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Business attacks scientist to keep pesticide on the market
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 4676

PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm certain that the ironical content of this was not lost on anyone to the left of Attila the hun:

Quote:
Don't rely on "facts" provided by someone only interested mocking others.


Perhaps it is time for a contest, with a windsurfing harness to the person who comes up with the most mocking comment by mrgybe.

Now to the facts. The use of DDT, in carefully controlled indoor applications for malaria control, has been supported by environmental groups for at least 6 years. It is a non-issue. Mrgybe said: "DDT use on bed nets is NOT supported by environmental organizations." The facts are that they support this use; whether I said bed nets or indoor spraying is irrelevant to his attack.

When first raised by right wing groups and their "think tanks" like Milloy's "Junk Science", and again raised here, I wondered why in the world this was an issue. Banning DDT in this country did not mean that it could not be used in other countries, and most environmental groups had long since come around, somewhat reluctantly, to supporting its use for malaria control as long as it was assured that it would not be used wholesale for agricultural purposes. That's ok with me--both mrgybe and those groups know more about malaria control than I do. I know more than a bit about contaminant chemistry, and the record of dramatic bioaccumulation from wholesale application in this country was clear. Denied, of course, by mrgybe, with mocking comments insulting everyone from the head of EPA to posters on this site. I know a false claim when I see one.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac, I've always considered myself an environmentalist. Conservatives like to hunt, fish and recreate in a clean environment.

Your friends in the WH and congress would spray agent orange on childrens meals if it could help them stay in power. They have done more to cozy up to big polluters than any administration in history.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bard--do you actually have any facts to back up that claim? From what I've seen, EPA is a far more ethical organization under Obama than under Bush. But Fox will tell you anything they can to get back into power.
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mac wrote:
Mrgybe said: "DDT use on bed nets is NOT supported by environmental organizations." The facts are that they support this use; whether I said bed nets or indoor spraying is irrelevant to his attack.

It is not irrelevant. Lying in bed for 8 hours a day, over an extended period, inches from a DDT soaked bed net is unsafe. That is why DDT hasn't been used for that purpose for about 50 years. Anyone who understands malaria programs would know that.

mac wrote:
I know more than a bit about contaminant chemistry, and the record of dramatic bioaccumulation from wholesale application in this country was clear. Denied, of course, by mrgybe

Another complete fabrication. Knock yourself out mischaracterizing what I have said. I'm too busy trying to do something about the problem to waste any further time with you.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I noted before, one of the problems with pesticides, not only DDT, is that insects develop resistance. Here from worldwatch are a few facts that suggest that DDT is not the panacea suggested by mrgybe and the right wing media, and there are better solutions.

Quote:
Many African countries have used DDT for mosquito control in indoor spraying programs, but the primary use of DDT on the continent has been as an agricultural insecticide. Consequently, in parts of west Africa especially, DDT resistance is now widespread in A. gambiae. But even if A. gambiae were not resistant, a full-bore campaign to suppress it would probably accomplish little, because this mosquito is so efficient at transmitting malaria. Unlike most Anopheles species, A. gambiae specializes in human blood, so even a small population would keep the disease in circulation. One way to get a sense for this problem is to consider the "transmission index"-the threshold number of mosquito bites necessary to perpetuate the disease. In Africa, the index overall is 1 bite per person per month. That's all that's necessary to keep malaria in circulation. In India, by comparison, the TI is 10 bites per person per month.

And yet Africa is not a lost cause-it's simply that the key to progress does not lie in the general suppression of mosquito populations. Instead of spraying, the most promising African programs rely primarily on "bednets"-mosquito netting that is treated with an insecticide, usually a pyrethroid, and that is suspended over a person's bed. Bednets can't eliminate malaria, but they can "deflect" much of the burden. Because Anopheles species generally feed in the evening and at night, a bednet can radically reduce the number of infective bites a person receives. Such a person would probably still be infected from time to time, but would usually be able to lead a normal life.

In effect, therefore, bednets can substantially reduce the disease. Trials in the use of bednets for children have shown a decline in malaria-induced mortality by 25 to 40 percent. Infection levels and the incidence of severe anemia also declined. In Kenya, a recent study has shown that pregnant women who use bednets tend to give birth to healthier babies. In parts of Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Senegal, bednets are becoming standard household items. In the tiny west African nation of The Gambia, somewhere between 50 and 80 percent of the population has bednets.

