March 14, 2008 conference on DDT and health

February 1, 2008

Poster for 2008 conference on DDT

Steven Milloy must be apoplectic.

On March 14, 2008, Alma College, in Alma, Mich., is hosting a conference examining what is known about the impact of DDT on human health and the environment.

The conference will bring together a number of national and international experts to frame and lead discussions of current knowledge of DDT. Attendees will engage with experts to plan what research or other projects are needed to address questions about the impact of DDT and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

The conference is jointly sponsored by the Center for Responsible Leadership at Alma College, the Ohio Valley Chapter of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and the Pine River Superfund Task Force, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) community advisory group (CAG) for Superfund sites in the Pine River watershed in Michigan.

Why Alma College?

For a number of years students and faculty at Alma have helped support the work of the Pine River Task Force. The Superfund sites in the watershed of the Pine River resulted from the massive dumping of byproducts from production of DDT and a fire retardant based upon polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) by Velsicol Chemical Company. In addition to general dumping of wastes, Velsicol was responsible in 1973 for one of the worst food contamination mistakes in history, when PBB was erroneously mixed with animal feed and remained undetected for a year.

While highly contaminated for decades, the Pine River watershed has been fortunate to be the location of Alma College, with a long tradition of community involvement, and also the home of a number of people with remarkable expertise. One of the long time members of the CAG was the late Eugene Kenaga (1917-2007), for whom the conference is named.

Eugene Kenaga

During World War II, Dr. Kenaga served as an officer in a malariology unit in the Pacific Theater, using DDT. For forty-two years he was a research scientists with the Dow Chemical Company, for many years in charge of their entomological research. In 1968 he served on a three-member blue ribbon pesticide advisory panel (for Michigan Governor George Romney) that restricted use of DDT in the state. After the formation of EPA, he served on a variety of EPA advisory panels. He was also one of the founders of the International Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC).


Recently, the College, SETAC, and Task Force have become aware of an international campaign that questions the national and international restrictions on the use of DDT. Knowledge of this campaign led to the decision to bring together international experts and concerned citizens to discuss what is known and needs to be known about the impacts on human health and the environment arising from exposure to DDT and the other POPs.

Serious scholars, academic rigor, real scientists, real science, government agencies charged with protecting human health and environmental quality, the Center for Responsible — will any of the DDT advocates have the backbone to show? They don’t appear to fit any of those categories.

Eugene Kenaga International DDT Conference on Environment and Health
March 14, 2008
Alma College, Alma, Mich.

DDT: What We Know; What Do We Need to Know?

Speakers scheduled for the conference, listed below the fold.

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