March 14 beckons from the near horizon. A group of scientists and policy wonks will gather at Alma College, in Alma, Michigan, to look at the issues of DDT and health. This is the first major conference of its kind since the POPs Treaty, at least.
Controversy again swirls around DDT, with a large industry campaign again after the reputation of Rachel Carson just the same as in 1963 — though Ms. Carson has been dead since 1964. The disinformation campaign also impugns environmentalists, health care workers (especially if they’ve ever worked for the World Health Organization), Al Gore (there is no rationale), and when the minions think they can get away with it, it impugns bed nets and stagnant pool draining.
This public relations campaign against Rachel Carson enjoys a great deal of success. Oklahoma’s Sen. Tom Coburn, who seems never to have met an insult to a scientist he couldn’t use, successfully stopped the U.S. Senate from passing a bill naming a post office in honor of Rachel Carson, one of Coburn’s greatest legislative achievements. Several people in Congress, including Utah’s Rep. Rob Bishop, were similarly hornswoggled.
Are my expectations way too high? I hope reporting from this conference might inject sanity, comity, humility and courtesy back into the discussions of how to treat malaria, and whether DDT should ever be used.
Who will report from the conference?
I hope major news outlets will have reporters there.
- The Morning Sun, from middle Michigan: “International Experts to Attend DDT Conference
- International Society for Environmental Epidemiology signs on to cosponsor conference (Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub)
- March 14 conference on DDT and health (Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub)
- Historic photos, DDT in Alma, Michigan, from Alma College
- Conference registration information
- DDT conference agenda
- DDT conference presenters
- “Study links water pollution to cancer,” Macomb (Michigan) Daily, February 20, 2008; a Centers for Disease Control study showing health effects from pollution including DDT in Central Michigan, was repressed; study author demoted, study leaked by Center for Public Integrity