So DDT really was banned then?

2. 1972 Notorious Toxic Chemical Banned

DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) is a colorless, nearly odorless insecticide that was widely used in the post-war era to increase farm productivity and fight mosquitoes. Although a Nobel Prize was awarded for its discovery, scientists eventually realized that DDT was causing problems in the environment, including thinning the shells of birds. Rachel Carson popularized this research in the 1962 book Silent Spring). After DDT was banned, bald eagles, peregrine falcons and many other endangered bird species returned from the brink of extinction.

Of course, we’re endlessly told that DDT wasn’t banned. But there it is, right in National Geographic, that it was.

Maybe it was only banned if they want a list of victories and not banned when not using it causes problems?

26 thoughts on “So DDT really was banned then?”

  1. “thinning the shells of birds”; do they mean turtles?

    Are we told that DDT was not banned? i have never been told that.

    I personally benefited from DDT. I grew up in a very old farmhouse that was sprayed with DDT about 10 years before my birth. It had previously been subject to cockroach infestation but, possibly due to an ultimatum from my mother prior to moving to the marital home, it was throughly DDTed. All roaches killed, nary a one seen again.

    It’s not just the developing world which would benefit. Where I live now (Hong Kong) could do with a bloody good spraying.

  2. And strangely the timing of the ban is very close in time to the point where incidences of malaria began to rise again in places where it was dying out.

    And just to top it all off, the WHO is once again recommending its use for controlling mosquito’s and other disease vectors.

    Still at least we killed off an estimated additional 300 million brown people. Why is it that everything that comes from the left (and this includes green) always kills people?

  3. Re Jorb

    Absolutely. In historical terms Rachel Carson is the biggest mass murderer of all time… and by some fucking margin.

  4. I used to follow this but thought the panic had subsided. As a formulation had been made (in India?) to spray inside homes which stuck to the walls and did not remain airborne. Malarial mossies land and sniff before dining, so got a full dose right away.
    Still, as Jorb nearly said, having a high infant mortality only encourages the little brown bastards to breed even faster.

  5. Johnny
    +1
    Getting natural selection to select for tougher eggshells, or have 300 million people die? Tough decision, eh?

  6. A few days ago a local channel ran a story about 2 bald eagle chicks. My SO asked why this was even news. After thinking for a moment I realized that at this point in history it isn’t news. 30 years ago it was though and that is the actual story. The DDT ‘ban’ has clearly achieved it’s primary goal.

    As others have noted the secondary effects have not been nearly as good. Since we know bad things will happen if we use DDT or not the obvious next move, until we find a better alternative, is to relax the ban slightly. In places where the cost of the ban, like the mentioned malaria cases, is far higher than the cost to the birds, I have no problems with limited DDT use.

  7. “Are we told that DDT was not banned? i have never been told that.” Then you’ve not been paying attention.

    “There was no DDT ban” is on a par with “there never was a scare about global cooling”.

  8. Declaring success ‘The DDT ‘ban’ has clearly achieved it’s primary goal’ is perverted. It wasn’t killing birds. After the ban, birds still didn’t die from it. The DDT ban accomplished nothing but millions of dead Africans.

    In a related story:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/22/friday-funny-earth-day-hate-mail/

    ‘Are you insane? It is only through MASSIVE efforts and huge expenditures by numerous governments that the Earth Day predictions have been averted. If not for the warnings, sentiments, and efforts of the scientists you denounce, we very well could all bestarving to death right now.’

  9. DDT was banned in the US in 1972. The ‘nation’ in ‘National Geographic’ is the USA.

    It’s been banned worldwide for agricultural use but not for disease vector control. Which is exactly the right policy.

  10. Mosquitoes were evolving DDT resistance too, so it’s not quite as simple as “the ban killed millions”.

  11. “After the ban, birds still didn’t die from it. The DDT ban accomplished nothing but millions of dead Africans.”

    The problem with that is DDT was banned in the US to attempt restoration of raptors. Since the ban raptor populations have recovered. We don’t have the evidence to say the DDT was the definitive cause but we do have a nice correlation to work with.

    For the millions of dead Africans claim, although I believe you are right, there is no proof that DDT would have saved lives over the long term. As Matthew L points out resistance could have become a major problem.

    Similarly we can not claim that the return of falcons to downtown is anything more that a correlation to the corresponding drop in pigeon snipers.

