DDT a problem of 30-50 years ago?

Doug Yanega dyanega at pop.ucr.edu
Fri Aug 4 12:19:12 EDT 2000

Pat Foley wrote:

>    But the main reason DDT is an environmental problem is its effects on bird
>reproduction. Does Paul Cherubini wish to argue that bird populations are
>unaffected by DDT exposure?

Actually, he just posted evidence roughly to that effect, regarding the
original DeWitt study on quail. This leaves those among us who are anti-DDT
to come up with equal or superior citations (presumably with an opposite
conclusion) if we are to persist in defense of our position. I, for one,
will freely admit that I have never in my career actually seen any
peer-reviewed literature on DDT effects, so what opinions I have are
effectively based solely on decades-old hearsay and popular opinion. I'm
sure I'm not alone in this, and I'm willing to reconsider, based on what
evidence there actually may be (some of Paul's citations are compelling,
others are not). Of course, there is the additional complication, if some
of the citations he gives are to be believed, that there was a conspiracy
to keep pro-DDT studies from being published. In other words, an objective
conclusion about the danger of DDT may be impossible to obtain here,
because we may have one of those ugly situations - which we must honestly
admit *do* happen - where science and politics are too intertwined to
separate one from the other. That makes it unlikely that either side is
going to be able to present convincing enough evidence to "win" the debate
(so I'm not even sure it will do us any good to prolong this, but...).
        Accordingly, I'd politely request that further contributions to
this thread, if any, restrict themselves to presentation and discussion of
evidence from the primary literature, if at all possible. All else is
hand-waving, on BOTH sides. Hopefully we can get past the catcalling phase
quickly and move on.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
phone: (909) 787-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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