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Business attacks scientist to keep pesticide on the market
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Posts: 2615

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mac wrote:
Hardly seems that the ban of DDT for agricultural use prohibits its use for malaria control, or that no environmental groups supported its use. Yet that is what mrgybe alleged, along with millions of deaths. Humbug.

This will be last comment on this topic. Debating an issue with someone who has no idea what he is talking about is a waste of my time.

What our belligerent poster from Berkeley fails to realize is that, following the US ban, all the major US and European aid agencies (e.g. USAID, World Health Organization) refused to fund any health programs that used DDT to combat malaria. The results were catastrophic with massive increases in the incidence of malaria across the world. Millions suffered and died as a direct outcome of the US DDT ban. USAID finally reversed it's policy in 2005, after 34 years, and others have followed suit. The results have been dramatic, with precipitous declines in malaria rates since then.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5145

PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This will be last comment on this topic


One can only hope. I wonder if mrgybe will ever try to make a point without insults, belittling those who disagree with him, or outright slander? By the numbers. While mrgybe knows much about efforts for malaria control in Africa, and is willing to share it in little bits and pieces, sprinkled with insults, he doesn't know much about contaminant chemistry, or DDT toxicity, and doesn't appear to be much interested in learning. His approach throughout his responses has been to start with slander and insults, and gradually evolve his story with either more information or minor corrections when his misstatements are pointed out. He has finally evolved a position which is clear, although it still has two logic leaps in it: he is angry that the banning of DDT in this country led to a limitation in aid for malaria control with DDT. The three problems with that position are 1) he ignores or belittles the opinions of others that DDT should only be used as a last resort; 2) he ignores the availability of other methods of control, and 3) he, again, ignores the problems of DDT resistance in mosquitoes.

I have spent over thirty years not, as mrgybe claims, hunkering in my cubicle while he travelled the world doing important things, but cleaning up contaminants left by the industries he defends, and supporting research to figure out how to manage public resources. I have forgotten more than mrgybe will ever know about the difficulties of cleaning up persistent organic pollutants, particularly chlorinated hydrocarbons like DDT and PCB's. He might try Googling DDT contamination from United Heckathorn offshore of Palos Verdes, or in the Lauritzen canal, to see the costs of DDT remediation. But it doesn't seem like mrgybe is actually interesting in learning anything about DDT that is not provided by someone in the business of manufacturing it or defending it in court.

Here is a very interesting quote from Worldwatch Institute which belies the blithe conclusions that DDT would be effective in the long term against mosquitoes:


Quote:
The malaria eradication strategy was not to kill every single mosquito, but to suppress their populations and shorten the lifespans of any survivors, so that the parasite would not have time to develop within them. If the mosquitoes could be kept down long enough, the parasites would eventually disappear from the human population. In any particular area, the process was expected to take three years-time enough for all infected people either to recover or die. After that, a resurgence of mosquitoes would be merely an annoyance, rather than a threat. And initially, the strategy seemed to be working. It proved especially effective on islands-relatively small areas insulated from reinfestation. Taiwan, Jamaica, and Sardinia were soon declared malaria-free and have remained so to this day. By 1961, arguably the year at which the program had peak momentum, malaria had been eliminated or dramatically reduced in 37 countries.

One year later, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, her landmark study of the ecological damage caused by the widespread use of DDT and other pesticides. Like other organochlorine pesticides, DDT bioaccumulates. It's fat soluble, so when an animal ingests it-by browsing contaminated vegetation, for example-the chemical tends to concentrate in its fat, instead of being excreted. When another animal eats that animal, it is likely to absorb the prey's burden of DDT. This process leads to an increasing concentration of DDT in the higher links of the food chain. And since DDT has a high chronic toxicity-that is, long-term exposure is likely to cause various physiological abnormalities-this bioaccumulation has profound implications for both ecological and human health.

With the miseries of malaria in full view, the managers of the eradication campaign didn't worry much about the toxicity of DDT, but they were greatly concerned about another aspect of the pesticide's effects: resistance. Continual exposure to an insecticide tends to "breed" insect populations that are at least partially immune to the poison. Resistance to DDT had been reported as early as 1946. The campaign managers knew that in mosquitoes, regular exposure to DDT tended to produce widespread resistance in four to seven years. Since it took three years to clear malaria from a human population, that didn't leave a lot of leeway for the eradication effort. As it turned out, the logistics simply couldn't be made to work in large, heavily infested areas with high human populations, poor housing and roads, and generally minimal infrastructure. In 1969, the campaign was abandoned. Today, DDT resistance is widespread in Anopheles, as is resistance to many more recent pesticides.