    It may very well be that DDT has nothing to do with raptor egg shell thickness. That doesn’t matter for this discussion. The whole reason for the ban was to help restore raptor populations. Unless you are trying to make the claim that populations aren’t recovering the goal of the ban has been achieved. We could argue over quail eggs but that doesn’t change the real world results.

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    bloke in france – “Getting natural selection to select for tougher eggshells, or have 300 million people die? Tough decision, eh?”

    It is not even that. The variation in egg shell thickness, as well as their extreme thinness, is such that it is next to impossible to make any sensible comments about what DDT may or may not have done.

    Social Justice Warrior – “DDT was banned in the US in 1972. The ‘nation’ in ‘National Geographic’ is the USA.”

    Sure. Africa could produce as much as they like. If only they could produce any at all.

    Matthew L – “Mosquitoes were evolving DDT resistance too, so it’s not quite as simple as “the ban killed millions”.”

    This is the usual cop out – if it hadn’t been banned, it would have ceased to work. Perhaps they would have evolved resistance. Perhaps not. They were not given a chance because the Greenies decided they did not want quite so many Black and Brown babies in the world. Most of the evidence for resistance is behavioural – they were learning to avoid places where it was sprayed. That is, where people live. So it worked all the same.

  13. Perhaps they would have evolved resistance. Perhaps not.

    SMFS is lying as always. DDT resistance in mosquitoes was documented in the 50s. DDT resistance in Anopheles gambiae – the main malaria vector in sub-Saharan Africa – is now widespread.

    The ban on agricultural use of DDT was and is the right policy to preserve its effectiveness for as long as possible.

  14. So Much For Subtlety

    Social Justice Warrior – “SMFS is lying as always.”

    As usual Paul is full of [email protected] Specifically Paul does not and cannot know what I do or do not think and so is in no position to comment on my motivation.

    I do enjoy our little chats Paul. But at some point your irrational hatred becomes a medical problem you should probably see someone about.

    “DDT resistance in mosquitoes was documented in the 50s.”

    Or more accurately, a bunch of reports compiled together shows some mosquito species were behaving in a way that they interpreted as resistant. Documented is a little strong.

    “DDT resistance in Anopheles gambiae – the main malaria vector in sub-Saharan Africa – is now widespread.”

    And yet DDT remains the most effective tool we have. It is almost as if someone has an axe to grind.

    “The ban on agricultural use of DDT was and is the right policy to preserve its effectiveness for as long as possible.”

    You continue to argue against a case no one is making. No one is saying otherwise. What you ignore is that the ban was always also against disease control. Which has killed millions.

  15. Paul does not and cannot know what I do or do not think
    Nor would I wish to know. But every position you adopt is based on falsehood, and sometimes I point that out.

    What you ignore is that the ban was always also against disease control.
    That’s simply untrue. To quote the Stockholm Convention “DDT which can only be used for disease vector control…”

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    Social Justice Warrior – “But every position you adopt is based on falsehood, and sometimes I point that out.”

    And one day you may be right. Let’s hope so.

    “That’s simply untrue. To quote the Stockholm Convention “DDT which can only be used for disease vector control…””

    No it isn’t. You continue to insist on this, and your strawman pretending anyone is demanding its agricultural use, when the evidence is clear to the contrary. They kept a token permission on paper but then they made sure it could not be used. There is no point saying that Africans could use it for disease control if in fact the West bans any of its money being used to pay for it as well as banning DDT production.

    The Greens did not want so many Black and Brown babies born. Some of them were honest enough to say so.

  17. The DDT issue always brings rather more heat than light. An unusually, in this case, SJW is at least half right.

    Because of mass indiscriminate spraying on crops as a general insecticide, DDT resistance was widespread by the early 1960’s, and it made extremely good sense to attempt to limit it to its most valuable use. However of course the pendulum swung rather too far.

    It is also worth noting that in some places DDT and associated mosquito control programs were too successful, in Sri Lanka the incidence of malaria was cut by the early 1960’s to essentially zero, so the entire program was dismantled actually starting prior to the DDT effective bans. Of course over time the mosquitos and the diseases came back but the infrastructure was gone.

    It’s also been subsequently shown that DDT attribution in egg shell thinning is problematic, the studies are equivocal and it is by no means certain that it was an unusual problem or caused by DDT. Subsequent recovery in populations has been based on far more than the bans.

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