Sunday, June 6, 2010

We Are the World’s Healthiest Chemophobes

By Rich Kozlovich

There is a report published a few years ago called Making Sense of Chemical Stories,  which attempts to point out some very basic concepts that most people are not grasping about chemicals.  We need to see things clearly and not through a telescope of activism which makes it impossible to see the whole picture.  We live in a world where pollution has become “the cause” for celebrities of every ilk. Movies, television and sports notables will come out and take a position on subjects of which they know little or nothing about. We have been inundated by so many articles and television shows regarding chemicals that we in the developed world (which owes so much to chemicals) have become chemophobic.

Malaria in the developed world is thought of as being impossible. Why? DDT largely eliminated it in developed countries! Our economy, which supports a life style that most would not be willing to give up, came about as a result of an innovative chemical industry. Our ability to feed ourselves, and huge portions of the rest of the world, is a direct result of that research. Research that resulted in the Green Revolution, for which Norman Borlaug was largely responsible, literally saved millions of lives with extensive use of high yield varieties of crops, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Chemistry!

During my young years it was not uncommon for mothers to take their dry foods such as pasta, rice and beans and dump them into a boiling pot of water and wait with a strainer to filter out the dead bugs that would float to the top. We would be outraged now if that happened. The chemical industry provided the answers for that. Pesticides were developed that gave us not only abundant foods, but mostly pest free foods.

Why then do we strive to be kept away from “that stuff”? Why do we have the attitude that all manufactured chemicals must be avoided at any cost? The universe (that includes us by the way) is made up of chemicals. I see advertisements that claim something is chemical free. If it is chemical free it doesn’t exist. We can’t survive without them because we are them. In fact Americans live longer, healthier lives than Americans have ever lived as a result of our chemical rich society and environment.

I have great cartoon in my computer that shows two cavemen sitting in a cave and one of them says, “Something is just not right. Our air is clean, our water is pure, we get plenty of exercise, everything we eat is organic and free range, and yet nobody lives past 30.”

In 1840 when everything was “natural” the average life span was approximately 40. Today, when everything that is important in our lives was created by manufactured chemicals the average life span is about 80. What part of that is so hard to grasp? We live longer as a direct result of those chemicals and it is obvious that these chemicals, when properly used, are not damaging the environment or us, no matter what the activists say, the BP oil spill notwithstanding.

A cup of coffee contains 11 chemicals that are considered carcinogenic. You will be exposed to more carcinogens in that one cup of coffee than all the carcinogenic potential of all of the pesticide residue on all of the food you will eat in one year.

City councils all over the country have taken up the cause of banning potentially harmful substances that have already been tested, regulated and approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency. We have to ask; why they have decided to take up this task? Is it because they spent three hundred million on research and came to a different conclusion than did the EPA? Is it because these city councils are filled with toxicologists and chemists who looked at the original research and decided that the scientists who performed the research were lackeys of the chemical companies and their work should be dismissed? Or is it perhaps a case of merely taking the word of anti-chemical activists who may have even less scientific acumen and less qualified to determine the worth of these products than these local politicians. Then again, they may even number themselves among them. Try and picture a society that would elect all of their officials from the Sierra Club or PETA.

A city council in California wanted to ban dihydrogen monoxide because it burns human tissue in its gaseous state and prolonged use in its solid state could cause severe tissue damage. What is dihydrogen monoxide? Water! Were they embarrassed when they found out what it actually was? Probably not, after all, their intentions were good. I would rather their actions were correct.

The EPA is spending a fortune to promote IPM and Green Pest Control. The School Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) has been introduced and re-introduced in Congress. Why? Because they “know” so many things that simply aren’t true and they have the power and money to promote these untruths. Name one thing you know for sure about IPM. You can’t. It is indefinable and Green Pest Control is even worse. Everyone has his own ideas about IPM. Such foolishness is seen for what is worth in the third world where children are dying because of a lack of pesticides.  Is it our desire to become one with the third world? The actions of anti-pesticide activists indicate that is exactly what they want, and EPA is part and parcel of this outcome.

When we read labels at the grocery store it gives the impression we are being poisoned because we clearly don’t understand the chemical terms. Whether chemicals are naturally occurring or manufactured they have been given names and reading those names do not give most of us any clue as to whether they are safe or not. In short, we don’t know what is good or what is bad. DDT has saved more lives than any chemical naturally occurring or otherwise in human history, and yet we hear how terrible it is. And I will state this again. Everything everyone “knows” about DDT is a lie. Those who actually read books about the “research” done by Rachel Carson realize that she was not a great scientist. She was a great writer, but it turned out to be science fiction.

