Friday, November 21, 2014

Repealing the Ban on DDT is Bigger Than Bed Bugs!

By Rich Kozlovich

On November 20, 2014 Samantha Craggs of CBC News posted an article titled, DDT repeal would do nothing to combat bedbugs, stating that experts say 'DDT is going to have zero effect. All it’s going to do is a lot of damage'.

She goes on to state that; “Local bed bug and environmental experts say DDT would do little to curb the infestation.   DDT or no DDT, there is no magic chemical that will rid Hamilton of its bed bug problem.”  And they’re right!  DDT will not do one thing to alleviate the bed bug problem in this city or any other city in Canada, U.S or any other place in the world where DDT was used for this purpose.  But that’s not the real issue here!  Which is what I intend to explore.

Apparently this article was inspired by the thoughts of a new councillor-elect, Matthew Green, that appeared in an article titled, New councillor wants to look at repealing DDT ban to fight bed bugs, that says he wants the province to take “a closer look” at repealing the 40-year ban on DDT, or other powerful chemicals on a limited basis if they'll help eradicate bed bugs in Hamilton”.  What triggered his concerns?  Well, I think we can reasonably assume there's nothing like a good epidemic to get things started. 

This Canadian city is in the midst of a “bed bug epidemic since 2006, public health officials say, calls to the city have increased about 600 per cent. CityHousing Hamilton will spend $1 million this year alone battling the problem.”  If you read this article will notice there’s an opportunity for their reading public to vote on whether or not the ban on DDT should be lifted in some way asking “Should DDT ban be repealed to fight Hamilton bed bugs?”  In spite of the fact that I absolutely know DDT will not end their bed bug problem I voted yes to lift that ban along with 466 others.  Of that number 238 (50.96%) voted yes, 198 voted no (42.4%) and 31 (6.64%) didn’t know.

The number that really strikes out at me is how many who didn’t know whether or not the ban should be lifted.  Remember - this is in Canada - where anti-pesticide activists have dominated the process with legislation and rank propaganda from the media, and yet over 6% “didn’t know”.  I think that’s an important statistic in viewing the public’s concerns about pesticides and the impact they make in the lives of western societies.  Between those who want ban lifted and those who don’t know that number comes to 57.6% of Canada’s population who aren't moved by the anti-pesticide claims of the environmental movement and their minions in the media and government, at least in a Canadian city that’s been so badly plagued. 

The article goes on to quote local pest control operator Roger Burley, president of Aanteater Pest Control in Hamilton as saying “going back to old pesticides won’t fix it, particularly DDT”.  He further states that “Bed bugs are resistant to DDT and most other pesticides that used to treat it. “DDT is really dangerous, and it’s really not effective against bed bugs anyway,” he said. “I’d love to have a silver bullet that would wipe them right out, but it’s not DDT.” 

The article continues to quote him saying “every chemical that used to kill bed bugs wouldn’t work anymore”, and claims that bed bugs are “immune” to a chemical classification known as organophosphates, which would include Dursban, Diazinon and others.  He continues being quoted saying “Every 10 years, we have to find something new to kill them”, and “they’ve mutated so much. The chemicals we use now are not even related to those chemicals, and we’re actually having some success.”

The only thing Burley said that was correct was that DDT won’t kill bed bugs and we’re having some success - after that he became lost in the green fever swamps.  Resistance isn’t mutation and they are not resistant to organophosphates, and there’s some argument as to whether or not they’ve developed some resistance to carbamates, which are both still used in countries other than the United States.  Those who have studied the efficacy of propoxur (commonly known as Baygon), a carbamate, claim it’s still effective. 

In point of fact those two chemical classifications were what replaced DDT in the 1950’s when bed bugs became resistant to DDT. Organophosphates and carbamates were so effective we didn’t have bed bug problems again for almost 60 years.  The reality is this - carbamates and organophosphates were so effective against bed bugs we were protecting society from this plague without even being aware of it. An insect that plagued humanity all through human history until modern pesticide chemistry was introduced in the 1940’s with DDT.  

Let’s do a little history here.  This plague DID NOT return until the passage of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and the loss of carbamates and organophosphates.  And they were NOT BANNED! 

EPA created a whole new set of regulations based on risk “assumptions” and added testing after 15 years of use.  They managed to side step science in order to create de-facto bans through use of economics and unscientific demands, thereby avoiding all the messy legal problems they would encounter if they actually attempted to ban these chemicals. FQPA created such an economic hardship the primary registrants simply refused to meet their demands and made a business decision to pull their registrations.

