Rachel Carson and DDT

Kirsten Weir has an excellent article in Salon on DDT and Rachel Carson. Weir took the time to talk to actual scientists and found:

Socrates Litsios, a historian and former scientist for the World Health Organization (the agency that has headed global malaria control efforts since the 1960s), says the assertion that "Silent Spring" and the DDT ban led to millions of deaths is "outrageous." May Berenbaum, head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who has studied mosquitoes and malaria, says that "to blame environmentalists who oppose DDT for more deaths than Hitler is worse than irresponsible." ...

[Africa Fighting Malaria's] Tren, who is allied with libertarian and free-market think tanks, such as the Institute of Economic Affairs, believes that anti-insecticide sentiment scared donors away from DDT programs. "By the late 1960s and early 1970s, the donor nations were starting to withdraw support from insecticide-spraying programs and from the use of DDT," Tren says. "I am confident in saying that the anti-DDT crusades harmed malaria control and cost lives."

That is misleading, say Litsios and Clive Shiff, a malaria researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who has participated in malaria programs in Africa for decades. They stress that aid organizations weren't anti-DDT during that period, they were pro-medicine. Through the '70s and '80s, most countries, on the advice of the WHO, "changed their approach to malaria control from insecticide treatment to treating people with chloroquine" -- which kills the parasites that cause malaria -- "because that was a way they could impact the mortality of the disease," Shiff says. "I don't think the ban of DDT in the U.S. had any impact on malaria control programs in Africa, certainly not in southern Africa where I was working." ...

Public health workers generally agree that balance is the best approach: spraying houses, hanging bed nets, tracking outbreaks and treating those infected with malaria. DDT has a place in that strategy, but it is not the silver bullet it's often made out to be. Today, a variety of insecticides are available for indoor residual spraying. DDT, says Shiff, "is just one important tool." And not always the best tool.

Mosquitoes can evolve resistance to any insecticide. In India, DDT-resistant mosquitoes were reported as early as 1959. "Insects will develop resistance to insecticides," says entomologist Berenbaum at the University of Illinois. "This is one sure thing you can count on."

Mosquitoes, Berenbaum says, can develop resistance in any number of ways -- biologically, biochemically, even behaviorally. In some regions, mosquitoes might develop resistance by becoming physically immune to the effects of DDT. In other populations, mosquitoes might evolve new behaviors, such as avoiding inside walls and resting on the unsprayed outer walls of homes after biting their victims.

Relying on insecticide alone to control malaria ignores big pieces of the puzzle, Berenbaum says. Mosquitoes may be the carrier, but it's the Plasmodium parasite that causes malaria. "It's not just the mosquito. There's a pathogen involved, and there are people involved. To reduce this extremely complicated situation to one bad guy is beyond simplistic," she says. ...

As for the DDT debate in vogue at the moment, Berenbaum says, "it's all emotional and not rational." She fully agrees that malaria is an international tragedy, and she doesn't "place the lives of ospreys above the lives of people," she says. But neither would Berenbaum pin her hopes on one insecticide -- a point Carson herself understood half a century ago. "Carson's point wasn't that DDT was evil," Berenbaum says. "It was that if you put all your eggs in one basket, that basket's going to break."

If you want to know the history of Africa Fighting Malaria, read this.

(Via Ezra Klein.)


More like this

err...me again. One of the things I did a month ago was to submit a couple of posts on this issue to Boing Boing.

If the top blogger on the net wrote about the Salon story and the controversy....That might actually create some pushback.

Maybe if one of the ScienceBloggers submitted it, rather than a random wordpress schmo? (i.e., me) :D

> Boing Boing

I wish. I don't see much science there.

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 29 Jun 2007 #permalink

Actually, every now and then something gets his attention, and he will take up and promote a cause.

I wonder if the "using the net to spread misinformation" angle would work.