Bednets are hardly a panacea. They have to be used properly and retreated with insecticide occasionally. And there is still the problem of insecticide resistance, although the nets themselves are hardly likely to be the main cause of it. (Pyrethroids are used extensively in agriculture as well.) Nevertheless, bednets can help transform malaria from a chronic disaster to a manageable public health problem -something a healthcare system can cope with.


Hmm, not quite the careful controls that mrgybe has claimed, eh?

more on resistance, from http://sites.duke.edu/malaria/4-gene-environment-interactions/pesticide-resistence/

Quote:
Continual application of pesticides on populations allows for large groups of resistant individuals to thrive in sprayed areas. Examples of pests that have become resistant in large areas are the hops aphid in England; the green rice leafhopper in Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam; cattle ticks in Australia, and anopheline mosquitoes worldwide (NRC, 1986). In addition, pesticide applicators often increase initial pesticide doses in order to ensure efficacy; as a result, reactive pests of the pest populations are over-treated while resistant individuals continue to thrive (NRC, 1986).

Applicators may switch to new chemicals to combat resistance; however, resistance to new chemicals will eventually develop (NRC, 1986). As resistance increases for each newly applied agent, higher and more frequent intervals of application enhance insect resistance, even in non-targeted species. In the Pacific coastal zone of Central America and southern Mexico during 1979, 30 liters of mixtures of active ingredients were applied in 30 treatments on cotton crops over a six-month period. The magnitude of these applications resulted in increased selection of resistance among mosquitoes, which had not been targeted in the agricultural spraying (Georghiou, 1986). Often, such application processes or schedules expedite or exacerbate normal pest resistance responses.

Resistance is one of the greatest problems opposing the control of vector-borne diseases around the world, particularly in developing countries. Late in the 1940s, the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated programs to eradicate malaria around the world with the use of DDT. Eventually the targeted anopheline mosquitoes, which are vectors of malaria, grew resistant (Georghiou, 1986). Fifty-one of these species are resistant; 47 resistant to dieldrin, 24 to DDT, 10 to organophosphates, and 4 to carbamates (Georghiou, 1986). By 1984, DDT resistance in Anopheles culcifacies was found over much of India (Georghiou, 1986). [figure 8, pg. 28] The number of Anopheles albimanus in Guatemala that are responsive to DDT has declined from nearly 100 percent in 1959 to approximately 5 percent in 1980. In areas of El Salvador, the susceptible gene in the same species of anopheles was reduced by 52 percent by 1972 (Georghiou, 1986).


So the facts suggest 1) that many environmental groups support careful use of DDT for malaria control; 2) insect resistance to DDT, including in mosquitos, is well established and occurs relatively quickly (research has also revealed the protein mechanism by which it occurs), 3) bioaccumulation of DDT led to near extinction of the brown pelican and peregrine falcon, both of which have made dramatic comebacks from banning DDT, 4) pyrethroids work better and appear to be safer in bed nets, 5) DDT's main use in Africa--which of course depends on the laws in African countries, not those in the US--is agriculture, which exacerbates environmental exposure and insect resistance.

Let me be clear--I am not opposed to use of pesticides, and not necessarily to industrial agriculture. We have increased the production of food in the world dramatically. There are hysterics on the left as well as apologists on the right. The testing of new pesticides--under regulations--is pretty good, and generally assures that any pesticide residue associated with agricultural use is very small. In this context, the environmental benefits of eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables far outweighs the added risk of cancer from pesticide residue. (The highest walking-around risk for non-smokers remains diesel particulates.)

What I know is that industry will create a narrative to argue for less or no regulation to sell products that are profitable. The former tobacco "scientists" who knew that tobacco caused cancer but covered it up, went to work for libertarian apologists, like JunkScience and the climate change deniers funded by Exxon. Existing laws allow the financial ties between corporations and their "consultants" and fully funded politicians to be hidden. In this case, they have promulgated a story narrative that environmentalists are opposed to pesticides, have no empathy for those at risk for malaria, and millions have died. The narrative is simply not true. Life, including protecting health with pesticides, is complicated, and requires complex answers, not simple nostrums, whether they are fed to you by JunkScience.com or Fox news. Follow the money and see if you have a credible source--or expose yourself to mockery.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZFyn0SBcgg

I didn't see this on Fox news....As a matter of fact I don't watch Fox News.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It should be on CNN Sports.
Nice hit.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 4676

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There you ago again. Mrgybe continuously edits what he thinks he posted in order to always be right. But it is not true. Here is mrgybe’s original post attackking Ruckleshaus and folks like me as “latte sipping liberals” on “The Obstructionist party etc." page 11, in early 2010:

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.


