I find it very disturbing that there is a one-woman play to glorify Rachel Carson and her radical approach of placing the "natural world" above all else, including human life ("Rachel Carson's voice heard in a play," Sept. 23). Writer Krista Ramsey stated that Rachel Carson's book, "Silent Spring," "changed the nation's thinking on pesticide use and started grassroots environmentalism." The most significant result of Carson's activism was the banning of DDT in the U.S. and, more critically, eliminating its availability in developing countries. DDT was a means to an end for Rachael Carson and the environmental activists expanding their power in the early 1960s. Unfortunately, they focused on a pesticide, with tragic results for millions of innocent people without a voice in their fate. Malaria in western countries had already been wiped out through the use of DDT, so only the developing countries were left to suffer. Africa suffered the most. Even now the innocent continue to suffer. The World Health Organization reported nearly a million malaria deaths, mostly children under 5 years, in 2006. It is widely accepted that Carson's science was flawed and slanted to promote her agenda. Reputable scientific evidence on the limited harmful effects of DDT was available to Carson but was ignored. The safe and necessary use of DDT is no longer debated among most of the environmental organizations. The Wall Street Journal said it best on Aug. 16, 2007: "Opponents of DDT are only ensuring more misery and death." Over 350 scientists, including Nobel laureates, have signed a letter arguing for the use of DDT. The loss of tens of millions of lives is a high price to pay for furthering Carson's agenda. I hope we don't celebrate it.Update. For those who haven't seen the data. Malaria kills, but DDT eradicates it. From Junk Science:
"In May 1955 the Eighth World Health Assembly adopted a Global Malaria Eradication Campaign based on the widespread use of DDT against mosquitos and of antimalarial drugs to treat malaria and to eliminate the parasite in humans. As a result of the Campaign, malaria was eradicated by 1967 from all developed countries where the disease was endemic and large areas of tropical Asia and Latin America were freed from the risk of infection. Source: [Bull World Health Organ 1998;76(1):11-6]Eradicated in all the developed countries! Eradicated. But then Rachel Carson's book caught the imagination. DDT was banned and the deaths mounted.
Rachel Carson sounded the initial alarm against DDT, but represented the science of DDT erroneously in her 1962 book Silent Spring. Carson wrote "Dr. DeWitt's now classic experiments [on quail and pheasants] have now established the fact that exposure to DDT, even when doing no observable harm to the birds, may seriously affect reproduction. Quail into whose diet DDT was introduced throughout the breeding season survived and even produced normal numbers of fertile eggs. But few of the eggs hatched." DeWitt's 1956 article (in Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry) actually yielded a very different conclusion. Quail were fed 200 parts per million of DDT in all of their food throughout the breeding season. DeWitt reports that 80% of their eggs hatched, compared with the "control"" birds which hatched 83.9% of their eggs. Carson also omitted mention of DeWitt's report that "control" pheasants hatched only 57 percent of their eggs, while those that were fed high levels of DDT in all of their food for an entire year hatched more than 80% of their eggs. Population control advocates blamed DDT for increasing third world population. In the 1960s, World Health Organization authorities believed there was no alternative to the overpopulation problem but to assure than up to 40 percent of the children in poor nations would die of malaria. As an official of the Agency for International Development stated, "Rather dead than alive and riotously reproducing." Source: [Desowitz, RS. 1992. Malaria Capers, W.W. Norton & Company]Hmmm... Too many people. DDT is ending deaths from malaria. IT's hard to believe, but some "experts" want people dead. Not themselves, of course. 10/7/08 Added. American Magazine on deaths due to banning DDT