Film raises questions about ban on pesticide

What kind of crazy person would sprinkle DDT (the “deadly” pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) on a bowl of red, ripe strawberries and then gobble them down as if they were covered with whipped cream instead?

Well, that man turns out to be Dr. Rutledge Taylor, a California physician, and after watching the documentary 3 Billion and Counting, which was presented at the Salmar Classic Theatre on Sunday March 6th, and which shows the results of his six years of research into why DDT has got such a bad name, one comes away thinking he may not be so crazy after all.

The film shows that although the Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Müller was awarded the Noble prize for proving the effectiveness of DDT as a pesticide and how this chemical was the leading medium in the eradication of malaria in the United States by the year 1951, how it then came, within a few shorts years after this great victory, to be considered one of the deadliest chemicals ever introduced into the environment. This was essentially brought about by the publication of the book Silent Spring, written by Rachel Carson in 1962, which caused a demonization of this and other pesticides and brought about a war against them led by the then developing environmental movement.

But Taylor paints a totally different picture of DDT and its supposed dangers. His investigations led him and his colleagues on a trip to Africa, where one million people, most under the age of five,  are still dying from malaria each year, and he presents the idea that DDT is not the villain that it has been portrayed and that its use would be a great aid in relieving the suffering of the people who are the worst affected by the curse of this dreaded disease.

He further explains and shows the evidence for his conclusions that it was as a result of bad science, greed and a more sinister plan, which uses population control and reduction, as its rationale which has prevented a review of the original decisions around the banning of DDT.

The film raises some very serious questions and concerns, and with five people dying from malaria every minute, makes one hope that someone who can bring about change, will look seriously into these allegations.

For more information, check out www.3 BillionAndCounting.com.

Peter Rowbottom



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