Poisoning The Earth For Profit - DDT, A Vaccine For Mosquitoes?Friday, January 04, 2008 by: Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
The outcry over this epidemic, until recently, has been muted. Malaria is
a plague of the poor, easy to overlook. The most unfortunate fact about malaria,
some researchers believe, is that prosperous nations got rid of it. In the
meantime, several distinctly unprosperous regions have reached the brink of
total malarial collapse, virtually ruled by swarms of buzzing, flying syringes."
Those of us who live in prosperity, for instance in the U.S., are supposed to direct our anger against Rachael Carson and her posterity for allowing this to happen because DDT is no longer in use.
Asked about the relevance and truth of the articles that appeared in National Geographic, Roland C. Clement, biologist for the Audubon during the 1950s whose work on the problem of DDT preceded and followed that of Rachael Carson, said about his own experiences with DDT then, “DDT was being used whole sale for disease control in the 50s. This called our (Audubon Society) attention to the problem because it was killing enormous numbers of birds. As National Audubon biologist, it was my job to find out what scientists were learning about the problem. That was about the time Rachael Carson began her research.
Birds were dying wholesale; it was like the canary in the mine, if you see what I mean. I remember that Illinois Research Center discovered that DDT applied to Elms and, picked up by robins in the spring of that year, would kill birds that ate 7 - 8 earth worms that autumn. It accumulated in their systems, and continued to do so, where it is used. It is what we call a persistent chemical, remaining in the environment for decades. Now we understand the impact on the whole food chain that concentrates it.”
Clemens is now retired and immediately referred me to the present issue of Science Magazine. Science Magazine is a different kind of publication from the photo-oriented popular media National Geographic. Its About Us page says, “Founded in 1880 on $10,000 of seed money from the American inventor Thomas Edison, Science has grown to become the world's leading outlet for scientific news, commentary, and cutting-edge research, with the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general-science journal. Through its print and online incarnations, Science reaches an estimated worldwide readership of more than one million. In content, too, the journal is truly international in scope; some 35 to 40 percent of the corresponding authors on its papers are based outside the United States. Its articles consistently rank among the world's most cited research.”
Clemens commented that netting for sleep, and avoidance along with eliminating breeding grounds were the suggestions he approved for preventing the contraction of malaria.
Two other articles in Science caught my interest, both published this year. The first, by Jocelyn Kaiser, titled prosaically, “Canadian Study Reveals New Class of Potential POPs,” suggested that, “regulators and countries concerned about persistent organic pollutants (POPs) may have been missing an entire class of these potentially hazardous chemicals.”
The second, by Tony Koslow, on the ecologies at the deepest part of the oceans, described, “how and what we have learned of abyssal organisms and ecologies as well as the threats human activities pose to this ecosystem.”
The impact of DDT on humans, on the food chain on which humanity relies, and on the interlinking ecosystems are far better understood today and that understanding is rapidly deepening as studies from around the world become available.
Although America agreed over thirty years ago to stop producing DDT, it still remains cheap to produce and highly profitable to sell. Today, the residue of DDT is building up in the milk of nursing mothers and in the food we import; although DDT is not used here it is used elsewhere and America is a nation that now buys its food from more places than we might imagine.
Steve Tvedten, who has for years served as an expert witness in cases litigated on the subject, said that, “Chloradane DDE contains high levels of DDT as an inert ingredient". Having examined the evidence from many such cases, Tvedten said that he had come to that conclusion from those many blood tests he studied during the course of his work. Tvedten commented that 'inert ingredients' need not be named when added to pesticides, so there is no way the consumer can know what is actually in the pesticide he is buying.
Chloradane, another dioxin that includes DDT and replaced DDT for use in the US, was outlawed in 1982. Tvedten was one of the activists who stopped the use of Chloradane. In his book the following appears, “The term dioxin encompasses a family of 219 different toxic chemicals. Some dioxin is 480,000 times more potent than DDT. Gravel roads were sprayed routinely with oil contaminated with dioxin, but no one wants to admit there is any health problem. Dioxin probably is mutagenic; it has a high degree of reproductive toxicity; it reduces fertility; it is teratogenic, fetotoxic and cumulative. Dioxin has been linked to blood diseases, cardiovascular failure, miscarriages and various forms of cancer! EPA is concerned that an impurity structurally related to TCDD, the most toxic chemical known, may form during the manufacture of chlorpyrifos (Dursban). TCDD is extremely stable; this molecule bears four chlorine atoms, each bonded to an outer corner. In human tissue, TCDD’s half-life is at least 7 years!
"Exposure to dioxin at levels 100 times lower than the levels associated with cancer has been linked to severe reproductive and developmental effects. The EPA originally considered any level of exposure to dioxin created a risk of cancer, but with all the tons of dioxin contamination in Michigan, Missouri, Arkansas, etc. there is a push from industry to detoxify dioxin; and call it safe. Even at a few parts per trillion, dioxin is capable of profoundly altering biological processes. Dioxin can now be found in every man, woman and child in the U. S.; and according to the EPA we are almost “full”. This one fact proves the world’s health apparatus has failed."
At the close of our interview I asked Steve Tvedten about his thoughts on DDT and the way the environmental movement has been characterized and he had this to say:
“There was a time when I loved to go out and smell the earth; you could smell the life it it. That has changed. Today food is really grown hydroponically. The soil holds it up but no longer nourishes it. That means that we are also dying, slowly, of malnutrition. The people who would do this to children, to all of us, have no souls. I have looked into their eyes and seen that.”
Tvedten's book on natural alternatives to pesticides, “The Best Control 2 – Encyclopedia of Integrated Pest Management,” is available free online. Anyone can use the information. Steve is also available if you don't find the answers you need there.
Steve Tvedten was a pest control professional whose company used pesticides until his father and son died of cancer. Steve himself realized the deterioration of his own health originated from pesticides. He found an alternative practitioner who helped him cleanse his system, gave away his business, and found the solutions that do not kill.