Sunday, January 14, 2007

In Defense of Rachel Carson

As you may have read about in other blogs, this blog and other bed bug-related sources, DDT has been credited to have killed off bed bugs in the 1950s, short of a few survivors of the species, apparently. It is widely believe that if DDT use was legalized in the United States, we would be able to eradicate the total bed bug population as we had done a half century ago.

I've come in suppport of the repeal of the ban on DDT before, and have read many articles defending DDT and damning Rachel Carson's 1962 book, Silent Spring in which Carson claims that DDT causes cancer in humans and thins the shells of bird eggs. She also stressed this concept of environmental connectedness, which basically states that although a pesticide is designed to kill one organism, its effects are absorbed into the food chain, until it ultimately poisons humans. It appears that Silent Spring jumpstarted the Environmentalism Movement in the U.S., the federal government was pressured to to ban it completely by 1972. To date, I have not found any legitimate research backing up the claims in Carson's book.

Here's an article I found from Melbourne Indymedia in Melbourne, Austrailia defending the DDT ban and even going so far to claim that DDT would have no effect on today's higher evolved species of bed bug. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"If you read the bed bug blogs you will find lots of angry villification of
Rachel Carson, who wrote the book 'Silent Spring', which then led to the banning
of DDT, for the theory is that because DDT was banned, now we have bed bugs, a
theory which makes no sense whatsoever since DDT was banned half a century ago,
and we are only experiencing a plague of bed bugs in the last couple of years.
People are also unaware that bed bugs became resistant to DDT back in the 1940s,
which is one of the reasons why the pest control industry turned away from DDT
and began using alternative chemicals in the last part of the century. DDT is
constantly being promoted as the bed bug panacea, but the truth of the matter is
that bed bugs are amazing creatures showing an ability to adapt to any form of
pesticide, and that includes DDT, which bed bugs long ago defeated in the 1940s,
and which they will defeat again should DDT be brought back onto the market
because now we have bed bugs."


I couldn't help but notice that there is no scientific research to back up the author's claims in this article, which is why DDT should be legalized, if for nothing else, than to conduct legitimate, LEGAL research as to how dangerous DDT could be to humans, animals and plantlife and how effective it would actually be in eradicating bed bugs.

Later.

5 comments:

nobugsonme said...

Thanks for the link to Bedbugger.

I agree-- we need research. We also need to remember that the way DDT was used in the past (wholesale spraying of everything in sight, from people to animals to fields, etc.) was nuts. But to say THAT was bad is not to say the chemical is bad if used judiciously and indoors.

I can't say for sure it is, but I do know the tons of chemicals the average 3-visit bed bug treatment takes is no picnic. I am not convinced DDT, applied once (as they claim it used to be)http:, would be any more dangerous to humans or pets, if used inside.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bugged Out,
I'm a journalism student at Columbia and health reporter for the Bronx Beat, a newspaper that covers the South Bronx. I'm writing a service article on bedbugs - how to know you have them, what to do about them, etc. and I'm looking for some bedbug victims in the S. Bronx who would be willing to talk to me about their experiences. If you happen to know anyone, could you please pass my info along? I can be reached at cmh2133@columbia.edu and my name is Christina. Thanks again and great blog!

Anonymous said...

So what's the alternative? We live with bed bugs? Or, We use other neuro toxin chemicals that take up to 4 exterminations, if we're lucky, some have 4 and that doesn't do the job. And what about reinfestations, I don't know how many treatments are needed for reinfestations., not yet anyways. If DDT is being used successfully now, in African Nations , to combat malaria, then it must mean that not all mosquitos became resistant to it. If I lived in the outback, in a tent , with an outhouse, I might have a different perspective on "quality of life" issues. There has to be some scientific reason why bed bugs have exploded onto the scene. Or maybe someone recognizes the damage they can inflict on American society, with bed bugs. Rachel Carson was dying of cancer, and she was not a happy camper. So she lashed out . It is our duty to protect the environment..but we have evolved into a high-tech, materialistic society. So who wants to be sitting on their leather sofa and know that bugs are breeding in it , just waiting for you to get comfortable while watching your flat screen TV so they can come out and suck your blood....get the picture....we can't deny who we are...Angelina goes around doing a lot of good, but..when push comes to shove, .she stays in 5 star hotels, with lots of servants ...get the picture..we can't escape from what WE have evolved into..we can't pander to bed bugs, .we need a pesticide that will be used responsibly-that will kill them..the monster bugs. You can't go back...you have to go forward...DDT or TDD...something please..that kills them... DDT was used for a long time...successfully ..and the planet is still here....Bugannoyed

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