(I would like to recommend reading Klaus and Bolander’s 1972 issue of “Ecological Sanity” and Roberts and Tren’s “The Excellent Powder, DDT’s Political and Scientific History”, which just came out. )

If we actually look at the facts we will find that most of what comes from the greenies is a lie. Not necessarily lies of commission, which they are guilty of, but mostly lies of omission. The end result is the same. For them to satisfy their egos and enact their entire slate of feel good policies people must die. Why? Because their policies kill people! We have the evidence of science and the truth of history, which proves it beyond any shadow of a doubt. The “conventional wisdom” of the activists was nothing more than the “philosophical flavor of the day”, and has not become traditional wisdom. Wisdom becomes traditional when it stands the test of time. 

Greenie wisdom has not stood against the march of time or the uncovering of the facts, that is why they have to move from one "crisis" to another.  Something must always be on a back burner for them to exploit because it soon becomes obvious that the latest one is a lie, such as anthropogenic climate change AKA Global Warming.   No matter how many times a lie is told (even if everyone believes the lie) it will never become the truth! As Benjamin Franklin said, “truth will very patiently wait for us”. What is of concern is how much damage will be done until we find it. The world has suffered upwards of 90 million deaths from malaria and upwards of 13 billion unnecessary cases as a result of banning DDT in 1972. How much patience can the world afford while truth waits for us?

Recently there appeared a CNN special report called “Toxic America” which falsely claimed “that trace levels of environmental chemicals are causing myriad disease in America, from cancer to diabetes and more. Dr. Elizabeth Whelan from the American Council on Science and Health stated “It was worse than I could have imagine. “ She went on to say that “The most shocking part of it was that they recruited people from certain towns who thought that they were harmed by chemicals, and brought them all together to talk about how dangerous these substances are.” ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross agreed with Whelan saying that, “Their segment about so-called ‘toxic towns’ was bizarrely unscientific. When a physician bills himself as an expert and gathers people in a room who believe they were sickened by chemicals, taking a show of hands to see who believes they were harmed, there’s no scientific basis to that whatsoever.”

These "chemical scare” specials from the media are a no win situation for real scientists unless the entire scientific community stands up and condemns them. The emotional drama of parents who have lost children to cancer, and who believer trace chemical elements are reasonable for their death, will be so emotionally overwhelming to any viewing audience that no matter how accurately you present the actual science and no matter how logical your arguments are; emotions will triumph over actual science every time. And our corrupt media and the green movement knows it.

Everything we are told should bear some resemblance to reality. At the end of WWII the world’s population was approximately 2 billion people. Currently we have about 6.7 billion. It took thousands of years to get to 2 billion and yet in less than 75 years we have soared to 6.7 billion and we live in a chemical rich society. When tested, our bodies will show over 2 hundred different chemicals produced by the chemical companies…and we live longer healthier lives than ever in human history. Somewhere there is a serious disconnect between what we see going on in reality and what we are being told. Is it possible that what we are being told is merely the propaganda of an irrational and misanthropic movement with an agenda? Could be!

This additional link was posted 6/8/2010.  Please read my next post Facts Versus Fears: DDT



Ed Darrell said...

Children die from a lack of medical care, proper diagnosis, early treatment and access to effective medicines.

We can't poison all mosquitoes -- it was tried, and it didn't work. The only solution is to cure malaria in humans. DDT still plays an important but small role in that. DDT, as you know, has never been banned in Africa, and is still cheap and freely available there.

Here's a collection of articles on DDT and malaria you'll find useful.

Rich Kozlovich said...

Dear Mr. Darrell,

Unlike you, I hate to make these issues personal, so I have not attacked you or your blog, which I consider to be filled with nonsense, and have not allowed you to post on my blog because I consider you to be intellectually dishonest.

Unless I am mistaken, you are an expert in researching scientific studies. Yet, you have claimed in the past that you don’t have any idea where those who support DDT find their information, although it is readily available. That, in my opinion is intellectually dishonest.

You talk about the ready availability of DDT in countries that didn’t officially ban the product, yet you must know that the pressure from countries that they do business with was so great that it became a de-facto ban. That, in my opinion is intellectually dishonest.

You have talked in the past about the efficacy of bed nets and even said that those on my side of the issue are opposed to them. That is untrue, and all of those who write supporting DDT have stated so over and over again. They, as well as I, consider bed nets to be an important part of a control program. There is so much literature to show that bed nets by themselves or with less efficacious more expensive pesticides are a failure. You must be aware of that. That, in my opinion is intellectually dishonest.

You imply that we only care about DDT and not about disease control through better medication. No one from my side of this issue has said that. We happily applaud those who are working diligently on efficacious medication. Efficacious, inexpensive readily available medications are disparately needed. The problem with that approach is availability and expense and in the meanwhile the suffering continues. You must know that. That, in my opinion is intellectually dishonest.