In regard to the Kirsten Weir article:

DDT and the Population Question

The point that gets buried in all the left/right nonsense about DDT is that one child dies every second of malaria in Africa, and that most of the 1 million people or so who die per year of malaria are women and children in Africa. Spraying the indoor walls of houses with DDT or with other insecticides dramatically reduces the spread of malaria. DDT is more effective that other insecticides because it repels mosquitoes, and it's longer lasting. Even those mosquitoes resistant to DDT are repelled. The history of South African malaria treatment makes this point.

The EPA representative needs to read some EPA history. The EPA held seven months of hearings on DDT in 1972, producing 9,000 pages of testimony. At the end of the hearings, EPA hearing examiner Edmund Sweeney ruled that on the basis of the scientific evidence, DDT should NOT be banned because it was not harmful to human beings or animals. Mr. Sweeney's ruling is in the public record. The EPA administrator at the time, William Ruckelshaus, banned DDT anyway, for what he said were "political reasons."

The World Health Organization reversed its 30-year ban on DDT in September 2006 in an attempt to stem the malaria death rate, and the tremendous loss to the society of people too ill to work, to go to school, or to think because of malaria. A faction in the WHO disagreed with this decision, possibly because it casts aspersions on the ineffectual at best, murderous at worst, policy that had been pursued by WHO in the last 30 years.

It should be noted that along with the ban on DDT in those 30 years came the taking down of the public health system in Africa and elsewhere through the budget-cutting anti-human policies of both the so-called right wing and left wing, and the defunding of the kinds of infrastructure projects that could bring up living standards on the continent. Millions of people have died as a result. This was the intention of the policy makers, who, like Bertrand Russell, see famine, disease, and war as natural ways of "culling" what they define as overpopulation. The official U.S. policy in the 1970s was to depopulate Africa and other Third World nations. National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSM 200) makes this point explicit.

It should also be noted that after the U.S. ban on DDT in 1972, the U.S. State Department policy was not to fund any aid program where any substance (like DDT) banned in the United States was used. U.S. AID carried this policy out with a vengeance.

As for Rachel Carson: she was a talented writer, who let her emotions rule over science in Silent Spring. The results were misstatements and misreporting of the scientific evidence. For the documentation on this, see the article by entomologist and naturalist Dr. J. Gordon Edwards, who had looked forward to reading Carson's book in 1962.


I also recommend this interview with entomologist Donald Roberts, who has worked with malaria prevention for decades, and who pioneered the studies of indoor house spraying: http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Presub_samples_MMH07/Fall%20Winte…

By Marjorie Mazel Hecht (not verified) on 30 Jun 2007 #permalink

"Mr. Sweeney's ruling is in the public record."

Well that's a relief - perhaps we can sort out the question of whether Ruckelshaus overruled Sweeney once and for all. Marjorie, can you please tell me where in the public record I can find the full text of Mr Sweeney's ruling?

That would be the Majorie Mazel Hecht that is affilliated with the extreme right wingnut Lyndon LaRouche:

"Still, it's sometimes hard to know which side Watson's on. The Sea Shepherd Society FAXed E a sheaf of anti-Greenpeace documents, including some sourced from a magazine called 21st Century Science and Technology, which Greenpeace says "was founded by [presidential candidate and U.S. Labor Party head] Lyndon LaRouche." (The ultra-conservative LaRouche, a former communist, reportedly believes in an international British-Jewish drug conspiracy, and regularly rails against environmental initiatives.) 21st Century's managing editor, Marjorie Mazel Hecht, says the magazine was not founded and is not funded by LaRouche, but she adds, "I personally have been affiliated with him since the 1960s, and our editor-in-chief also. Lyndon LaRouche contributes articles."


Sorry Marjorie - I'm afraid that your attempt to portray yourself as occupying the middle ground has fallen rather flat.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

By Dean Morrison (not verified) on 30 Jun 2007 #permalink

"The point that gets buried in all the left/right nonsense about DDT is that one child dies every second of malaria in Africa,..."