This line of reasoning originated, as far as I can tell, with the pro-industry site junkscience.com, and was repeated by Fox news beginning in 2002. Logic and fact be damned; the ban on DDT in the United States did not prevent a sovereign nation from using the chemical, and the World Health Organization--with the UN I believe, had secured use of DDT with support from environmental groups at the time of mrgybe's post. (Immediately above in this thread mrgybe denied that any environmental groups supported such use, and then ignored my very specific rebuttal.)

While I was well aware of the problems of DDT in the environment in California, and the difficulty and high cost of clean-ups, I knew essentially nothing of the use of DDT, or other pesticides for topical spraying and bed net use for malaria control. I learned, however, nothing from mrgybe's screeds, which made, at the time, no distinction between netting and spraying.

After this intemperate start, mrgybe justified his behavior with this comment, from the Obstructionist party etc. page 12:

Quote:
I used the term "stooge" to refer to the William Ruckelshaus who was the EPA administrator when the DDT ban was put into place. Following months of hearings held on DDT before an EPA administrative law judge, the judge concluded that DDT was not harmful to humans or wildlife. Despite the findings of his own judge, Ruckelshaus banned DDT. Oh.....did I mention that Rucklehaus was a member of, and fundraiser for, an activist environmental group, the Environmental Defense Fund who were vigorously lobbying against DDT at the time? You be the judge (but don't expect Ruckelhaus to listen to you!).



These accusations are wrong, Ruckelshaus (note for future reference the correct spelling) was not at that time on the Board of EDF, and the administrative record for banning DDT, which was sustained on appeal, was replete with information about wildlife impacts. I remained offended by his ad hominem attack on Ruckelshaus, described by Time Magazine as one of the ten best Cabinet members ever: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1858368_1858367_1858351,00.html

When I pointed out the biological impacts which were the basis for the ban, Mrgybe characterized those as "it might possibly have some long term side effects (we don't know)"

Mrgybe went on to argue that DDT was safe for human and environmental exposure, with this quote:

Quote:
".. there is no evidence to support the activists' contention that insecticides pose a health threat to humans. Even DDT, one of the most studied chemicals of all time, has been conclusively shown to be safe for humans at all conceivable levels of exposure sufficient to control malaria and save millions of lives." Gilbert Ross, M.D., medical director, American Council on Science and Health


Of course the American Council on Science and Health is an industry group (see page 14 for specific citations)

So mrgybe, in 2010, described bioaccumulation as a theoretical impact, and cited an industry source to conclude that DDT was safe for humans at "all conceivable levels of exposure". Sudden U-turn. I'm certainly not aware of the specifics of malaria control measures in Africa, and despite his belligerence, I would admire mrgybe's efforts in reducing malaria as long as they didn't have unacceptable long term effects. But I object to the parlor tricks--the distinction between nets and topical spraying--and his reversal to now acknowledge that DDT has human health implications and should only be used with great caution. This is exactly the point that I made 3 1/2 years ago when I was called a "latte-sipping liberal."

I write this to make two points. First, clarity in communication, without initial slander, is a more effective way of persuasion. Had mrgybe started with some educational effort about how DDT can be used, and rotated with other pesticides to avoid insect resistance and wide-spread agricultural use, I would have agreed. Second, the constant "gotcha" that he needs to play, with all liberals but particularly with me, is usually associated with a very tenuous grasp of facts. He now seems to acknowledge that there are indeed concerns with DDT. Perhaps the same is true of weed killers, and there is a need for a regulatory look at the chemicals that may cause cancer, and a rule making process that requires rules to be made in public rather than in Dick Cheney's office.
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mac wrote:
Quote:
".. there is no evidence to support the activists' contention that insecticides pose a health threat to humans. Even DDT, one of the most studied chemicals of all time, has been conclusively shown to be safe for humans at all conceivable levels of exposure sufficient to control malaria and save millions of lives." Gilbert Ross, M.D., medical director, American Council on Science and Health


So mrgybe, in 2010, described bioaccumulation as a theoretical impact, and cited an industry source to conclude that DDT was safe for humans at "all conceivable levels of exposure".


