Tom Fletcher’s job as a columnist is to find the truth in a story and see behind the spin, not to be a mouthpiece for powerful, multi-national chemical corporations like Monsanto/Bayer.
I take issue with everything in his column of Jan. 30 (‘Polluted logic in pesticide bylaws’), but comments about Rachel Carson and DDT are outrageous.
Fletcher admits he has never read her award-winning book Silent Spring, yet attacks her for causing the ban on DDT and blames her for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Africans when spraying was greatly reduced on that continent and banned in the U.S.
If Fletcher had read Silent Spring, he would know that Carson actually said “no responsible person contends that insect-borne diseases should be ignored.”
She was never against chemical pesticides for disease control.
Carson never said nor believed there should be an outright ban on all pesticides.
She did warn in 1962 that pesticides like DDT were being sprayed indiscriminately and excessively.
She believed DDT and other chemicals were used so excessively that “the insect enemy” evolved and became immune and stronger.
This is exactly what happened with DDT and this is what is happening today with pesticides like glyphosate (RoundUp).
As Scientific America has stated: “Thirty-eight years after it was banned, Americans still consume traces of DDT and its metabolites every day, along with more than 20 other banned chemicals. Residues of these legacy contaminants are ubiquitous in U.S. food, particularly dairy products, meat and fish.”
DDT was banned around the world because of insect resistance and the negative impact on wildlife and humans.
Reduced spending on anti-malaria ventures caused the comeback of malaria in 1972.
Today, mortality rates have dropped by 50 per cent, according to the World Health Organization, thanks to new methods of mosquito control.
DDT is still being used in Africa for indoor spraying of homes, along with many other methods of control.