That's interesting.

Let's see 50 seconds x 60 minutes x 24 hours x 365 days = 31,356,000.

Funny, the WHO reports fewer than one million African children dying of malaria every year.

But doubtless they're part of the international Zionist conspiracy so beloved of the LaRouchites.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 01 Jul 2007 #permalink

Well spotted Ian. Actually, that should be:

**60** seconds x 60 minutes x 24 hours x 365 days = 31,**53**6,000.

... but the effect is much the same.

However, although I agree it's important to get the facts right, it's important to put this in perspective. I'm sure everyone reading this blog agrees that 1 million African children dying of malaria every year (or about 2 every minute) is still a humanitarian disaster.

Marjorie Mazel Hecht doesn't mention it, but she was the interviewer for the Donald Roberts piece. Here's a sample "question":

Question: It's prejudice on the part of the anti-DDT folks, really--brainwashing.

It is classic LaRouche from beginning to end: a nugget of truth (DDT has repellant properties) surrounded by misinformation (WHO banned DDT for 30 years, then reversed itself in 2006) in the service of a wackily paranoid political theory (environmentalists and population control advocates conspired to suppress DDT so as to kill Africans).
The way the DDT-ban fantasy is pushed by the LaRouchies would be disgraceful if it were merely a pile of misinformation, but the sleazy way the story is spun, and the ugly political agenda behind it give it an aroma that's unique.

To Munin and others:

The citation for Edmund Sweeney's ruling is Sweeney, E.M., 1972. "EPA Hearing Examiner's Recommendations and Findings Concerning DDT Hearings," April 25, 1972. 40 CFR 164.32.

You can also read news articles quoting Sweeney's ruling in the major press on the days following the release of Sweeney's ruling in April 1972 (New York Times, Washington Post, etc.)

The full EPA hearing record (9,000 or so pages) should be in the EPA archives.

On the number of deaths from malaria:

Your multiplication is off: 2 children die per minute times 60 minutes times 24 hours times 365 days = 1,051,200. Yes, more than 1 million people die per year of malaria, and the majority are children.

On the question of Lyndon LaRouche: Why don't you read something he wrote, instead of taking blips from paid liars and others? (It was a reporter who made up "The Queen of England pushes drugs," for example; LaRouche never said this.) You can start with the transcript of his latest international webcast June 21, 2007 (www.lpac.com) in which he discusses the urgency of impeaching Dick Cheney and Cheney's links to the scandal of the century, the multi-billion-dollar BAE affair, and the revival of the joint U.S.-Russian proposal for the Bering Strait tunnel.

On my affliation with LaRouche, why rely on a Greenpeace quote from the 1990s? Yes, I am now, and have been since the 1960s, affiliated with Lyndon LaRouche. Did he found 21st Century Science & Technology? No. Is he associated with it, yes.

In general, this blog seems to consist of a bunch of DDT-obsessed flagellants.

My point on the DDT ban is simple. It is one example of an environmentalist campaign whose effect has been to kill people. It is also the case that the effects of the outlook and policies of the right-wing free-trade organizations, including some who support the use of DDT, kill people.

As I stated in my original post, the policy of killing people is deliberate. Read Bertrand Russell, or read the founders of the environmental movement, such as Prince Philip, on the question of population control.

A Great Projects approach to develop the world, using science as a driver, and using nuclear energy---which is my policy and that of LaRouche---can uplift living standards around the world, and bring people out of conditions of misery and disease. If you are interested in the specifics of this approach, there is plenty of material you can find on the 21st Century website and on the LaRouche website mentioned above.

I would be prepared to pay more attention to this Hecht woman if:
1) she didn't play fast and loose with figures
2) she didnt think that the BAE shenanigans was the scandal of the century. I mean the BAE affair is perfectly normal here in the UK. We like this kind of behaviour so much that I can't think of any prosecutions that have taken place in the past decade or two. Well, there have been a couple, but the accused walked free for various reasons.