DDT was banned in 1972, 3 years after the problems with eradicating malaria above were noted. In attacking that banning mrgybe has made, or cited, a number of falsehoods and suspect sources, and has dismissed rebuttals of his claims with attacks on liberals in general ("latte sipping activists"). So here's how he started, with a burst of statements that aren't true:

Quote:
Welcome to the rewards from the US ban on DDT rammed through by the environmentalist lobby and their stooge at the EPA. Thirty years on we realize the "science" used to justify the ban was fatally flawed.........and I mean fatally. Millions........I repeat, MILLIONS, of people in the developing world have died from Malaria as a result. Imagine the entire population of San Fransisco being wiped out every year, TWICE, then you'll get the picture. But I suppose it was all worth it just in case those insects and birds eggs might have been impacted (they weren't).


Clearly mrgybe is not familiar in working within an arena where the accuracy of your statements is vital to your success in convincing people. The facts are:

1. EPA has only the authority that Congress grants them, and must make a decision based on the full record. William Ruckleshaus was a Republican legislator and attorney who was appointed by Richard Nixon to be the first head of EPA. He indeed banned DDT, acting as memory serves me, on a petition from environmental groups. He based that decision on a voluminous record, which included commentary and allegations from the chemical industry and from Monsanto. I believe that the decision was challenged in court and EPA prevailed. Mrgybe's accusations that Ruckleshaus was on the Board of EDF during or before that decision are false and slanderous. The science was not fatally flawed, mrgybe's claim is wrong. Mrgybe appears to be poorly informed, or uninterested, in the actual legal structure for such an administrative decision, or the record that is required.

2. Mrgybe's comment about insects and bird eggs not being harmed is wrong. He has backed away from that claim, but it is preposterous. Widespread DDT use led to both peregrine falcons and brown pelicans become endangered; both have recovered since the ban.

3. Mrgybe's eagerness to pick a fight, and blame the "latte sipping" enviros is directly antithetical to his actually making any progress on the issue--but then that is his style. In my first response to him I said:

Quote:
On malaria, there is an active debate over whether or not DDT or other persistent pesticides should be reintroduced to stem the rising tide of malaria. http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/health-and-human-body/human-diseases/raging-malaria.html I believe I first read about it in that liberal rag the New Yorker, but couldn't find that citation. Fair arguments can and are being made about the human health consequences of malaria and the risks of limited introduction. That is a very different issue than wholesale usage, and the two are improperly conflated by mrgybe without acknoweldging the nature of the debate, or the risks of developing DDT resistance in the mosquito genome.


What I didn't know at the time--and I didn't learn from any efforts that mrgybe made to educate us--was that DDT had been re-introduced, with the support of the WHO and a number of environmental groups.

Finally, despite requests from people on this forum who I respect to tone down the personal insults, mrgybe persists in insulting me as "someone who has no idea what he is talking about"--while ignoring the concerns that I actually do know about. It is a sign of someone who has lost the argument.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5145

PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A little more on the ongoing efforts by chemical companies to make the world safe for pesticide sales--and damn the consequences:

Quote:
Dozens of pesticides widely used on Central Valley farm crops have been detected in the bodies of frogs throughout the remote High Sierra, government scientists report in a study demonstrating how pervasive the chemicals are in the mountain environment.

The study published Friday was conducted by specialists with the U.S. Geological Survey who reported finding residues of 98 potent agricultural chemicals in the tissues of the common amphibians, Pacific Chorus Frogs, and in the sediments of the Sierra ponds where they live.

The compounds had apparently been blown by the wind as dust, or carried in rains sweeping eastward for scores of miles from the great valley to the mountains, the scientists concluded.

Biologist Vance T. Vredenberg of San Francisco State University, who was not involved in the new report, said the research "provides solid evidence that pesticides are making their way into natural ecosystems."

"I would guess that pesticides could have major effects, but now we need to test it," he said.

The next step

Kelly L. Smalling, a USGS research hydrologist, organic chemist and lead author of the report, said that should be the next step. Scientists should determine in detail whether even trace amounts of the compounds found in the frogs and ponds can affect the amphibians' lives and the ecology of mountain wildlife, she said.

"We need really good studies," she said.

Curiously, in the first phase of their research, one of the chemicals the scientists detected in the frogs was the breakdown product of DDT, the highly toxic compound that has been banned in America since 1972, but is still widely used in many developing countries on crops and to protect humans from mosquito-borne diseases.

That compound, called DDE, was detected in the frogs in trace amounts, indicating how persistently some chemicals can remain in the environment for long periods, Smalling said.

