Rachel Carson’s Destructive Acts

"Rachel Carson's 'Heedless And Destructive Acts,'" By Henry I. Miller. Environmental activists gathered last month in Washington DC to celebrate the legacy of the late author Rachel Carson, who gained fame for her book, 'Silent Spring.' ... They’d have done better to pick up trash at a local park. The book is still revered by many (especially by those who haven’t actually read it), but its legacy is anything but positive. ... As detailed by Roger Meiners and Andy Morriss in their scholarly yet … [Read more...]

Carson’s Dangerous Anti-Chemical Legacy

"Activists Celebrate Carson’s Dangerous Anti-Chemical Legacy," By Angela Logomasini. Environmental activists are gathering today to celebrate the legacy of the late author and biologist Rachel Carson at an event hosted by the Environmental Energy and Study Institute. Yet this legacy is nothing to celebrate. Carson’s writings included many inflammatory and misleading claims about chemicals, claims that have long been rebuked by scientists. Yet her rhetoric spawned a radical environmental … [Read more...]

Fight Zika with Regulatory Reform

"Trump Could Fight Zika with Regulatory Reform" By Angela Logomasini, Ph.D. President-elect Donald Trump has promised that he will focus on reversing an expanding federal regulatory burden. As part of that agenda, he should address regulatory hurdles that undermine efforts to control dangerous mosquito-transmitted diseases, such as the Zika virus. Quick action on Zika is essential as it spreads in Florida with potential serious health effects. Zika can cause microcephaly, a serious and … [Read more...]

Greens’ Not So Peachy Advice

Led by groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG), environmental activists continue in their crazy crusade to fight pesticide use of any kind, even when it serves important public health benefits. One such benefit involves making produce affordable by warding off pests that reduce yields and make fruits and vegetables more affordable. Since these foods fight off cancer, making them affordable has important public health benefits as people eat more when prices are lower. Yet because some … [Read more...]

No Excuse for Resistence

Anti-DDT activists in the environmental movement often suggest we should stop using this chemical to save people from malaria and other diseases because mosquitoes will eventually develop resistance to the substance. However, a study published in the journal PloS One explains why such arguments make no sense. The study demonstrates that in addition to still being the most affordable product, DDT is likely the most effective over the long term because it repels most mosquitoes—keeping them from … [Read more...]

Bed Bugs Bite

Don’t let the bed bugs bite was always a frightening thought when I was a kid. But today, it’s even scarier since bed bugs are back. The origin of this phrase is grounded in history, going back to a time when tiny bugs would live in wooden bed frames ready to feed on unsuspecting humans as they sleep. Many believed that bed bugs were thing of the past having been brought under control—and essentially eradicated in the U.S.—in part to the pesticide DDT. But now that DDT has been banned for more … [Read more...]

Dangerous Legacy

Cultural myths often stand in the way of human progress—in some cases producing devastating consequences. In fact, today millions of people around the world suffer the painful and often deadly effects of malaria because one person sounded a false alarm. That person is Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 best selling book Silent Spring. Many have praised Carson for raising concerns—some legitimate—about problems associated with the overuse of chemicals. Yet her extreme rhetoric generated a culture … [Read more...]

Getting the Word Out

Good news: Today’s Wall Street Journal highlights the recent study on DDT benefits in repelling mosquitoes and battling resistance issues. Photo by One.org’s photostream of Flickr. Caption: “USAID funded internal residual spraying with DDT to prevent malaria.” … [Read more...]

Misinformation=Dangerous Results

Anti-DDT activists might read this with glee: Misinformation about DDT risks is undermining its use in Kampala, Uganda. A Ugandan news website reports that anti-DDT hype has led some people to block the spraying of their homes with DDT. This is clearly a tragedy as lives hang in the balance. Hopefully, as residents who allowed DDT spraying in their homes reap DDT’s protective benefits, others will follow their lead. … [Read more...]

