Member since Feb 12, 2011

Legislative aide, education and environmental policy official, airline real estate manager, cell tower builder, business consultant, turned high school social studies teacher.



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Recent Comments

Re: “American Theater hosts 3 Billion and Counting

Coyotes are not endangered at all. They've expanded their range from 20 states to 49 states. Coyotes are common, and they threaten a few other species -- but they are not endangered.

Yes, Taylor claims a lack of DDT boosted malaria rates. But the truth is that malaria rates, malaria infections, and malaria deaths have all declined with the reduction in DDT use.

You confuse a cartoon view of environmentalist with real views.

There is value in preserving species, especially those that are threatened. Once a species is gone, it's gone for good. But if there is a species with very high populations, clearly there is less that needs to be done to preserve it. If a population is high, AND it threatens another species, it's usually a pretty easy trade-off to make.

DDT made recovery of several bird species impossible -- bald eagles, osprey, brown pelicans and peregrine falcons among the most famous. While other barriers to their recovery had been removed, DDT made their successful breeding impossible. No one argued that DDT threatened all species (why would you defend such a substance? You're not being consistently thoughtful here).

Coyotes were never threatened by DDT. Chemicals, most notoriously Compound 1080 (Warfarin), was spread indiscriminately to get rid of coyotes that were thought to be preying on livestock, and that proved to be a major issue. DDT was not and is not a serious issue there.

So, I gather you think coyotes, which are in many places little more than predatory cockroaches, deserve protection? You think DDT played some role in killing coyotes?

I'm sorry, but that's just too far out for me.

Taylor is saying that more DDT would be good. He's assuming that DDT was reduced because of regulation, and that the reduction harmed the fight against malaria.

But none of those assumptions proves accurate. DDT was reduced because mosquitoes became resistant and immune to it. That was in 1965, years before DDT was seriously regulated anywhere. It would be pointless, costly and wasteful to spray poisons that don't fight the disease, so malaria fighters stopped using DDT unless they knew the local populations of mosquitoes were suscetible. (DDT has never gone out of use to fight malaria, by the way -- another error Taylor assumes.)

DDT regulation prohibits DDT use on crops, but allows DDT use to fight malaria, contrary to Taylor's assumptions. Malaria has been on the decline since 1960, with great strides made in the past decade to reduce malaria to half the deaths malaria caused in the 1970s, and a quarter of the deaths malaria caused at the peak of DDT use, in 1959 and 1960.

There is no indication that more DDT would be good anywhere. Where DDT doesn't work, more would be useless. Where DDT does work, there is plenty of DDT to be had to use, carefully -- more would risk abuse. DDT regulations now allow any nation to use DDT to fight malaria with just a notice to the World Health Organization.

In the last decade, it's become clear that other methods of preventing mosquito bites work better than spraying with DDT -- bednets, for example -- and that the secret to reducing malaria remains in quickly diagnosing, treating and curing the disease in humans so that there is no well of infection from which the mosquitoes can get infected (mosquitoes must get the disease from a human, and gestate the parasite for a couple of weeks before they can spread it).

DDT just isn't a big player in that equation.

Taylor has unfairly and inaccurately indicted the very scientists who do the work to protect animals from eradication, and especially unfairly and inaccurately attacked scientists who fight malaria. There is no evil cabal of humans who spread malaria. The disease is quite effective at doing that on its own with the assistance of mosquitoes and bad quality medical care.

None of the studies you cite as "scare studies" are that. If you check the medical literature, you'll find plenty of concern about how best to fight malaria. In the publications from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, WHO, Nature and Science and others, you'll note that no serious malaria fighter decries a lack of DDT, nor do any call for any change in DDT regulations. The Persistent Organic Pollutants Treaty of 2001 condemns DDT for the damage it does, but leaves DDT available as an option to fight malaria, where other pesticides are not more effective.

What more do we need? We need someone who will tell the truth about malaria. We can't poison Africa to make it malaria free. We have to cure humans, treat more of them, and work hard to prevent the actual bites of mosquitoes that are infected, and prevent the infection of more mosquitoes.

You know, once the human pool of malaria is dry, mosquitoes can't catch the disease, and can't spread it. Here in the U.S. we have millions of malaria-carrier-capable mosquitoes, of several different species. But they don't have humans with malaria to catch the disease from, and so their bites are annoyances, and little more.

Focusing on killing the mosquito rather misses the point that the disease is a human disease. The mosquitoes will always come back. If we cure humans of the disease, the disease will go away anyway.

Posted by edarrell on April 4, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Re: “American Theater hosts 3 Billion and Counting

Yes, pest animals are often killed. No one has blamed those deaths on DDT, however. I cannot imagine what your point is.

It would be interesting to know why the one eagle was killed, but almost without exception, none of the other animals you mention is endangered, nor threatened.

So what is your point? You think we shouldn't sent hunters out to get a coyote that is preying on sheep?

What does that have to do with DDT, and with Dr. Taylor's false claims that the ban on spraying DDT on cotton in the U.S. led to malaria in Africa?

Posted by edarrell on March 17, 2011 at 11:46 PM

Re: “American Theater hosts 3 Billion and Counting

You know, I've been patiently answering all the questions from Dr. Taylor's public relations team. Oddly, they've not answered any of my questions.

Is this because the facts really are so one-sided, against DDT? A rational person might conclude that.

Posted by edarrell on March 5, 2011 at 5:59 AM

Re: “American Theater hosts 3 Billion and Counting

You might want to check out this 2008 "Carnival of Fighting Malaria," mostly about DDT:

Here's a story from last November on the threat decades-old DDT poses to California condors, today:

Posted by edarrell on March 5, 2011 at 5:57 AM

Re: “American Theater hosts 3 Billion and Counting

Here's a note on the Austin, Texas fish kill:

Posted by edarrell on March 5, 2011 at 5:51 AM

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