DDT, the poison pushers favorite. 19 March 2001
E M T O'Nan,
volunteer director
Protect All Children's Environment

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I have a one-word refutation to Steinberg's recent Public Relations spin or Poison Pushing for the chemical industry in his March 17 letter. The word is "REBOUND" and Rachel Carson was far from the only famous scientist to recognize this issue. Dr. Robert Van Den Bosch wrote extensively on the adverse effects of DDT as well as the corporate efforts to push this poison in his well-known 1978 book, "The Pesticide Conspiracy". After killing off beneficial insects and birds, stronger resistant strains of mosquitoes have a greater advantage because other more effective alternative methods have been abandoned for the quick fix of ineffective DDT. At this point the mosquitoes and disease REBOUND worse than ever. DDT... it simply does not work and it is dangerous.

More recently in 1994, toxicologist, Janette Sherman's book, "Chemical Exposure and Disease" speaks of the health effects of DDT... "In addition to the endocrine, teratogenic, and carcinogenic effects, an additional effect may be wreaking harm in the population in terms of heart disease and stroke. Elevation in blood lipids is associated with elevated organochlorine residues. While this finding has been noted for over four decades, emphasis has been put on the alteration of a "life style" rather than controlling environmental contaminants."

In the United States under Chapter 40 the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 261, Sections 261.2 and 261.6 hazardous waste is allowed to be "recycled" into pesticides...this makes pesticides, that serve as hazardous waste disposal systems for the very expensive to dispose of wastes from the oil and gas and chemical industries, extremely popular. Do doubt poisons serve the same disposal purpose when manufactured in other countries as well. In the USA, when hazardous waste is "recycled" into pesticides the wastes do not have to be reported on the corporate Toxics Release Inventory, nor are they usually required to be manifested. Remarkably these toxic wastes are often recycled as "inert" ingredients despite often being more toxic than the active ingredient. Dumping their hazwaste into poisons makes it appear the generator of hazardous waste is running a cleaner operation when they are just employing a "recycling" shell game. Given the enormous profits in selling poisons that offer free disposal of liability riddled hazardous waste, why would anyone question the reasoning of those pushing these useless and dangerous chemicals? DDT...perhaps the more toxic the poison the more toxic the waste that can be hidden and dumped? DDT is not a form of vitamin. DDT is not good for our health and is not good for the environment, but it is great for the poison pushers who wish profit, profit, and profit while simultaneously ridding themselves of liability and hazardous waste. DDT as well as most other dangerous pesticides today are in my opinion far more about unrestrained and unregulated hazardous waste disposal than about pest control.

Shame on Steinberg and the chemmie do dah funded American Council on Science and Health. The poorer nations they claim to defend should call this poison pushing "premeditated random homicide" and "chemical warfare" on the lowest level.

I absolutely make no profit from the opinions expressed herein. I do hear from hundreds of people injured and disabled by pesticide poisons.

E.M.T. O'Nan
Protect All Children's Environment, 396 Sugar Cove Road, Marion, North Carolina 28752, USA

Chronic nervous-system effects of DDT 13 April 2001
Hans Kromhout,
University of Utrecht
The Netherlands

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For the latest update on the health effects of DDT read our research letter in The Lancet of 31st March 2001. Maybe we should study the people exposed to DDT before we claim it to be harmless. Claiming that pesticides are safe as long people follow the rules when applying it, seems to be rather naive given the circumstances under which pesticides are being used in developing countries.

Hans Kromhout Environmental and Occupational Health Division Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences Utrecht University The Netherlands

DDT risks are not imagined 1 May 2001
Miquel Porta,
Associate Professor
IMIM, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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The bold statements by Steinberg that the human health and ecologic effects of DDT are "theoretical" and "imagined" are scientifically uninformed and ethically irresponsible. There's a diverse and solid body of scientific evidence indicating that DDT risks are real (1-5 ). It’s hard to believe that Steinberg’s opinions represent a so-called American Council on Science and Health, whatever this organisation defends. Nobody in science or in public policy can operate with such faulty standards. Neglect of scientific evidence can only delay solutions against both malaria and worldwide DDT contamination (1,6). Recognition of risks and uncertainties is a prerequisite for sound risk management, both mid- and long-term.

1 Longnecker MP, Rogan WJ, Lucier G. The human health effects of DDT (dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane) and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and an overview of organochlorines in public health. Annu Rev Public Health 1997; 18: 211-44.

2 Kaiser J. Panel cautiously confirms low-dose effects. Science 2000; 290: 695-7.

3 Kaiser J. Hazards of particles, PCBs focus of Philadelphia meeting. Science 2000; 288: 424-5.

4 van Wendel de Joode B, Wesseling C, Kromhout H, Monge P, García M, Mergler D. Chronic nervous-system effects of long-term occupational exposure to DDT. Lancet 2001; 357: 1014-16.

5 Porta M, Malats N, Jariod M, Grimalt JO, Rifà J, Carrato A, Guarner L, Salas A, Santiago-Silva M, Corominas JM, Andreu M, Real FX. Serum concentrations of organochlorine compounds and K-ras mutations in exocrine pancreatic cancer. Lancet 1999; 354: 2125-29.

6 Schepens PJ, Covaci A, Jorens PG, Hens L, Scharpé S, Larebeke N. Surprising findings following a Belgian food contamination with PCBs and dioxins. Environ Health Perspect 2001; 109 (2): 101-3.

DDT and Polio 3 December 2002
Jim West,
Science Committee, NoSpray Coalition, NYC

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Steinberg's disappointing letter hardly deserves a response, however, the naivete of some readers who may take him serious, make a reply against him necessary.

The presence of DDT, BHC and other persistent pesticides correlate with neurological disease epidemics during the 20th century, though a complex curve.


Apparently, disease investigations are greatly biased against toxicology; witness the usual omission and avoidance of toxicology. Virology stands on relatively weak ground, having created its own standards of proof for causation that would never hold in any other science.

Money influences the theater of medical science and viruses have few dollars to spend on lawyers and laboratories, whereas chemical poisons are defended by the world's largest corporations. Mere association seems sufficient to identify and declare a virus the culprit.

DDT should be banned from the earth as well as many so-called pesticides. The DDT flag, i.e., the malaria paradigm, should stand review and revision with environmental, toxicological factors acknowledged.

Competing interests:   None declared