And wouldn’t this just be shitty?

A dispute has broken out in Brazil over whether the Zika virus is responsible for a rise in cases of microcephaly after a report by Argentinian doctors claimed a larvicide used in drinking water was instead to blame.

Brazilian health officials were on Monday forced to address claims that the larvicide pyriproxyfen, which is used to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito, could be associated with a surge in babies born with the condition after one state said it was suspending use of the chemical.

A report last week by Argentinian group Physicians in Crop-Sprayed Towns suggested pyriproxyfen might be causing the deformity, which impairs foetal brain development.

No idea whether it’s true or not. But wouldn’t it just be appallingly shitty if it were?

The organisation said the substance had been introduced into drinking water supplies since 2014 in affected areas of Brazil.
“In the area where most sick persons live, a chemical larvicide producing malformations in mosquitoes has been applied for 18 months, and that this poison (pyroproxifen) is applied by the State on drinking water used by the affected population,” the report said.

Why in buggery are they putting it into drinking water in the first place?

36 thoughts on “And wouldn’t this just be shitty?”

  1. Perhaps because mosquitoes breed in pools of still water, aka drinking water reservoirs ?

    The insecticide works by mimicking certain hormones of the mosquito, disrupting molting. Humans wouldn’t have the same hormones.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Why in buggery are they putting it into drinking water in the first place?

    Because that is where mosquitoes breed? Standing water.

    It hardly matters as the Usual Suspects are only interested in this as a means to push abortion on everyone. They are likely to be all too successful. Just as they used the Seveso disaster to bully Italian women into abortions.

  3. Plausible; but there have been Zika-related cases of micro-encephalopathy in other regions of Brazil which don’t adulter the water.

  4. It would also explain the sudden outbreak of micro-encephalopathy in Brazil though, especially given the fact that other regions have similar conditions for the problem, but don’t have the outbreak.

    So the next question is when did they start contaminating the water with pyriproxyfen? Because if it correlates with the outbreak then it would be interesting, otherwise it is just another possible.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    Andrew M – “Plausible; but there have been Zika-related cases of micro-encephalopathy in other regions of Brazil which don’t adulter the water.”

    How would they know if those cases are related to anything?

    The only thing I would take a Brazilian seriously for talking about is Samba.

  6. I’ve read that they’ve got a lot of Zika in Colombia, but no extra microcephaly. Something hasn’t sounded right to me about the link from the start. They seem to have very quickly concluded there’s a link on a really small sample size.

  7. All the evidence v Zika and microcephaly seems to be epidemiological: a “science” where separating correlation and causation is problematic. That a few of the affected infants had the infection may be a reflection of local infections rates rather than the cause. Ditto pyroproxifen. Causation needs to be demonstrated.

  8. This does pass the smell test. I’m inclined to agree with Sean that something hasn’t seemed quite right about this from the start.

  9. Might be some pressure group which doesn’t like the action against Mosquitos is jumping on this bandwagon. It is very easy to create a health scare to suit your agenda; even easier to hop on the back of a passing one.

    Then again, they may be right. But if they aren’t, Brazil still has Zika AND additional deaths from whatever the mozzies bring.

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    bloke in spain – “Including these Brazilians, SmfS?”

    You’re pulling my leg right? You’re taking the p!ss, no? Come on. You can’t be serious.

    There are only two people of any note whatsoever on that list. Alberto Santos-Dumont who is most famous for being insanely brave rather than a particularly great scientist. And Gilberto Freyre who ought to be more famous for arguing that slavery in Brazil was kind of really very nice and not like that nasty slavery Up North in America.

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    Matthew L – “They’ve found Zika virus in the brain tissue of microencephalic babies.”

    Assuming they could find their own backsides with both hands – and that is not guaranteed – why would that matter? Some people get Zika. Some of them will smoke. Some of them will be Mormons. Some of them will cheat on their wives. And no doubt some of them will have small heads.

    Causation is something else altogether. They would need to do a large study and consistently find Zika.

  12. This is actually one of the questions epidemiologists will be quite good at answering, and probably very quickly. If it distracts them from whether or not broccoli causes or cures cancer in the mean time, so much the better.

  13. It’s likely to be bollocks, afaik there’s no supporting evidence and it all looks like an attempt to drag Monsanto (who are evil incarnate) into the affair.

    Levels of the chemical in the water are orders of magnitude below levels WHO worry about and there’s no evidence from studies of this sort of effect on people. Which isn’t to say it’s impossible, but really…

    Also, the origins of the rumours are the same as those from two or three weeks ago when it was the genetically engineered mossies what done it.

    That was bollocks.

    Mark Lynas has written about it at his blog.

  14. This lie just won’t die. One more time: there is no ban on the use of DDT for disease vector control.

    That’s not quite what Gamecock said, though. The claims which brought about the agricultural ban of DDT – and the suggestions it caused cancer – has meant the chemical is so controversial that governments and other organisations ran a mile from it, even if they were intending to use it for disease control. Even nowadays its use is controversial, as this article says:

    Like Nigeria’s Minister of Health stated, the WHO in 2006, reversed a longstanding policy against DDT by recommending that it be used as an indoor pesticide in regions where malaria is a major problem. As of 2008, only 12 countries used DDT, including India and some Southern African states, as well as Namibia. With the African governments’ adoption of the chemical on Tuesday in Abuja, the number is expected to rise.

