Day of Reckoning for DDT Foes?
Thursday, September 21, 2006
By Steven Milloy
Last week’s announcement that the World Health Organization lifted its nearly 30-year ban on the insecticide DDT is perhaps the most promising development in global public health since… well, 1943 when DDT was first used to combat insect-borne diseases like typhus and malaria.
Overlooked in all the hoopla over the announcement, however, is the terrible toll in human lives (tens of millions dead — mostly pregnant women and children under the age of 5), illness (billions sickened) and poverty (more than $1 trillion dollars in lost GDP in sub-Saharan Africa alone) caused by the tragic, decades-long ban.
Much of this human catastrophe was preventable, so why did it happen? Who is responsible? Should the individuals and activist groups who caused the DDT ban be held accountable in some way?
Rachel Carson kicked-off DDT hysteria with her pseudo-scientific 1962 book, “Silent Spring.” Carson materially misrepresented DDT science in order to advance her anti-pesticide agenda. Today she is hailed as having launched the global environmental movement. A Pennsylvania state office building, Maryland elementary school, Pittsburgh bridge and a Maryland state park are named for her. The Smithsonian Institution commemorates her work against DDT. She was even honored with a 1981 U.S. postage stamp. Next year will be the 100th anniversary of her birth. Many celebrations are being planned.
It’s quite a tribute for someone who was so dead wrong. At the very least, her name should be removed from public property and there should be no government-sponsored honors of Carson.
The Audubon Society was a leader in the attack on DDT, including falsely accusing DDT defenders (who subsequently won a libel suit) of lying. Not wanting to jeopardize its non-profit tax status, the Audubon Society formed the Environmental Defense Fund (now simply known as Environmental Defense) in 1967 to spearhead its anti-DDT efforts. Today the National Audubon Society takes in more than $100 million per year and has assets worth more than $200 million. Environmental Defense takes in more than $65 million per year with a net worth exceeding $73 million.
In a February 25, 1971, media release, the president of the Sierra Club stated that his organization wanted “a ban, not just a curb” on DDT, “even in the tropical countries where DDT has kept malaria under control." Today the Sierra Club rakes in more than $90 million per year and has more than $50 million in assets.
Business are often held liable and forced to pay monetary damages for defective products and false statements. Why shouldn’t the National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense, Sierra Club and other anti-DDT activist groups be held liable for the harm caused by their recklessly defective activism?
I have previously blogged about thetragedy of the DDTban. Steven Milroy makes a good case for reckless endangerment homicide aginst those involved in the deaths of millions of Africans. unfortunately none of of these self righteous hypocrites will be made to answer for their air headed opposition to DDT. They knew they would allow Malaria to flourish ( read the statement of the Sierra Club) yet they didn't care.There was no science , just fear mongering. Perhaps the OAU could do something useful and sue these "environmental organizations" for the billions of dollars and millions of lives they helped destroy. Unfortunately they just continue on their merry way. Now they have jumped on the global warming bandwagon. I wonder how many lives they will destroy this time.We already see the fiberals in this country recklessly spent billions of dollars with dubious results on Kyoto, I am sure like minded governments elsewhere have also wasted tremendous amounts of cash in the same way. Unlike the fiberals , I hope they didn't just steal the money.