But environmentalists understand the real issue here, and it isn’t just about bed bugs.  It's all about lifting the ban on DDT that would be far reaching.  The article goes on to say, “a local environmentalist and chemical scientist say thinking about bringing back powerful and banned chemicals is a bad idea.” 

There is the real issue in a nut shell.  If DDT’s ban is lifted then there will be serious efforts to do what this newly elected official wants to do when he uttered the most frightening words no green activist ever wants to hear: “I need to take a closer look at the science, but there are chemical solutions and I’d like to revisit that”.  

The raw emotion created by Rachel Carson’s fallacious diatribe in her successful "science fiction" book Silent Spring against chemical pesticides is long past, and any honest scientific effort to revisit all these laws and regulations used since 1972 to eliminate these life saving products from the marketplace would devastate their movement.

Of course any article about DDT must include claims that it was banned “because of its impact on wildlife, particularly bird populations”, and that it’s “persistent and it bio-accumulates, and it does some not-so-nice things".  All are either fallacious or misleading.

Bird populations were never so high in North America until the extensive use of DDT, and that includes the Bald Eagle, which increased during the DDT years.  Carson’s claim about how the poor robin was going to disappear was not only wrong she was deliberately lying.   Carson was a science writer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and absolutely had to know that in 1960 there were “12 times more robins, 21 times more cowbirds, 38 times more blackbirds, 131 times more grackles, etc. compared to 1941 numbers The claims about bird shell thinning was a lie based on studies that deliberately eliminated calcium from the test bird’s diets.  Carson had to know all of that and deliberately lied.   

 The bio-accumulation argument was a bust.  The theory is that if a fish eats a large number of crustaceans, the fish will have a higher concentration of DDT than any one crustacean, and the duck that eats many fish, and the hawk that eats many ducks, will have higher and higher concentrations of DDT. To ``prove'' this, propagandists analyzed the DDT levels in hawk brains (where they are highest) and duck fat, which has levels lower than hawk brain but higher than fish muscle. In fact, if one compares the level in muscle from crustacean, fish, duck, and hawk, there is no biomagnification at all. In fact, most of the DDT in fish comes through the gills; most DDT in food passes through the gut and is eliminated.” 

As for the persistence argument: “Dr. Edwards can cite more than 140 articles demonstrating breakdown of DDT. In one experiment, a large amount of DDT was added to sea water in a glass container, which was closed and suspended in the ocean. After 38 days, 92% of the DDT and its metabolites was gone. The persistence myth was based partly on inaccurate measurements by gas-liquid chromatography. Many substances interfere with the analysis, including PCBs in fluorescent light ballasts or in the plastic tubing within the instrument. GLC, for example, ``showed'' five kinds of chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides in soil samples, even though none existed until 30 years after the samples were sealed.

Even if the bioaccumulation argument was valid we have to ask ourselves - where was the predicted devastation? Who were devastated?  What animals were devastated?  Since we’re living longer and healthier lives than any time in human history we must ask where's the predicted devastation?  We know that DDT did not then, and does not now, cause cancer, nor do the other pesticides that took its place.

Scientists – if that’s what you choose to call them – have been going along with this propaganda for decades because it’s profitable, and as the years have gone by I have discovered these people are incapable of ramping up the moral fiber to be the rock in the current.

What must really concern the greenies is the fact these other council members aren’t taking a strong stand against the new guy’s desire to review the science on pesticide bans saying: the notion “needs to be assessed by public health officials, who can separate politics from science and conclude the best practices accordingly.  Another member is “open to forwarding a motion to the province” saying The province needs to understand the severity of this problem, and if we keep hammering away with what we should be doing and what we can try, they might have to take a look at that”.  Even one who is opposed says, “He's not a fan of the DDT option, but he admires Green's commitment to the issue".  He goes further stating “I welcome councillor-elect Green to this very important discussion table.”  "His advocacy is welcomed." 

This is after decades of indoctrination by the activists, the media, academia and bureaucrats.   As for claims about DDT being linked to all sorts of afflictions.  "Linked to" is a weasel word for some professional’s opinion when in reality they don’t have a clue….but they make all the right noises. 

As for my voting on that poll to restore DDT in spite of knowing it will have no direct positive impact on this city’s bed bug population – we need to understand the ban on DDT is foundational to the green movement.  If that’s overturned their foundation of sand will start to crumble and eventually everything they have promoted will be called into question.

That’s a day that’s long overdue!  The green movement's success has been humanities nightmare.  The socialist and green monsters of the 20th century have left human devastation in their wake. 

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