    So although there was no legislative ban, it was not being used due to the negative publicity that surrounds it. And:

    At the moment, the African continent is largely dependent on donor agencies for most of her programmes, including malaria control. As a result of this, there are fears that the decision to use DDT may witness some challenges.
    It has been alleged that donor governments and agencies shy from funding DDT spraying, or make aid contingent upon not using DDT.
    According to a report in the British Medical Journal, use of DDT in Mozambique “was stopped several decades ago, because 80 percent of the country’s health budget came from donor funds, and donors refused to allow the use of DDT.”
    Before now, many countries had been under pressure from international health and environment agencies to give up DDT or face losing aid grants. Belize and Bolivia admitted to have given in to pressure on this issue from United States Agency for International Development, USAID.

    Which suggests development funds were dependent on the non-use of DDT.

    Under the circumstances, Gamecock’s view that the use of DDT was prohibited has merits regardless of whether it was not officially banned.

  15. I assume that pyriproxyfen is currently the least toxic option that still provides reasonable results or else whatever works better would be used.

    Continuing with the assumption that there isn’t a better product what are the options for mosquito control?

    Covering all of the affected reservoirs most likely isn’t an option due to high cost and the time needed to do the work.

    Wouldn’t the best option be to distribute bottled water to pregnant women while the epidemiologists determine if there is an actual link?

  16. “The insecticide works by mimicking certain hormones of the mosquito, disrupting molting. Humans wouldn’t have the same hormones.”

    Those hormones are substances interfering with development.
    You’d be surprised how many short-lived, once-in-a-lifetime substances are produced during development of a large multicellular organism, and how often those substances are extremely similar in form and function as you get down to the “basic layout”.

    Insect molting is controlled in the brain, in a part that becomes our cerebrum. It messes with the development of that part of the development of the brain.
    The layout for that bit happens so early in embryonic development that from a developmental point of view there *is* no difference between a human, a rat, a fish, or for that matter a mosquito. And the “hormones” and processes involved still share the same pathway and can interfere across species.

    I’m not surprised. Those substances are quite notorious for fucking things up. Or is the Softenon debacle so easily forgotten?
    Never forget your jawbone and earbones are modified gills….

  17. Never forget your jawbone and earbones are modified gills….

    That does rather explain why I get water lodged in my ears when I go swimming. Damn things think they’re trying to help me breathe.

  18. Grikath:
    “Insect molting is controlled in the brain, in a part that becomes our cerebrum. It messes with the development of that part of the development of the brain.
    The layout for that bit happens so early in embryonic development that from a developmental point of view there *is* no difference between a human, a rat, a fish, or for that matter a mosquito. And the “hormones” and processes involved still share the same pathway and can interfere across species.”

    The experts seem to disagree

    “Pyriproxyfen is an insect growth regulator with a mechanism of action that is highly specific to insects. Pyriproxyfen is used on a wide variety of crops and is recommended by the WHO for addition to drinking water storage vessels to prevent the spread of deadly diseases such as malaria.” – Professor Andrew Batholomaeus consultant toxicologist from the School of Pharmacy, University of Canberra

    “Pyriproxyfen is a widely used chemical in agriculture and in the pet industry and has been around for a while. It is a growth inhibitor of insect larvae. There is no direct evidence that it is associated with human birth defects – insect development is quite different to human development and involves different hormones, developmental pathways and sets of genes, so it cannot be assumed that chemicals affecting insect development also influence mammalian development” – Professor Ary Hoffmann, Department of Genetics & Department of Zoology

    https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/expert-reaction-is-a-pesticide,-not-zika-virus,-causing-microcephaly

  19. So Much For Subtlety

    diogenes – “Mind you, I do admire SMFS’s crusade to show that nothing worthwhile ever happened outside western Europe.”

    I would love it if it were not true. But it is. Take a look at BiS’s list. Bearing in mind that Brazil is about the same size as the US and has a similar population. How would you compare their scientific output to, say, Belgium’s?

    The fact is there and it is not going to go away. The question ought to be why is it so.

  20. So Much For Subtlety

    diogenes – “just explain gunpowder, paper, the magnetic compass and moveable type and you might have a hypothesis.”

    I haven’t argued that others cannot, I have pointed out that they aren’t. That the Chinese managed to invent four really good things 1200, 1900, 2200 and 1000 years ago is nice for them. It really is. But it is also kind of pathetic. That they have so little to be proud of is kind of sad.

    But still, if Chinese people are allowed to be proud of, and we should be grateful for, gunpowder, the compass, paper and moveable type, doesn’t it follow that White people are allowed to be proud of, and the rest of the world should be grateful for, pretty much everything else? Should we insist that the Chinese respect us as much for the steam engine as we are supposed to respect them for paper? Maybe even more!,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *