Paul Sheehan spreads DDT hoax

Paul "Magic Water" Sheehan offers a "counter perspective" to Monckton's big lie that environmentalists killed 40 million people by banning DDT:

The claim that millions have lost their lives as a result of the withdrawal of DDT is hotly contested among scientists. Speculation over the number of deaths caused by the withdrawal of DDT ranges from thousands to tens of millions.

Yes, his counter perspective is just a smaller lie. Anyone interested in the truth can easily discover that the anti-malarial use of DDT has never been banned, and that by slowing the evolution of resistance, the ban on the agricultural use of DDT has saved lives.

Update: Dorothy Parker has written a thorough dissection of the rest of Sheehan's nonsense.

Update 2: Jarrah Job is also appalled by Sheehan's piece.

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I've never read such a confused piece of journalism on climate change as this piece (or two pieces) by Paul Sheehan, and I've read a lot of confused journalism on climate change. And it's a dreadful piece of editing as well (splitting the arguments and counter-arguments into separate articles, few of which on either side have much to do with anything). Goodness knows what the Herald thinks it's doing. Perhaps it's trying to compete with the Australian's "war on science". Pass the magic water!

By Andrew Murphie (not verified) on 31 Jan 2010 #permalink


Do you think Sheehan's magic water might help Susan Solomon with her water vapour problem?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 31 Jan 2010 #permalink

It's clear that Sheehan has been drinking the 'magic water'. As if we need another series of poorly characterised, clumsily laid out talking points.

"anti-malarial use of DDT has never been banned,"
Is that so?
"UPDATED: 16:43, May 08, 2006
Tanzania lifts ban on DDT so as to fight malaria

The Tanzanian government has lifted the more-than-one-decade-old ban on insecticide DDT in a bid to boost the country's fight against malaria, local press reported on Monday.

English newspaper The Citizen quoted Tanzanian Health Minister David Mwakyusa as saying over the weekend that the move was aimed at strengthening the efforts to fight malaria.

Malaria surged back in the wake of the introduction in 1992 of a total ban on the use of DDT in Tanzania, according to local available statistics. "

Critics of the so-called magic water seem to be blissfully unaware of the fact that the water is high in magnesium. Magnesium is especially useful for diabetics and sufferers of fibromyalgia.

So why don't they just take magnesium supplements instead of magic water?

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 31 Jan 2010 #permalink

God bless the pope.

"So why don't they just take magnesium supplements instead of magic water?"

They, and that includes me, do now, but at the time the benefits of magnesium were not fully appreciated. My point is that Tim and the rest of you healthy people are happy to condemn a product that has health benefits, simply on the basis that it was promoted at the time by a right-wing crank. I support the smearing of cranks like Sheehan, but by linking him to this product unfairly smears the product.

So you have two choices:
1/ Take note of the medical literature, eg:

Hypomagnesemia and hypermagnesemia Clinical Nephrology, 7:147-153 (1977)
Mildred S. Seelig, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.N.
Goldwater Memorial Hospital
New York University Medical Center
New York, New York

..and get yourself pharmaceutically-controlled doses of magnesium in supplement form.

2/ Get enthused by "Magic Water" which has undergone no clinical testing, proposes no rationale for its effectiveness, and contains uncontrolled doses of unknown chemicals and is promoted by a vet with a fabricated CV who left for overseas following the mysterious poisoning death of his wife.

Your choice.

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 31 Jan 2010 #permalink

"... contains uncontrolled doses of unknown chemicals..."

I was under the impression that it contained magnesium bicarbonate and nothing else. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

BTW, I fully endorse your first option of using pharmacologically controlled doses of magnesium. One of the problems of Unique Water is the bioavailability of the magnesium. Magnesium has to be bound to an amino acid for proper absorption.

I have no idea how much of what it contains and I would assume the same goes for the snake-oil salesman peddling it.

That's why you should go with supplements, not dodgy magic water.

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 31 Jan 2010 #permalink

@Hans Erren
@P. Lewis

So it appears that Tim and the article he links to are correct - there has been a ban on agricultural use of DDT but not a wholesale ban on its use for malarial control: i.e. it has been used in houses, nets etc. Agricultural use is a different matter and an important distinct to make.

Further to cpb #13, the Stockholm Convention (mentioned in Han Errens link as blacklisting DDT) is [very clear on the status of DDT](…).

DDT continues to be the most produced and used POP of the twelve substances listed in the Stockholm Convention. The Conference of the Parties (COP) continues to allow the use of DDT for use in public health for disease vector control as recommended by and under the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO recommends the use of DDT for indoor residue spraying only to control, in particular, the anopheles mosquito that carries the malaria parasite.

Currently, there are fourteen Parties to the Convention on the DDT register that have notified the secretariat of the production or use of DDT or the intention to use DDT for disease vector control.

There has been a long-term plan to phase out its usage as an insecticide, with 2020 the target for elimination of DDT use.

Silkworm. You have fybromyalgia? My mother suffers from the condition, and seems unsure of treatment options. You're saying that magnesium bound to an amino acid is a treatment? What product should I look for, other than the 'magic water' being discussed?

The relevant quote from P Lewis' link:

>He said that the use of DDT is only in malaria epidemic prone districts of Tanzania (25) and that the country banned its use in agriculture in 1991 due to several factors one being its environmental effects.

By Tim Lambert (not verified) on 31 Jan 2010 #permalink

In defense of Paul Sheehan, scientists are REALLY, REALLY MEAN.

So if you have a chance to say something unpleasant about some, I am not sure there's any reason to care whether you're "using" what they call "facts" or "not."

The electron water I sell is all melted Ice Nine.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 01 Feb 2010 #permalink

Alex, there are many magnesium supplements on the market. I get mine from my local doctor, who happens to be clued in on nutritional matters. I suggest you shop around for a knowledgeable doctor or naturopath. However, magnesium alone is not enough. Your mother probably has a GI fungal infection (Candida) underlying her illness. She may need to take lots of probiotics, she may need to change her diet and she may also need to detox. There are a few antifungals that can be taken (coconut oil, garlic oil, oregano oil, pau d'arco, etc.) that inhibit Candida, but they must be rotated as Candida will actually develop resistance to each antifungal if taken for more than 7 days. The most effective detoxer I've found is chlorine dioxide, a very powerful oxidant and alkalinizer of the GI tract. I prepare it myself by combining sodium hypochlorite and lemon juice. You'll need to do a lot of research on all these things.

The other major component to treating FM is working at the mitochondrial level. There are many elements and compounds that are helpful - magnesium, selenium, Co Q10, B vitamins, vitamin C, amino acids. Amino acids make great antioxidants. My research on the mitochondria has only just begun. Today I got some acetyl-l-carnitine, which has had excellent reports for restoring energy to FM sufferers. I have my fingers crossed. Ask me next week how it goes.

BTW, the original claim about magnesium bicarbonate was that it was the best way to deliver bicarbonate to the mitochondria, but sodium bicarbonate has also been said to be beneficial. That's another area of mitochondrial research that could yield useful results.

Tim, thanks again for the link the Prospect article. A truly fascinating read, and an excellent summary. I was shocked to find Steve Milloy's name - of all people - mentioned in there. I had always dismissed him as a particularly deluded far-right crank, but man! A few more puzzle pieces have certainly clicked into place.