"Your multiplication is off: 2 children die per minute times 60 minutes times 24 hours times 365 days = 1,051,200. Yes, more than 1 million people die per year of malaria, and the majority are children."

No, your writing is off - see post #5 in which you claimed a child dies of malaria every second.

Still what with exposing the British royal family's links to drug dealing and planning where you're going to intern the AIDS sufferers once La Rouche gets elected I imagine you people don't have a lot of time for fact-checking.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 03 Jul 2007 #permalink

Marjorie - Your comment

It was a reporter who made up "The Queen of England pushes drugs," for example; LaRouche never said this.

is helpful and much appreciated. His actual words were[1]

Of course, she's pushing drugs. That is, in the sense ... [inaudible] As the head of the gang that is pushing drugs, she knows it's
happening and she isn't stopping it.

which, of course, is very different. But let's not get all bogged down in specifics. What I want to know is this: what is it with LaRouche and this bizarre obsession with England, and specifically with the royal family?

You may not realize it, but you actually sound like a reasonably normal person (if a little intense) until you say something like "... the founders of the environmental movement, such as Prince Philip ..." at which point your audience rolls its collective eyes as if you had donned a tinfoil tiara.

Now, it is true that I have regarded your entire organization as completely looneytunes for the 30-odd years that I have been entertained by you, so you probably don't owe me an answer. But if you are in the mood, please humor me with one. What's the deal with LaRouche and England?

[1]Go to around 3:57 in the video for the money quote.

"On the question of Lyndon LaRouche: Why don't you read something he wrote, instead of taking blips from paid liars and others? "

I remember the follower of Lyn Marcus all too well.

"Your multiplication is off: 2 children die per minute times 60 minutes times 24 hours times 365 days = 1,051,200. Yes, more than 1 million people die per year of malaria, and the majority are children."

Ah, we forgot to allow for the 2 second minute. Darn! Fuzzy math!

Mr. Burns: People, if we meet this week's quota, I'll take you to the most duck-filled pond you ever sat by!
(the old folks begin working faster)
Grampa Simpson: Oh, hot-diggity! That's how they got me to vote for Lyndon LaRouche!
-"The Old Man and the Lisa" (The Simpsons, Season 8, Episode 21)

jre- maybe its admiration of England?

And just to be pedantic, the Queen is the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and NOrthern Ireland (And sundry dependencies and colonies and lumps of rock). England is merely a part of the UK.

guthrie - I stand cheerfully corrected on my sloppy conflation of England with the United Kingdom (may Flanders and Swann forgive me).

Lyndon LaRouche and his followers do indeed regard the British, not just the English, as the root and source of the world's evil. It is precisely this weird fixation that I do not understand. But I think I also do not understand all of your comment, specifically

maybe its admiration of England?

Are you suggesting that LaRouche's beyond-wacked conspiracy theories about the British Royal Family spring from an admiration for the British Isles and their people? Hmmm ... it's a new angle. I'll need to think about it.

I'm thinking more along the lines of "Wow they've got such a great setup, I'm jealous and so will blame them for all the worlds ills to hide the fact I want to be like them".

Good Queen Bess II is not the only recipient of LaRouche's rage. Although he is sort of the original neoconservative, swerving from violence-advocating Trotskyite in the 60s to rightwinger now, he constantly decries the neoconservatives. But that's just the start. Political views may come and go, but paranoia just stays and stays.