National Geographic on Malaria

The July issue of National Geographic includes an excellent cover story on malaria. It notes: "Malaria is a confounding disease—often, it seems, contradictory to logic. ... Rachel Carson, the environmental icon, is a villain; her three-letter devil, DDT, is a savior ... In 1962 Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, documenting this abuse and painting so damning a picture that the chemical was eventually outlawed by most of the world for agricultural use. Exceptions were made for malaria … [Read more...]

Sprawl: The New DDT

The Business and Media Institute reports that the greens are trying again to use the nation’s national symbol—the Bald Eagle—to undermine free-markets. The Bald Eagle, which was recently removed from the Endangered Species list, faces another “dire” threat according to reports on NBC’s Nightly news and other news outlets. This time, the alleged culprit is sprawl. “Urban sprawl has become the DDT of our generation,” biologist Bryan D. Watts noted in Richmond Times Dispatch. According to Watts, … [Read more...]

Laura Bush Visits Africa

A story in today's Mail and Guardian, an online African newspaper, highlights Laura Bush's trip to Africa where she is "shining a spotlight on malaria and aids." The story offers great insight into the importance of DDT in the battle against malaria. It notes the "the success of DDT-spraying in countries such as South Africa and Swaziland." In particular: "In South Africa, the number of malaria cases fell by 65% to 3,597 between June last year and March this year, down from 10,418 cases the year … [Read more...]

The Church of Rachel Carson

Post by Eli Lehrer—Competitive Enterprise Institute One hundred years after her birth in May of 1907, it's difficult to underestimate Rachel Carson's influence. Unfortunately, it's all bad. That hasn't stopped her from remaining an academic deity to the campus Left. More... … [Read more...]

Uganda’s President on DDT Critics

In a recent State of the Nation speech, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni laments impediments to life-saving uses of DDT caused by DDT critics: "Having gone through a rigorous systematic approach on the use of DDT for Indoor Residual Spraying as elaborated above, it is not only disturbing but quite insulting to hear some individuals and at times groups claiming to be the champions of protection of the environment going around misleading the public that no scientific studies and preparations … [Read more...]

Simpleton’s Guide to Carson

CEI's Richard Morrison tells the story of DDT and Malaria on YouTube in one of his periodic vodcasts. Check it out:   … [Read more...]

NYT Section on Carson

Today John Tierney takes on the legacy of Rachel Carson in the New York Times Science section. Tierney notes: "For Rachel Carson admirers, it has not been a silent spring. They’ve been celebrating the centennial of her birthday with paeans to her saintliness. A new generation is reading her book in school—and mostly learning the wrong lesson from it. If students are going to read 'Silent Spring' in science classes, I wish it were paired with another work from that same year, 1962, titled … [Read more...]

Green State of Denial

John Tierney's piece on Rachel Carson in yesterday's New York Times is under attack in the comments section of Tierney's blog. The critiques go to show that Carson's supporters are in a state of denial about her legacy. All they can offer is speculation about public health risks and rationalizations about DDT bans. One suggests that DDT is too dangerous to use for malaria control because it is classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer … [Read more...]

Greens Rather Attack the Debate

Environmental activists from Environmental Defense, the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA), and the Silent Spring Institute refuse to debate me (and probably anyone with my view) about Silent Spring’s malaria legacy. I can't blame them. After all, who would want to defend their indefensible position? They refused an invitation for a radio debate/discussion this past weekend. We all were invited for an hour-long interview on Food Chain Radio with host Michael Olsen. The host simply … [Read more...]

Silent Alarmism

National Review Online—Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, the 1962 book that launched the modern environmental movement, was born a century ago this week, and it is no wonder that green activists are celebrating her legacy. She practically invented the environmental alarmist strategy that has been so successful in pushing a radical environmental agenda. More... … [Read more...]

Coburn’s House of Friends: No to Rachel

Post by John Berlau—Competitive Enterprise Institute OpenMarket.org—Coburn isn’t all alone in his crusade to stop Congress from honoring Rachel Carson. He has some good friends in the U.S. House of Representatives. There, in April, 53 representatives voted against naming the post office after Carson. Another 3 voted “present,” which also often signals symbolic opposition to a bill. The good news is that the “nays” included some of the very top members of the House Republican leadership ... It's … [Read more...]

