[LEPS-L:7890] Re: [SoWestLep] Mexico expands monarch butterfly habitat

Paul Cherubini cherubini at mindspring.com
Thu Nov 16 07:00:44 EST 2000

Patrick Foley wrote:

> It is simply not true that ecologists are fudging their data, lying
> about their conclusions or intentionally misleading the public. Certainly,
> ecologists are biased and fallible. Rarely are they the malicious 
> liars that Paul Chrubini suggests. If you get your science from
> Rush Limbaugh and junkscience.com you get a distorted view of 
> science.

Pat, I posted parts of Dr. Michael Gochfeld's mosquito spraying article 
to the entomol-list. The response below is from Cam Lay, a mosquito
control expert at Clemson University:

"The presentation of the Prof. Gochfeld, however, is deliberately
obfuscatory and alarmist.  He includes information on malathion, which is
not the product under consideration here, and makes comparisons between
occupational exposure (with the weasel-words "can" and "if not protected"),
misrepresents the central thesis of "Silent Spring" (bioaccumulation of
persistent organochlorines, not the loss of big pretty insects with a high
Bambi-factor) and drags out the old "Aieee!  Nerve gas!" argument.  Ten to
fifteen drops of resmethrin is simply not comparable to 10 to 15 drops of
Sarin, and for someone with Prof. Gochfeld's qualifications to suggest that
it is indicates a willingness to misrepresent information normally not seen
outside of the Creationist literature..

Gochfeld also misunderstands or chooses to ignore the relationship between
mosquito control and politics (for lack of a better word).  In short, of
course the mosquito control efforts are focused on suburban areas - that's
where the people who are at risk are.  We may not like the "squeaky wheel"
aspects of the political process, we may have proof beyond all doubt that
it would be more effective to treat the uninhabited swamp 10 miles from
town where all the mosquitoes are coming from, but until the constituents
of those who make such decisions are convinced of that, and convey that
conviction to their elected representatives, we should all expect things to
continue as they are.  Mosquito control will be focused in areas where
people live, and the public's concerns about pesticide risks versus
mosquito risks will fluctuate nicely with the seasonal abundance of
mosquitoes and how recently someone got sick.

Perhaps someone with a better memory or more contemporaneous information
can recall whether pyrethroids affect acetylcholinesterase?  I thought it
was more of an interfering-with-ion-transport-across-membranes mechanism,
but it's been years and years since I took a toxicology course.

And please, no name-calling or invitations to step out into the parking
lot.  It's only Wednesday, and once a week is more than enough."



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