So tiresome. He makes stuff up millimeters away from a quote in his own post that contradicts him. Dr. Ross said that DDT is safe for humans at all conceivable levels of exposure sufficient to control malaria and save millions of lives. (i.e. small scale spraying). That is precisely what has happened now that DDT is once again in use.....and incalculable suffering has been avoided no matter how persistently Berkeley rants.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As usual, mrgybe dismisses the rebuttal of his many misstatements and mischaracterizations of DDT, including his initial comment that the impacts of DDT were only potential and speculative, and focusses on the industry scientist's comment. Tiresome indeed. Here is the commentary of a panel of experts, reported in Scientific America in 2009:
Quote:
Should DDT Be Used to Combat Malaria?

DDT should be used "with caution" in combating malaria, a panel of scientists reported today

By Marla Cone and Environmental Health News

A panel of scientists recommended today that the spraying of DDT in malaria-plagued Africa and Asia should be greatly reduced because people are exposed in their homes to high levels that may cause serious health effects.
The scientists from the United States and South Africa said the insecticide, banned decades ago in most of the world, should only be used as a last resort in combating malaria.

The stance of the panel, led by a University of California epidemiologist, is likely to be controversial with public health officials. Use of DDT to fight malaria has been increasing since it was endorsed in 2006 by the World Health Organization and the President's Malaria Initiative, a U.S. aid program launched by former President Bush.

In many African countries, as well as India and North Korea, the pesticide is sprayed inside homes and buildings to kill mosquitoes that carry malaria.

Malaria is one of the world's most deadly diseases, each year killing about 880,000 people, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

The 15 environmental health experts, who reviewed almost 500 health studies, concluded that DDT "should be used with caution, only when needed, and when no other effective, safe and affordable alternatives are locally available."

We cannot allow people to die from malaria, but we also cannot continue using DDT if we know about the health risks," said Tiaan de Jager, a member of the panel who is a professor at the School of Health Systems & Public Health at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. "Safer alternatives should be tested first and if successful, DDT should be phased out without putting people at risk."

The scientists reported that DDT may have a variety of human health effects, including reduced fertility, genital birth defects, breast cancer, diabetes and damage to developing brains. Its metabolite, DDE, can block male hormones.

"Based on recent studies, we conclude that humans are exposed to DDT and DDE, that indoor residual spraying can result in substantial exposure and that DDT may pose a risk for human populations," the scientists wrote in their consensus statement, published online today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

"We are concerned about the health of children and adults given the persistence of DDT and its active metabolites in the environment and in the body, and we are particularly concerned about the potential effects of continued DDT use on future generations."

In 2007, at least 3,950 tons of DDT were sprayed for mosquito control in Africa and Asia, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme.

"The volume is increasing slowly," said Hindrik Bouwman, a professor in the School of Environmental Sciences and Development at North-West University in Potchesfstroom, South Africa, who also served on the panel.

In South Africa, about 60 to 80 grams is sprayed in each household per year, Bouwman said.

Brenda Eskenazi, a University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health professor and lead author of the consensus statement, is concerned because the health of people inside the homes is not being monitored.

A 2007 study on male fertility is the only published research so far. Conducted in Limpopo, South Africa by de Jager and his colleagues, the study found men in the sprayed homes had extremely high levels of DDT in their blood and that their semen volume and sperm counts were low.

"Clearly, more research is needed…but in the meantime, DDT should really be the last resort against malaria, rather than the first line of defense," Eskenazi said.

The pesticide accumulates in body tissues, particularly breast milk, and lingers in the environment for decades.

In the United States, beginning in the1940s, large volumes of DDT were sprayed outdoors to kill mosquitoes and pests on crops. It was banned in 1972, after it built up in food chains, nearly wiping out bald eagles, pelicans and other birds.

Today's use differs greatly. In Africa, it is sprayed in much smaller quantities but people are directly exposed because it is sprayed on walls inside homes and other buildings.

Many health studies have been conducted in the United States, but on people who carry small traces of DDT in their bodies, not the high levels found in people in Africa.