Green’s African Death Toll

d advancing political agendas. More...Paul Driessen—Congress of Racial Equality The New York Post—ACTIVISTS say companies should be honest and accountable, and put people ahead of profits. But unless these common-sense guidelines also apply to nonprofit advocacy groups, corporate social responsibility will remain just another tactic for raising money an … [Read more...]

DDT Opposition Prolongs Malaria

The Post Chronicle—Fiona Kobusingye of the Congress of Racial Equality Uganda knows first hand the ravages of Malaria and of the need for DDT. In a recent commentary she explains: "I just got out of the hospital, after another nasty case of malaria. I've had it dozens of times. I lost my son, two sisters and three nephews to it. Fifty out of 500 children in our local school for orphans died from malaria in 2005 ... Praise Rachel Carson, if you wish—but support DDT spraying, to reduce disease and … [Read more...]

Silent Spring was Wrong

The Washington Examiner—Sunday was the 100th birthday of environmental icon Rachel Carson, and lots of people are proposing all sorts of memorials to honor her legacy. Yet, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., stands largely alone in efforts to stop these measures — a position for which he deserves much credit. More ... … [Read more...]

Rachel Carson’s Legacy

Jeremy Lott and Erin Wildermuth—Competitive Enterprise Institute The Baltimore Sun—Today is the centenary of Rachel Carson's birth, which has been noted by many environmentalists who cherish her legacy. However, what has been little noted amid the celebrations and commemorations is the dark aspect of that legacy: that Ms. Carson's views led to the banning of pesticides at a cost of many thousands of lives worldwide. More ... … [Read more...]

Coburn Right, Rachel Wrong

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) stands largely alone in efforts to stop congressional efforts to honor the environmental movement’s icon the late Rachel Carson, whose 100 birthday comes this Sunday. Coburn rightly recognizes that the conventional wisdom about Carson’s legacy is wrong! Rather than launching a beneficial environmental cause, Carson launched a misinformation campaign that her followers continue without regard for the consequences. … [Read more...]

Time for Greens to Step Up

Millions dead and that’s still not enough for environmental activists to change their color. Last September, Dr Arata Kochi, Director of the World Health Organization’s Global Malaria Program, called on the environmental community to "help save African babies as you are helping to save the environment." Kochi’s plea was part of an announcement that the WHO would seek increased use of the pesticide DDT to fight malaria. Rather than answer his call, green groups continue their crusade against DDT. … [Read more...]

Whither Idol’s Money?

Post by Philip Coticelli—Africa Fighting Malaria The New York Sun—American Idol's "Idol Gives Back" special on April 24 and 25 helped raise over $60 million to fight poverty in America and Africa. As season five comes to a close tomorrow, fans should be asking where their money went and what the impact on poverty will be. Over six million dollars of the total was given to Nothing But Nets, an antimalaria bed net distribution initiative ... These groups have good intentions, but their collective … [Read more...]

WHO Meeting to Address Malaria

This week the World Health Organization continues its annual meeting to address public health priorities for the world body. Ironically, just several days before Rachel Carson's birthday, they will address malaria control and possibly DDT use. At issue is whether the world's public health agency will underscore the position it took in September 2006, supporting increased use of DDT to save millions from the ravages of malaria. Radical environmentalists have been pressing for a reversal, but … [Read more...]

Washington Post on Carson

A story on today's front page of the Washington Post highlights the life of Rachel Carson. While largely praising Carson, the author does note that Carson's contribution to the banning of DDT remains "controversial." While Carson surely would not have wanted this legacy, "controversial" doesn’t begin to describe it. It’s an ongoing colossal tragedy—one that Carson's followers could help reverse if only they would aggressively advocate DDT use for malaria control. After all, while Carson was … [Read more...]

Malaria Forces Resurface

Paul Driessen and Cyril Boynes, Jr—Congress of Racial Equality WHO Public Health and Environment director Dr. Maria Neira …and her co-conspirators are promoting something … irresponsible and deadly. They want to reverse the September 2006 decision to restore DDT to the Organization's malaria-fighting arsenal. More... … [Read more...]