"Defenders of LaRouche are urged to explain and defend the following statements... "

Although, I do appreciate the way, like Stephen King, his writing alternately stirs the reader to fear and laughter. (At least, he doesn't call Rachel Carson the biggest mass-murderer of the twentieth century. It was Bertrand Russel.):
"The Coming Pearl Harbor Effect
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
August 30, 1997
Part I: The grounds for hope
The following keynote speech was delivered to the International Caucus of Labor Committees-Schiller Institute-sponsored conference in Reston, Virginia, on Aug. 30-31, 1997. ...
The force behind the druglords in Colombia, is the British Queen; and, you'll hear about that tomorrow.
Before the end of this century [the twentieth century], every major part of the present international financial and monetary system will be gone, including the entire International Monetary Fund system, and the present form of the Federal Reserve System here in the United States. They are doomed. They are gone.
this civilization globally is doomed to what we see developing in Africa, what is going on in the disintegration of Colombia, under the patronage of the British drug queen, Queen Elizabeth II, and her local drug-pusher, Samper Pizano.
...The most efficient mass-murderer of the Twentieth Century was a mass murderer called Bertrand Russell, who in 1923, '22-'23, after returning from educating the leadership of the Communist Party in Shanghai, proposed that unless the black, brown, and yellow races begin to sharply reduce their population, that the British and their friends must reduce these populations "by methods which are disgusting but necessary."
Now, of course, that is presently visible as the fight between the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, and the leader of the fascist death squads, whose name is Greenspan, who is the head of the Federal Reserve System, and a spokesman for the New York bankers, who are the local cannibals of our country.
...I was born in the 1920s. A few of you know what the 1920s were. We were pure sinful people then. We came out of World War I, and Woodrow Wilson, the guy who refounded the Ku Klux Klan and built up its membership to about 4.2 million members, with the aid of Hollywood. Goldwyn and Mayer of Hollywood, for example, produced and distributed a film. It was called "The Clansman," otherwise known as "The Birth of a Nation."
And this film, which was praised from the White House by Woodrow Wilson, who himself was a great admirer of the Ku Klux Klan, the first Klan; he had the second incarnation of the Klan launched from the White House, with this film. And this great, benign, beneficent President, this "great Democrat," as soon as World War I came to an end, shut down the U.S. economy, with the help of his owners. And from there into 1922, we went into one terrible Depression.
Because like the great Ku Klux Klanner, Woodrow Wilson, before him, Truman, who was a completely controlled asset of Winston Churchill, threw the United States into an unnecessary depression, which lasted from 1946 through 1948. We didn't begin to get out of the depression until somebody decided to have a war.
There had been much talk about "preventive nuclear war" against the Soviet Union since Bertrand Russell had first proposed it, that great peacenik, in 1946, the September issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which was edited, by the way, by a stooge of his, called Leo Szilard. And these stooges still run a good deal of the U.S. science community today.
Now, Prince Philip, with his Nazi bedfellow, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (who resigned from the Nazi SS with a letter to Hitler signed "Heil Hitler," on the day he married the Dutch princess). And, Prince Philip himself, through his family connections, was trained by people who had trained Nazis, and was trained to behave and think like a Nazi. So you had these two Nazis, who started the World Wildlife Fund in 1961, and they set this stuff into motion.
You can either abandon the policies which you have supported, such as liberal economics, such as a lunacy called ecologism, post-industrial thinking, Third Wave thinking; all of this nonsense, which has destroyed us, because you've consented to it. And therefore, the political process did it, because you consented to it. You accepted it as "mainstream thinking."
Then you had a fake oil price crisis in 1973-74, organized personally by Henry Kissinger, a British agent, who does all these good things. So we had a sudden surge in the price of petroleum. And we had plenty of petroleum. The Shah of Iran had the sea covered with ships, with Iranian oil, trying to sell it in the United States, and none of the Americans would buy it. So, there was no oil shortage. The London-controlled petroleum-marketing center, had orchestrated a worldwide price hoax.
Then came Carter, and Carter was a disaster. He was a moron, and a disaster. He didn't even run the Presidency. Only when he had an ulcer, or something. He was a creature, not just of David Rockefeller. He was a creature, entirely, from top to bottom, of the New York Council on Foreign Relations.
And, when Paul Volcker was in England, campaigning up and down England, to be nominated as Federal Reserve chairman of the United States--why would he go to England, to get nominated for a position in the U.S.?--anyway, he said he is in favor of controlled disintegration of the economy, as an acceptable policy.
When he got into office in October of 1979, he immediately put it into effect, and the economy collapsed. We never came back since.
Now, what is there about a human being that makes a monkey an ecologist, and makes a human being an economist? Because that's the difference. The difference between man and monkey, is the difference between ecology and economy. A monkey--the apes--have a generally, approximately, fixed relative population potential, that is, relative to the development of the conditions under which they're operating.
Now, if man were an ape, as Prince Philip claims to be--maybe that's why Queen Elizabeth's children didn't turn out so good, eh? Monkeying around with the family tree. All right.
But if man were a great ape--Now, look at man, look at him physically. Now, go down to the zoo, and look at Prince Philip--I mean, the great apes.
...Now, man looks like a great ape, especially if he's Prince Philip, who claims to look like a great ape, and who gets that kind of expression on his face when he hears my name.
End of Part I

