. No one sprayed DDT on your tomatoes, your cat, or you. What happened to you was part of a Mosquito abatement program, and you probably (I don’t know for sure, but you might ask your local authorities- just a thought) got fogged with a synthetic pyrethroid, perhaps Peremethrin, Sumithrin, or Resmethrin. If you click the link, the EPA has deemed these to be safe (and this was done under the Clinton EPA, so even Democrats can feel safe).
2.) As you live in Mamaroneck, NY, you might want to contact your local officials and ask them these questions, or, just for fun, you could use the same internet you used to write this letter to the editor and read the voluminous documents that Westchester County has put out on the issue.
3.) Why you would mention a mosquito abatement program in NY when discussing an article about the selective use of DDT in thrid world countries to control disease is beyond me. Maybe it is because DDT sounds like DEET, the active ingredient in most bug spray nowadays. I dunno. I am trying to figure it out. Maybe you are just another ill-informed environmental hysteric- in which case I understand totally.
4.) While DDT is everyone’s bogeyman, let’s remember one thing- one of the main reasons DDT was banned was because it was starting to become less effective in this area. Mosquitos and other insects were becoming resistant. DDT simply was no longer necessary because other methods had been developed, and it no longer was an acceptable risk to take. If there were no other methods, and we lived in a tropical climate, I would wager (hope) we would have the good sense to still use DDT, because the alternative is pretty ugly. Here is a partial list of the diseases that have ravaged mankind that could be solved by the ‘selective spraying’ you have mocked: malaria, dog heartworm, anthropod, West Nile virus (WN), eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), western equine encephalitis (WEE), St. Louis encephalitis (SLE), La Crosse (LAC) encephalitis, Dengue, and Yellow Fever. Guess what- they have killed more people than Hitler or George Bush!
5.) When people discuss DDT and selective spraying, I am willing to bet the do not mean arming someone with a DDT filled Super-Soaker to go out and selectively ambush unsuspecting and non-ambulatory mosquitos. In other words, they are planning to use it in regions where a little bit goes a long way, and spraying DDT has far more benefits than downfalls. Places like, say, Ethiopia:
The World Health Organization (WHO) says tens of thousands of Ethiopians may die in a malaria epidemic without urgent preventative steps in coming months after heavy rains enlarged mosquito breeding grounds.
“It looks as though it is going to be a major epidemic of malaria building up over the next few weeks or months,” said David Nabarro, head of the U.N. body’s Health Action in Crisis unit.
“It could, if we are not able to cope with it effectively, lead to tens of thousands of deaths,” he told a briefing for reporters on Friday evening.
Nabarro said risks appeared highest in previously drought-hit areas that had been drenched by rain. Since June heavy downpours in southern, western and eastern areas have helped ease a three-year drought, causing serious flooding in some places.
But Nabarro said that since many people had not been immunized a high percentage of the population in risk areas could fall ill. He called for urgent prevention steps such as elimination of ponds where mosquitoes breed, access to mosquito nets as well as spraying of risk areas with insecticide.
Kamla Siamevi, a WHO emergency and humanitarian coordinator, urged the authorities to pre-position adequate anti-malaria medicine in all areas with the potential for epidemics.
The two officials, speaking after visits to regions at risk, suggested an epidemic could inflate Ethiopia’s usual malaria death toll estimated by health officials at 100,000 a year.
Malaria is one of the biggest killers in Ethiopia, along with diseases linked to malnutrition. The Health Ministry says more than 40 million of the country’s 67 million people are estimated to be at risk of malaria.
So here is what I have to say to you, Ms. Desmond. Stay at home, eat your tomatoes, pet your cat, and continue to rail against the use of things you seriously do not understand. It will be of no consequence to you- you will never meet any of the people you are killing.
One of the main reasons the government is as inefficient and ineffetive as it is might be because they have to deal with morons and cretins all day long- in other words, taxpayers are stupid
This attitude by Gore is nothing new from Democrats- they have always felt the unwashed masses are dim bulbs who need to be protected- most of the time from ourselves
I just thought I would juxtapose your comment about Gore to your comment about DDT
However, if Ms. Desmond should start to stroke her tomatoes and eat her cat, then it would prove that something had indeed happened. Until then she should remain happy that she is not going to have her life blighted by malaria.
You should check your history more carefully. DDT was not banned for the reasons you state. Please consult http://www.junkscience.com for the definitive paper on this subject. Or, you could consult the archives of the San Jose (Ca) State University for the papers of the professor that testified before Congress on this issue.
DDT was banned by the EPA with no suporting science, because the then head of the EPA (Rucklehaus?) thought it would be a victory that would give future environmental efforts a better chance of success.
This DDT nonsense started with Rachel Carson and her ravings in her book “Silent Spring”. She has been exposed and discredited, but that does not stop the repetition of the same old lies and spread of misinformation.