Eating DDT: Where did it get them?


From Time Magazine, August 1, 1971:

Instead of a vitamin a day, Pest Control Executive Robert Loibl and his wife Louise start breakfast with a 10-mg. capsule of DDT. After 93 days on DDT, the North Hollywood, Calif., couple figured they had ingested as much of the pesticide (some 300 times more than the average daily intake) as persons consuming food dusted with the chemical would get in 83 years. “We feel better than we used to,” crows Loibl. “In fact, I think my appetite has increased since I began taking DDT.”

The Loibls’ experiment is designed to prove that DDT, which they claim is the most maligned of pesticides, is “harmless.” They believe that the environment is better served with spraying. On the surface, their consumption of DDT appears to have caused them no harm. Blood tests and urinalysis conducted by Government physicians, says Loibl, “showed nothing out of the ordinary.” But while the Loibls seem safe enough now, they could become ill in the future. More important, even if DDT is not immediately harmful to man, it is destructive to many beneficial insects and to some fish and birds.

Whatever happened to these people?  My internet searches have not turned up any significant further information on either of the Loibls.  Does anyone know?

Associated Press caption, presumably to an AP photo: Robert Loibl and his wife, Louise, hold 10-milligram capsules of DDT which they took in front of witnesses for 93 days at lunch time, June 10, 1971. Loibl said their total dosage was more than the average person consumes in 83 years. He said his wife’s dandruff disappeared, their appetites perked up and they feel better. Loibl said they just wanted to call attention to the public that DDT was safe. Image via Gizmodo

Associated Press caption, presumably to an AP photo: Robert Loibl and his wife, Louise, hold 10-milligram capsules of DDT which they took in front of witnesses for 93 days at lunch time, June 10, 1971. Loibl said their total dosage was more than the average person consumes in 83 years. He said his wife’s dandruff disappeared, their appetites perked up and they feel better. Loibl said they just wanted to call attention to the public that DDT was safe. Image via Gizmodo.

 

I believe they lived in or near San Diego, perhaps in retirement, and I believe he owned or operated a pest control company there as well as farther north.  Can anyone tell us what happened to the intrepid DDT eaters, the Loibls?

(This is an uncontrolled experiment, and probably dangerous.  Kids, do not try this at home.)

What do you think? Was this a good idea? Does anyone know what happened to them?

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5 Responses to Eating DDT: Where did it get them?

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Thanks, RBH.

    Hydrex appears to be in San Diego — was there a Los Angeles branch, too?

    Sports Illustrated, better than Time, figured out the difficulties with eating DDT. Odd that a sports magazine would have a better appreciation for environmental and health damage than the news magazine, don’t you think?

    I’m hoping someone will find the obituaries, but I’ve not, yet.

    Like

  2. RBH says:

    Here’s my previous comment, a story in Sports Illustrated, of all places, published in March 1971 about the same people.

    Like

  3. RBH says:

    Hm. A comment I posted a little while ago apparently is in moderation. Ah, well. In any case, this appears to be the pest control company Loibl’s father founded.

    Like

  4. RBH says:

    All I found was a March 8, 1971, story about them in (of all places!) Sports Illustrated. It expressed some of the same reservations as the Time story.

    Like

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