Marjorie #11:

_Your multiplication is off_

In your original post you claimed that one child died every second of malaria. We were correcting this figure.

_Source for Mr Sweeney's ruling: 40 CFR 164.32_

Thanks Marjory; I think I've tracked down this source on the web (linked below). These look to me like generic rules of practice governing EPA hearings: paragraph 32 relates to the consolidation of separate proceedings into a single judgement.

Please excuse my ignorance, but how does this relate to Mr Sweeney's ruling?

_The full EPA hearing record (9,000 or so pages) should be in the EPA archives._

I'm more interested in Mr Sweeney's judgement than in the full hearing record, and I'd rather rely on the judgement itself than contemporary press reports.

Do you know if the text of the judgement is available on-line? And have you read the judgement yourself, or are you relying on second hand reports to interpret his findings?


I have the ruling by judge Sweeney in my hands. It is not online anywhere that I know of... I may post it on line soon. You can find it at the EPA. It is the "Consolidated DDT Hearing. Hearing Examiners Recommended Findings, Conclusions, and Orders(40 CFR 164.32)" published April 25th 1972. Its 98 pages and is his report of the 9312 pages of expert scientific tetimony that lasted over 7 months. He actaully said it was the best hearing he had ever had the pleasure of presiding over.

By D Rutledge (not verified) on 05 Jul 2007 #permalink

Thanks D Routledge - I'd like to see that on-line if you ever get around to scanning it.

I guess the "Consolidated DDT hearing" title explains the reference to 40 CFR 164.32 - i.e. that the hearing consolidated two or more proceedings. Can you tell me what was consolidated into what?

By the way, I also assume that [3 Billion and Counting](http://3billionandcounting.com/index2.php) is your project. Tim L [mentioned this](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/04/any_advance_on_3_billion.php) last year, quoting: "190 people *die* per minute due to the direct and indirect ban of DDT and other pesticides" (emphasis mine).

I see the site now says: "190 people per minute are *either dying or suffering directly or indirectly* from the USA ban of DDT and other pesticides"

Did you change this quote on the site, or did Tim misquote you?

JRE: good archive querying skills.

Dr Rutledge, can you please help me to understand the scale of the problem - what does the 3 billion figure refer to, and how is it derived?

The words are very weasel like. It says that Dr. so and so has estimated that 190 people per minute die from malaria and starts the clock.

The CDC says

# Each year 350-500 million cases of malaria occur worldwide, and over one million people die, most of them young children in sub-Saharan Africa.

# In areas of Africa with high malaria transmission, an estimated 990,000 people died of malaria in 1995 - over 2700 deaths per day, or 2 deaths per minute.

So most of the deaths are in Africa, and the number of deaths/minute is about 2/190 or about 1% of what Dr. so and so says.

Dr. so and so can take it and stick it.