While you finally admit that DDT is part of a control program you still continue to dismiss the very real importance of it even though literature outlines exactly how important it really is. That, in my opinion is intellectually dishonest.

You talk about the total elimination of mosquitoes as if we are advocating that. As you have said; that didn’t work. But we are not advocating that! We are advocating indoor residential spraying. The impact of spraying DDT indoors is dramatic and you must be aware of that. That, in my opinion is intellectually dishonest.

You are a master in the effective use of logical fallacies, non-sequiturs, and asides; and to such a degree that you must have taken a logic course. I can’t imagine anyone who could do it better and it seems clear that this is done deliberately. That, in my opinion is intellectually dishonest.

You make incredulous claims about DDT that I find difficult to understand. I have yet to find any literature that shows how DDT eliminated “whole eco-systems”, but even if that were true; we are only advocating indoor residential use. Even if your statement was true, it is a logical fallacy. You have to know that. That, in my opinion is intellectually dishonest.

You have gone on about the problem with DDT and birds and claim that you can’t find any studies that validate the things I have said. These studies are rampart. You are an expert on this. If you can’t find them it is because you don’t wish to find them, or worse yet, you choose to ignore them or imply they do not exist. That, in my opinion is intellectually dishonest.

I too wish that Rachel Carson were alive to sue everyone. When someone sues someone else everyone has to be deposed. This is a discovery she would not have fared well in. She would have had to publicly acknowledge her inadequacy as a “scientist”. You are an expert in studies and yet you defend her in spite of the fact that her work has been discredited by many scientific studies….and don’t ask for me to provide them for you….you are an expert at finding these things and yet you ignore them. That, in my opinion is intellectually dishonest.

Rich Kozlovich said...

Mr. Darrell,

I have permitted your post including the link to your blog. I will allow you one more post to defend yourself. After that, please don’t waste my time! I recommend that you review my rules for posting on the main page.

Ed Darrell said...

I have made factual statements here. I regret, and cannot in any way control, your taking those facts personally.

If you want to discuss, come on over to my blog. I'll not censor your posts in any fashion. Truth wins in a fair fight, Franklin said, and I believe he was 100% correct.

I regret you find the facts "filled with nonsense." But then, you did not address and of the points I made in my post substantively. U.S. EPA has no authority to ban chemicals in Africa. EPA's ban on cotton spraying in the U.S. specifically left alone the ability of U.S. manufacturers to make DDT for export to Africa, which they did with abandon for at least a dozen years. If Africans did not use DDT, I doubt that it would be as your allegations require, that people like Idi Amin refused to use DDT because he put a lot of stock into Rachel Carson, or he thought he should go farther than the EPA, or that he was any friend of the environment in any way.

DDT remains a deadly poison, and malaria remains a serious problem -- though death rates today are half what they were when DDT spraying was at its peak in Africa.

I believe we have a choice: We can fight malaria, or we can rail against environmentalists. I wish you would join us in fighting malaria.

Rich Kozlovich said...

Dr. Jay Lehr has given me permission to post this under his name. RK

There is little doubt that DDT is the most important chemical ever manufactured by mankind. From the time it was developed in the 1940s till it was all but outlawed in the early 1970s it had brought reduced malaria around the world by an amazing 90%. I worked in Sri Lanka when Malaria was killing 250,000 annually. When I went back in 1971 the death toll was below 100.

All the arguments against it such as bird thinning and carcinogenesis have been totally disproven. Bird counts in all species during its use went up dramatically because it killed vermin that killed birds. The shell thinning stories were caged experiments where birds were deprived of calcium in their diets.

Since DDT was taken out of wide use over the past 30 years there have been about 2 million deaths a year from malaria. It is clear that those who continue to speak against the use of DDT to save lives do so as they see the withdrawal of DDT as a population control mechanism. It is the ultimate in human cruelty.

Jay Lehr, Ph.D.
Science Director
The Heartland Institute

Rich Kozlovich said...

I am increasingly astonished by the blind, ignorant biases of self-anointed anti-chemical spokes-people.

Everything on earth is chemical. The fact that humans have learned to make/manage chemicals is of irrefutable benefit.

Want to remove the pesticide chlorine from drinking water? Better invest in coffins, first. Or, do you still believe Rachel Carson's largely made-up factual fairy tale that destroyed use of DDT? Then I have a bridge to sell you.

Chemicals - our lives depend on them. Don't be mindlessly fooled.

Dave Dietz

Mr. Dietz has a law degree from Willamette University and was the Executive Director of Oregonians for Food & Shelter (OFS) from its inception in 1980 until 1987. RK