Apr 23, 2010

DDT one of the chief bugaboos...

In her now-famous 1962 book Silent Spring, she argued that DDT, when sprayed on a Michigan campus to halt the spread of Dutch elm disease, would spread far and wide and harm robins' ability to reproduce. 

Carson was no doubt well-intentioned, but it turns out that she was flat out wrong about the effects of DDT. It didn't spread the way she thought it did, and no studies have ever been able to show that environmental exposure to DDT — even in large quantities — harms human health. It is less dangerous to humans than any number of natural chemicals, including some vitamins and medicines that we consume without a second thought. 

And when used in small quantities in malaria control, DDT protects people from deadly mosquitoes. 

The public-health benefits it confers far exceed any of the unproven, theoretical risks.