Munin, (this should answer others posts as well)
I am glad to be able to post her openly as i felt that this board previously was censored and I am no fan of censorship unless it is hateful or porn...
The 9312 page hearing document was consolidated to the hearing examiners report of 98 pages.
Yes, 3 billion is my site. The original quote was accurate according to Dr So and So as others here call him based upon his statement at a censored press conference. I did change the quote on the site (it is no secret) upon good open dialogue with someone (mfuck was his handle) on our message board that felt the death rates were not as high as 190 per minute. So I changed to reflect what I know is a true statement. Dr So and So was talking about ALL deaths due to vector born dz not just Malaria... Eli Rabett. (it has never said those deaths were due to malaria only, check your archives)
No one really knows the TRUE numbers. The annual infections rates quoted in Nature 2004 at 515 000 000 are estimates only. It probably is much higher. If you ever go to Africa you will see in the clinics that they see 300-500 people a day and around 70% of those are diagnosed with malaria. Many just die out in the bush never accounted for...
3 Billion got its title primarily from the WHOs estimate that it would take 3 billion + dollars annually to just control malaria, not eradicate it as we did. Also, National Geographic quoted a source that I used as well that it is thought that 1/2 the people that have ever lived have died of Malaria. There is NO WAY to substantiate this as there is no way to substantiate the TRUE death and infection rates of malaria or other vector born dzs.

By D Rutledge (not verified) on 07 Jul 2007 #permalink

Dr Rutledge, I'm afraid I'm a bit confused by your answer.

You imply that 3 billion does not represent a death toll, but the full title of your film is "3 Billion and Counting, the Death Toll is Mounting". In light of the title, I think most people would interpret that figure as a death toll.

You also have a clock on the site, counting up from 3 billion at a rate of approximately 160 per minute. If your film got its title largely from the WHO's estimated costs for malaria control, what does the clock refer to? Do the costs increase at $160/minute?

Directly above the 3 billion counter on your site is this quote: "The late Dr. J. Gordon Edwards estimated that 190 people per minute are either dying or suffering directly or indirectly from the USA ban of DDT and other pesticides."

You say that you changed this quote "to reflect what I know is a true statement." However you then go on to say, "No one really knows the TRUE numbers ... there is no way to substantiate the TRUE death and infection rates of malaria or other vector born dzs."

If no-one knows the true numbers, how do you know that this is a true statement? And why do you give this specific claim such prominence - why not use statistics from the CDC or the WHO?


I will do my best here depsite being censored by this site (I am not sure this will post).
3 billion and counting doesn't represent a death toll by itself. It represents many things, two of which I listed above. We came to this title based on many numbers and the clock reffers to all these aspects... The others it was based on are: deaths, infections, those suffering as well as approx 3 billion + people living in malaria risk zones. The death toll IS mounting, as well as our tax dollar toll... I do not know how much money is being improperly spent but could very well be $160/min or more... There are death quotes for every 10 seconds, every 12 seconds, every 15 seconds, and every 30 seconds death rates. I tend to go with 12-15 seconds. At that rate it would be 90 mill or so max deaths and that would be assuming that DDT and/or other pesticides would have prevented ALL those deaths which is EXTREMELY unlikedly. How do you know when something is true? By reading it, or knowing it? I am not being obtuse. I traveled through africa and malaria afllicts more that aids by far. My point is that the CDC and WHO numbers are grossly underestimated in my opinion and do not relfect accurate numbers. I have interview many doctors and scientists in Africa that concur.

Dr Rutledge, "3 billion and counting doesn't represent a death toll by itself. It represents many things ..."

Given the importance of the subject, I think it's vital to send out a clear message. Unfortunately, the title of your film is misleading. The clear implication of "3 Billion and Counting, the Death Toll is Mounting" is that 3 billion is a death toll. Not everyone reading the title will take the effort to research it's meaning.


I see your point and it is not my intent to mislead. However, IN THE FILM it will be clear and never stated that this represents deaths only... that is if 3 bill indeed ends up being the title of the film...

D Rut

Their sole intention IS to mislead, and $3 bill should be the title of the video.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 21 Dec 2007 #permalink