DDT a problem of 30-50 years ago?

Mark Walker MWalker at gensym.com
Sat Aug 5 14:09:44 EDT 2000

Doug wrote:

> 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...).

The following is based entirely on opinion, so no references are offered -
hand waving extraordinaire.

This is, of course, easy for _us_ to ponder - growing up through the sixties
and seventies.  But don't you think that the pressure may have shifted the
other way now - that reports supporting the negative effects of pesticides
(particularly DDT) would tend to have more of an artificial political
advantage?  One could certainly argue that, even though there is an ongoing
economical interest behind refuting Ms. Carson's conclusions, such reports
would now likely be viewed with great skepticism.  Further, I can't imagine
too many graduate students being interested in proving that the
environmental impact of commercial pesticides has been overstated or

BTW, my whole worldview was, especially with regards to ecology and
conservation, inexplicably and indelibly affected by the aftermath of Silent
Spring.  To this day, I retain the images of the rivers of death and sickly
Peregrine Falcon chicks.  So profound was the effect that I seriously doubt
whether any amount of evidence could ever sway me to believe differently.

Mark Walker.

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