Letter: DDT ban has deadly consequences

Kudos to Wayne Michaelchuck (Gibbstown, NJ) for this terrific letter-to-the-editor of the Gloucester County Times.

In response to “Bald eagles make a comeback in New Jersey” and its erroneous crediting of the DDT ban for the rebound in eagle populations, Mr. Michaelchuck wrote:

To the Editor:

The Dec. 25 article on the local comeback of the bald eagle population continues to reinforce the “myth” that DDT caused all egg-shell thinning in birds of prey.

This is being propagated not only in biology classes, but in advanced placement environmental science classes throughout this country, despite some scientific evidence to the contrary.
The core environmental movement has become politicized by anti-progress and anti-capitalist statists. Liberals write and choose the textbooks.

Egg-shell thinning predates the use of DDT (an insecticide that was banned in the United States in 1972). There are many other causes, such as Newcastles’s disease, high nocturnal temperatures, and bird diets low in calcium and vitamin D. The Audubon Society was reporting eggshell thinning the 1890s.

In some experiments to prove the harmful effects of DDT, birds were fed 6,000 to 20,000 times than found in their natural environment. No increases in egg shell thinning or toxic effects were found.

What is not being taught in our government schools is the fact that DDT has been responsible for saving millions of lives. When blankets were treated with DDT in World War II, not one soldier died of typhus fever. More soldiers in World War I died from typhus fever than from enemy bullets.

Claims that DDT is carcinogenic were refuted in experiments where volunteers were fed 35 milligrams of DDT for periods of 21 and 27 months with no ill effects then, or for 30 years since. Malaria was almost eradicated in Sri Lanka. In 1948, there were 2.8 million cases. DDT dropped that number to 17 in 1963. Today there are more than 2.5 million.

Six years after the United States banned DDT, there were 800 million cases of malaria worldwide and 8.2 million deaths a year. Despite mountains of evidence against environmental claims, William Ruckleshaus, then the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, banned DDT. Years later, Ruckelshaus admitted that decisions by the government involving use of toxic substances are political.

Decisions based on “junk science” can have deadly consequences, as in the case of DDT. DDT is only one example of the dangers of ignoring scientific evidence to advance a political agenda. Almost every environmental claim, from ozone depletion to claims that man is causing global warming, can be refuted.

Anyone can come up with a “the sky is falling” theory,” but that theory has to be supported by evidence. As a high school chemistry teacher, I witnessed first hand the indoctrination of our students by mostly liberal teachers. I always included many lessons on the dangers of environmental extremism and adherence to the scientific method. In science, only evidence matters.

Wayne L. Michaelchuck

Great job, Wayne!

4 thoughts on “Letter: DDT ban has deadly consequences”

  1. It saddens me to say that Rachel Carson is responsible for more deaths in the 20th century then Hitler was.

  2. The road to ruin all started with the publication of one book titled “Silent Spring” written by Rachel Carson. I was a young college student when this tripe was put on the market and must admit I was sucked into the milstream of dangers posted by chemicals. After working with agricultural chemicals it became apparent all was not as pictured by Ms Carson. The picture painted with a broad brush makes every chemical known to man a toxic chemical; even to the point that CO2 is now toxic. Makes one wonder what they teach in basic biology regarding photosynthesis these days.

  3. Wayne,
    Wonderful response.
    The Hunterdon County Democrat published that same article on?12/21/11?. Would you mind sending your letter onto them? Published at Flemington, NJ.

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