Questioning Carson’s Scientific Rigor

In his blog post today, Ronald Bailey of Reason Online takes issue with a Senate resolution on Rachel Carson offered by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.). According to the resolution, Carson should be honored for her "legacy of scientific rigor coupled with poetic sensibility." Bailey disagrees. More ... … [Read more...]

DDT Deniers Deny Science

DDT-deniers—those who would rather let people die that allow DDT use to fight malaria-carrying mosquitoes—have been critiquing our blog posts on the topic. Last week they attacked us for highlighting recent scientific research that underscores the value of DDT in repelling mosquitoes. Apparently, they won’t even be swayed by scientific data, nor do they want anyone else to be convicted by the truth. But don’t be swayed by their hype. Instead, read the op-ed in today’s New York Times by Dr. … [Read more...]

Malaria & DDT Links

Malaria Related Websites: Africa Fighting Malaria Malaria Foundation International The President's Malaria Initiative Roll Back Malaria Partnership World Health Organization Scientific Publications: "Balancing Risks on the Backs of the Poor" Amir Attaran, Donald R. Roberts, Chris F. Curtis, and Wenceslaus L. Kilama Nature Medicine, July 2000 "Risks and Benefits of DDT" Gilbert Ross, M.D. Letters, The Lancet, November 19, 2005 “DDT, Global Strategies, and a Malaria … [Read more...]

Other “Green” Legacies

Silent Spring’s impact on DDT is only one of the many legacies of the book. Environmental activists took many of Carson’s ideas and developed them into a host of environmental scare campaigns. Many of these have been problematic like the DDT case, on a significant, although smaller scale. The ongoing battle to control mosquito-borne illnesses, in particular, continues to be undermined by the green's anti-pesticide campaigns.  The following links address just a few of these … [Read more...]

Critiques of Silent Spring

Silent Spring is often subject to much praise but little thorough analysis. The section of this website of Carson's Malaria legacy addresses Carson's statements on DDT and public health. The following offers additional critiques of the findings and claims presented in in Silent Spring. General Critiques: “Chemicals and Pests, I. L. Baldwin, Science, September 28, 1962. "Silent Spring at 40” Reason Online Ron Bailey "Rachel Was Wrong" Jonathan Tolman Monthly Planet, March 1, … [Read more...]

Malaria Victims

As the world commemorates Rachel Carson’s birthday and work, let us commemorate the birthdays of the 50 boys and girls whose photos are featured on this website—and millions of others like them. They will never see another birthday. Many of these lives might have been saved had policymakers not abandoned DDT for malaria control in response to Carson's Silent Spring. Unfortunately, they are only a small sample of the millions of children who suffer and die every year in Africa and other parts … [Read more...]

Malaria Legacy

Perhaps the greatest impact of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was the negative publicity that it generated for the pesticide DDT, which at the time was used both in agriculture and for public health uses to fight malaria and other insect-borne diseases. This negative publicity actually led many nations to ban or stop using DDT even in limited applications where it was needed to control mosquitoes and save lives. As a result, every year millions of people around the world die from … [Read more...]

Who was Rachel Carson?

Born in 1907, Rachel Carson grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and eventually went on to study marine biology, earning her Masters’ degree in the subject from Johns Hopkins University. Carson taught at the University of Maryland for a few years, but eventually went to work at the Department of Interior, during which she wrote books and articles related to the environment. The first three books focused on the sea and did not provoke much attention, but her third book—Silent Spring—became a best … [Read more...]

Rachel Carson’s Dangerous Legacy

Cultural myths often stand in the way of human progress—in some cases producing devastating consequences. In fact, today millions of people around the world suffer the painful and often deadly effects of malaria because one person sounded a false alarm. That person is Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 best selling book Silent Spring. Many have praised Carson for raising concerns—some legitimate—about problems associated with the overuse of chemicals. Yet her extreme rhetoric generated a culture … [Read more...]

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