"DDT is now used in countries where many of the people are malnourished, extremely poor and possibly suffering from immune-compromising diseases such as AIDS, which may increase their susceptibility to chemical exposures," said panel member Jonathan Chevrier, a University of California at Berkeley post-doctoral researcher in epidemiology and in environmental health sciences.

In 2001, more than 100 countries signed the Stockholm Convention, a United Nations treaty which sought to eliminate use of 12 persistent, toxic compounds, including DDT. Under the pact, use of the pesticide is allowed only for controlling malaria.

Since then, nine nations—Ethiopia, South Africa, India, Mauritius, Myanmar, Yemen, Uganda, Mozambique and Swaziland—notified the treaty's secretariat that they are using DDT. Five others—Zimbabwe, North Korea, Eritrea, Gambia, Namibia and Zambia--also reportedly are using it, and six others, including China, have reserved the right to begin using it, according to a January Stockholm Convention report.

"This is a global issue," Eskenazi said. "We need to enforce the Stockholm Convention and to have a plan for each country to phase out DDT, and if they feel they can't, good reason why other options cannot work."

Mexico, the rest of Central America and parts of Africa have combated malaria without DDT by using alternative methods, such as controlling stagnant ponds where mosquitoes breed and using bed nets treated with pyrethroid insecticides. But such efforts have been less successful in other places, particularly South Africa.

"We have a whole host of mosquito species and more than one parasite. The biology of the vectors is different and there is therefore no one-method-fits-all strategy, as is the case in Central America," Bouwman said.

For example, he said, some types of mosquitoes in South Africa breed in running water, which cannot be easily controlled.
"The area to be covered is also vast, and infrastructure in most areas is too little to allow environmental management on a sustainable basis," he said.

When a mosquito strain that had previously been eliminated returned to South Africa, it was resistant to the pyrethroid insecticides that had replaced DDT.

"The resulting increase in malaria cases and deaths was epidemic," Bouwman said. Cases soared from 4,117 in 1995 to 64,622 in 2000. "South Africa had to fall back on DDT, and still uses it in areas where other chemicals would have a risk of failure," he said.

The scientists also recommended study of possible health effects of pyrethroids and other alternatives for DDT.

"The general thoughts are that if chemicals have a shorter half-life, like pyrethroids, they are less dangerous," Eskenazi said. "This may be true, but there are virtually no studies on the health effects in humans of the alternatives."

The panel convened in March, 2008, at Alma College in Michigan, near a Superfund site where DDT was produced at a chemical plant. Their goal was "to address the current and legacy implications of DDT production and use," according to their report.

Acknowledging that some areas remain dependent on DDT, they recommended monitoring of the spraying to ensure that usage guidelines are followed and improved application techniques.

"It is definitely not a matter of letting people die from malaria," de Jager said.

This article originally ran at Environmental Health News, a news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.


It is a long leap from the banning of DDT in the United States to "millions dying" because it was banned. Millions do die of DDT, which is a disease of poverty and poor sanitation and education, and there are no magic bullets, including DDT. DDT had a significant benefit when first introduced in reducing malaria deaths, well publicized and noted in articles that I posted. But mosquitoes breed quickly, and a 98% reduction in mosquitoes also means a 2% remnant population--some of which are resistant to the disease. So it is wrong to say that DDT was well on its way to eliminating malaria--in fact it was losing its effectiveness.

While malaria is not present in the United States, there are other mosquito borne-vectors, particularly West Nile Disease. Now this is the part that the conservatives are going to hate--mosquitoes are controlled in the United States by government agencies. In California there are many mosquito abatement districts--with relatively small budgets--that manage to control mosquito populations and limit the spread of disease--without using DDT. Imagine that.

While DDT was banned in 1972 for general agricultural uses, that did not prohibit its use in other countries, and it allowed manufacture in the United States, and emergency use for vector control. It was not until the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants, adopted much later, that use in other countries for agriculture was formally banned. But that convention bans uses for everything but malaria control.

From EPA's site:

Quote:
DDT is one of 12 pesticides recommended by the WHO for indoor residual spray programs. It is up to countries to decide whether or not to use DDT. EPA works with other agencies and countries to advise them on how DDT programs are developed and monitored, with the goal that DDT be used only within the context of Integrated Vector Management programs, and that it be kept out of agricultural sectors.


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.
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