Sunday, October 09, 2005


For the sake of completion and humility I am going to keep this post up, but I've decided I don't hold the opinion below all that tightly. I'm also willing to accept that I might be wrong and that Jim (read the comment below) is more likely to be more informed.

Flakey? Moi? Yup.

Go to the Wikipedia entry on DDT. When you get there read the section on the environmental effects of the pesticide. In particular, read the piece on the effects on humans. Surprising, huh? Then go and read the section on the effect that DDT has on malaria.

So DDT might kill a few fish, but think about the number of human lives it would save.


Anonymous said...

Hello Richard... Its Jim here (as in from hammer and Tongue)

I hope you have better sources than a wikipedia entry before you start advocating the widespread reintroduction of a nasty persistant organichlorine that appears to attack the nervous system and cause reproductive problems..

As i'm sure you know a wikipedia entry is written by whoever is most persistant in erasing what they don't like and putting what they do like.. in this case a caolition of rightwing industry PR groups closely allied with agrochecmical companies seem to have rewritten the story on DDT

apart from the fact that there is a long standing PR campaign to try to reinstate DDT on very shaky humanitarian grounds the big giveaway is in the references.. I don't work on pesticides but i do know about the front groups that the biotech industry uses and i recognise almost all of the names for the references in this wikipedia entry:

1) the first reference is to a fake front group called 'africa fighting malaria' which is made up of Competitive Enterprise Institute - Washington, DC
European Science and Environment Forum - Cambridge, UK
Liberty Institute - Delhi, India
Center for Dissemination of Economic Knowledge (CEDICE) - Caracas, Venezuela

each one of those is a far right libertarian thinktank sponsored by transnational companies (including agrichem - eg monsanto pays both CEI and Liberty institute i think) - that work togetehr through the International policy network to aggressively fight against all aspects of environmental and social justice policy that impinges on their free market ideological vision (you know laws, regulations, environmental and health protection - all that stuff that big business would rather n ot have to deal with)

2) The second reference is by Ronald bailey of Reason magazine - a well known free market libertarian in one of the main magazines of rigfht wing libertarian thought

3) the Third is Roger Bate in spiked online - again one of UK's leading anti-environmentalists and now fellow of the american enterprise institute- has written a lot of anti-organic, pro pesticide stuff (eg the book 'fearing food" as well as climate change denial book - Spiked online is the latest incarnation of LM crowd whose anti environmental television series 'Against nature' was hugely criticized for lies, distortion and inaccuracies)

4 - 8 - i can't check because they are either no longer online or are password protected journals.

9 - is an article by leading anti-environmental PR flack Steve Milloy - known as 'the junkman' for his fake 'junkscience' website - check out for tonnes of info about this industry-paid PR shock jock

10 - Robert Riseborough may be a respectable scientist - i don't know anything about him - but he's not commenting on human health questions but on wildlife impacts.

11 - Donald Roberts - a military affiliated scientist who collaborates closely with the American Enterprise Institute

12 - Roger Bate - again - in a cato policy brief (Cato are anotehr free market libertarian group)

you can read about a lot of these folks at, spinwatch, PRwatch and other places that monitor the nastier edges of the PR industry and corporate propaganda strategies...

.. which is exactly what this wikipedia entry seems to have been used for...

still feeling righteously indignant??

jim x

richard said...

yep, was thinking about removing this post as my righteous indignation was a bit mis-placed.

Will edit it accordingly.

Are you back in Oxford yet or still in Canada?