The average concentrations of all 98 pesticides detected in the bodies of the frogs ranged from 13 to 235 parts per billion, which Smalling described as "significant because it has never been documented before."

The report was published Friday in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Among the pesticides the group detected in the frogs were a weed-killer called simazine, and pyraclostrobin and tebuconazole, two of the most commonly used fungicides. All three are sold under several different brand names to Central Valley farmers and home gardeners.

Spanning the Sierra

The Pacific Chorus Frog, Pseudacris regilla, is widespread throughout the Sierra. To carry out the study, chemists and biologists from the USGS staked out ponds at seven separate research sites, from Lassen Volcanic National Park in the north to the Giant Sequoia National Monument in the south. The sites included Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park.

During two years of field work, in 2009 and 2010, the researchers reported finding traces of the chemicals in the frogs tested at all the sites.

A frog expert

Vredenberg, the San Francisco State University biologist, is noted for his research into the fungus plague called chytrid disease, which is responsible for the mysterious decline and in many cases the extinction of entire frog populations in the Sierra and throughout the world.

"What we still don't know is how important those pesticides are in driving the collapse of many frogs in the region," he said of the new study.

Scientists involved in the pesticide research are wildlife biologists Gary M. Fellers and Patrick M. Kleeman, of the Geological Survey's Western Ecological Research Center at the Point Reyes National Seashore, and organic chemist Kathryn Kuivilla, at the survey's Oregon Water Science Center in Portland.

David Perlman is The San Francisco Chronicle science editor


We have heard so much about how we can trust corporations, and how benign DDT is. Maybe not?
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Posts: 2615

PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The less he has to say, the more he says it" - Margaret Thatcher
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5145

PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No surprises from the man who thinks he is so clever. The entire point is that the right will lie about anything to sell products. Some will help them.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3335

PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you mean to say that people ,both left and right will lie to sell products?
And some left and rightwillhelp them?
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5145

PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some don't have any discipline, nor the capacity to read for content. In the wrong thread, mrgybe says:

Quote:
to bolster a seemingly never ending campaign to attack the credibility of DDT usage in malaria programs.......


That is untrue. I have no problem with the DDT usage in malaria programs as long as it is not released into the general environment, or again widely used in agriculture. I do have a serious problem with mrgybe's repeated misrepresentations of the nature of the program, the false accusation of opposition by environmental groups, and his false characterization of the impacts of DDT and DDE--which have impacts at trace levels--in his first postings on this subject.

DDT was banned, in this country, in 1972, when I was 23 years old and mrgybe probably the same age. It was banned because it was a suspected carcinogen. It was banned in a rule-making that remains readily available on-line, and I quote from it here:

Quote:
I am convinced by a preponderance of the evidence that, once dispersed. DDT is an uncontrollable, durable chemical that persists in the aquatic and terrestrial environments. Given Its insolubility in water and its propensity
to be stored in tissues, it collects in the food chain and is passed up to higher forms of aquatic and terrestrial life. There is ample evidence to show that under certain conditions DDT or its metabolites can persist in soil for many years,that it will volatilize or move along with eroding soil.....

Persistence and biomagnification in the food.chain are, of themselves, a cause for concern, given the unknown and possibly forever undeterminable long-range effects of DDT in man, and the environment. Laboratory tests have, however. produced tumorigenic effects on mice when DDT was fed
to them at high levels. Most of the cancer research e:gperts who testified at this hearing indicated that it was their opinion that the tumorigenic results of tests thus far conducted are an indicator of carcinogenity
and that DDT should be considered a potential carcinogen.

http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/DDT-Ruckelshaus.pdf

You can read the full findings, and discover--in the unlikely event that facts matter to biased zealots--that the registration that was cancelled was for agricultural use, and the parent company chose to defend DDT for continued use on cotton and sweet potatoes. I found nothing in the rule-making that prohibited use overseas for malaria control, or indeed, any discussion of malaria or mosquito control. The registration in question was only for the United States.

I am not sure when the WHO began to favor renewed use of DDT, it seems to have been in about 1997. They have a position paper, revised in 2011, that is quite reasonable, see it here: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2011/WHO_HTM_GMP_2011_eng.pdf

Mrgybe began his defense of DDT with a libelous ad hominem attack on William Ruckleshaus rather than by posting the WHO position and arguing that DDT could be reasonably used under certain conditions. He misrepresented most of the facts, including the fact that many environmental groups support use of DDT in malaria control, and again as he argues that traces of DDE are of no concern. He then sees my objection to his continued misrepresentation of the facts of DDT as an objection to the malaria program. It is an objection to spin and obfuscation, which continue to be mrgybe's stock in trade.
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