Nobody called for DDT to fight West Nile?


Was I too busy to notice?

With the exception of Glenn Beck’s idiot return to 1950s science in an effort to bring back 1950s politics, I didn’t see any major calls for DDT to be brought back to fight West Nile Virus this summer, not even from the Hoover Institute.

DDT is particularly ill-adapted for fighting West Nile Virus.  The mosquitoes that carry it are best fought in the larval stage, before they mature.  DDT is exactly wrong for water applications.

But that didn’t stop people from asking for DDT as a barrier to WNV in the past.  Is some intelligence taking hold now?

Did I miss the editorials?  Maybe it was a better summer than it felt like.

(Still fighting stupidity on bedbugs — taking longer than it should.)

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7 Responses to Nobody called for DDT to fight West Nile?

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    You know, if there were journalism licenses, Stephen Milloy’s would have been yanked a long time ago.

    T. J. Lovell posted a letter from Milloy to the Wall Street Journal. I’ll look at three paragraphs.

    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,” according to a 1966 report published in the “Transcripts of 31st North America Wildlife Conference.”

    If USFWS did that experiment, the conclusion Milloy states here is false. No scientist would make that claim, not in 1966 after 20 years of contrary data. Milloy is not telling the whole truth here — and I’ll wager that no one can produce a valid citation to that study, with the conclusion Milloy states. USFWS has been consistent in its scientific claims about DDT since 1955, basing conclusions on detailed studies. Never has USFWS claimed DDT does no harm to eagles.

    In short, that claim is a lie.

    The Fish and Wildlife Service examined every bald eagle found dead in the U.S. between 1961-1977 (266 birds) and reported no adverse effects caused by DDT or its residues.

    USFWS reported on eagle carcasses found. Finding a carcass is rare, and generally results because the bird was shot, struck by a vehicle, or poisoned. USFWS found that in those carcasses it examined, they didn’t find signs of acute DDT poisoning. But USFWS did not report “no adverse effects caused by DDT or its residues” in all eagles.

    I challenge Lovell to produce any scientific citation for this study. I’ve never found it in any science journal with a statement of findings.

    Lie #2.

    One of the most notorious DDT “factoids” is that it thinned bird egg shells. But a 1970 study published in Pesticides Monitoring Journal reported that DDT residues in bird egg shells were not correlated with thinning. Numerous other feeding studies on caged birds indicate that DDT isn’t associated with egg shell thinning.

    I doubt it, but if there was one rogue study, it stands in stark contrast to more than 1,000 other peer-reviewed, published research articles noting the direct link between DDT and its daughter residues in bird tissues and the thinning of eggshells (http://discovermagazine.com/2007/nov/can-a-maligned-pesticide-save-lives/ ). It is contradicted also by HHS’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which reports on the basis of reviews of all published research that eggshell thinning is one of the known and well established effects of DDT (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp35.pdf ) (see especially page 134 for a list of the many different studies finding eggshell thinning in many different bird species).

    Lie #3.

    Milloy is probably the sloppiest researcher in the history of ornithology, or a liar. Let’s assume he’s never learned how to use the indices for science journals.

    You can search through this blog for Milloy’s name, and you’ll find that many of the claims in his list of 100 things to know about DDT are absolutely and completely false. Most of his claims about eagles are made on the basis of phantom reports — the articles he cites simply do not exist. This is an outstanding example of scientific fraud, and were Milloy to offer it in court as evidence, or even in support of a research project done with federal money, it would be a crime. He deftly avoids such venues, however, preferring to sucker in the gullible and ill-informed with a website where the First Amendment protects his right to be a fool.

    Now, there’s a guy who could use some time studying the Boy Scout oath and law, right?

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  2. Dan says:

    Steve Milloy? The one who thinks it’s “junk science” to say that tobacco smoking contributes to lung cancer???

    LOL

    Like

  3. TJ LOVELL says:

    THE MYTH THAT DDT CAUSED EGG THINNING AND DEPLETION OF EAGLES
    WSJ, December 28, 2006; Page A15
    Your Dec. 26 editorial ” The Eagle Is Landing1″ unfortunately perpetuates a major myth about the insecticide DDT — that the 1972 ban of DDT saved the eagle from extinction.

    As early as 1921, the journal Ecology reported that bald eagles were threatened with extinction — 22 years before DDT production even began. According to a report in the National Museum Bulletin, the bald eagle reportedly had vanished from New England by 1937 — 10 years before widespread use of the pesticide.

    But by 1960, 20 years after the Bald Eagle Protection Act and at the peak of DDT use, the Audubon Society reported counting 25% more eagles than in its pre-1941 census. U.S. Forest Service studies reported an increase in nesting bald eagle productivity from 51 in 1964 to 107 in 1970, according to the 1970 Annual Report on Bald Eagle Status.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 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,” according to a 1978 report in the Endangered Species Tech Bulletin.

    A 1984 National Wildlife Federation publication listed hunting, power line electrocution, collisions in flight and poisoning from eating ducks containing lead shot as the leading causes of eagle deaths.

    In addition to these reports, numerous scientific studies and experiments vindicate DDT.

    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,” according to a 1966 report published in the “Transcripts of 31st North America Wildlife Conference.”

    The Fish and Wildlife Service examined every bald eagle found dead in the U.S. between 1961-1977 (266 birds) and reported no adverse effects caused by DDT or its residues.

    One of the most notorious DDT “factoids” is that it thinned bird egg shells. But a 1970 study published in Pesticides Monitoring Journal reported that DDT residues in bird egg shells were not correlated with thinning. Numerous other feeding studies on caged birds indicate that DDT isn’t associated with egg shell thinning.

    In the few studies claiming to implicate DDT as the cause of thinning, the birds were fed diets that were either low in calcium, included other known egg shell-thinning substances, or that contained levels of DDT far in excess of levels that would be found in the environment — and even then, the massive doses produced much less thinning than what had been found in egg shells in the wild.

    So what causes thin bird egg shells? The potential culprits are many. Some that have been reported in the scientific literature include: oil, lead, mercury, stress from noise, fear, excitement or disease, age, bird size (larger birds produce thicker shells), dehydration, temperature, decreased light, human and predator intrusion, restraint and nutrient deficiencies.

    Most of this evidence was available to the Environmental Protection Agency administrative judge who presided over the 1971-1972 hearings about whether DDT should be banned. No doubt it’s why he ruled that, “The use of DDT under the regulations involved here does not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife.”

    Yet it’s the myths, not the facts, that endure. Why? The answer is endless repetition. If we want, as you have editorialized in the past, for the malarial regions nations to embrace DDT use, the repetition of this myth must end.

    ———————————————–
    Steven Milloy
    JunkScience.com
    Potomac, Md.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116727843118861313.html

    Like

  4. Dan says:

    Dang, I hadn’t heard about the WNV problem. That sucks. Guess I really do miss a lot, currently living in Europe and all…

    Like

  5. Nick Kelsier says:

    No, she shows the neurological signs of severe religious whackjob poisoning along with strong signs of what I call Scaifeism.

    Like

  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Oh, West Nile Virus broke out all over the U.S. this year. Our neighborhood was sprayed twice in the last 20 days.

    WNV is a worry to public health officials and others who worry about WNV. It’s not in the headlines — so maybe for that reason it doesn’t attract the attention of DDT-poisoned advocates of spraying DDT for all ills.

    Michelle Bachmann, for example, appears to me to show the neurological signs of severe DDT poisoning.

    Like

  7. Dan says:

    I’m not sure that WNV is much of a worry these days, is the thing. H1N1 (aka Swine Flu) is Obama’s fault though, according to Michele Bachmann.

    Like

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