The liberals at Google honored radical environmentalist Rachel Carson on their home page, Tuesday, in honor of what would have been her 107th birthday. With the Google logo in the background, an illustration featured the late Carson in the wilderness, next to birds, turtles and butterflies. Clicking on this picture will bring web browsers to a search of all things Carson. Journalists, Al Gore and Hollywood have long lauded the activist. But few of them have questioned her accuracy or impact.
Carson's claim to fame came when she published Silent Spring in 1962. The book warned of the dangers of pesticide to birds and lobbied for banning the chemical DDT. However, this contention turned out to be flat-out wrong and has had deadly consequences. As San Jose State University entomologist J. Gordon Edwards explained: "This implication that DDT is horribly deadly is completely false. Human volunteers have ingested as much as 35 milligrams of it a day for nearly two years and suffered no adverse effects. Millions of people have lived with DDT intimately during the mosquito spray programs and nobody even got sick as a result."
In an article entitled "Rachel Carson's Deadly Fantasies," Forbes writer Henry Miller explained how Carson's fear-mongering cost millions of lives:
Carson’s disingenuous proselytizing spurred public pressure to ban DDT in many countries, with disastrous consequences: a lack of effective control of mosquitoes that carry malaria and other diseases. Malaria imposes huge costs on individuals, families and governments. It inflicts a crushing economic burden on malaria-endemic countries and impedes their economic growth. A study by the Harvard University Center for International Development estimated that a high incidence of malaria reduces economic growth by 1.3 percentage points each year. Compounded over the four decades since the first bans of DDT, that lost growth has made some of the world’s poorest countries an astonishing 40 percent poorer than had there been more effective mosquito control.
It is bad enough that the case against DDT was based on anecdote and innuendo, but Carson and Dunn and the regulators who banned DDT failed to consider the inadequacy of alternatives. Because it persists after spraying, DDT works far better than many pesticides now in use, many of which are just as toxic to birds, mammals, fish and other aquatic organisms. And with DDT unavailable, many mosquito-control authorities are depleting their budgets by repeated spraying with expensive, short-acting and marginally effective insecticides.
The legacy of Rachel Carson is that tens of millions of human lives – mostly children in poor, tropical countries – have been traded for the possibility of slightly improved fertility in raptors.
For an exhaustive list off all the errors and misstatements in Silent Spring, go here.
In 2012, the Business and Media Institute (part of the Media Research Center) explained:
In “Silent Spring,” she claimed DDT was developed during World War II as an “agent of death.” John Berlau, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, explained DDT was actually used to preserve lives. He outlined in his book “Eco-Freaks” several positive examples of how DDT was used during World War II. “Over 1 million citizens of Naples were dusted in January of 1944. In places like train stations, US troops sprayed DDT on the people of Naples from their shirt collars down to their shoes. Troops would also spray DDT on themselves in Naples and many other places. By mid-February the typhus epidemic was completely licked, saving not only our troops, but millions of Italians citizens.”
A 2012 Competitive Enterprise Institute study declared "Rachel Carson Was Wrong." It concluded:
The use of pesticides actually has had environmental benefits. Because pesticides allow farmers to grow more per acre, less land is needed by the agricultural industry to supply the global market. The rate of deforestation is now declining, and reforestation has begun in several countries.
The incidence of pesticide-related health problems is low. When the Centers for Disease Control investigated the health effects of widespread spraying to control mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus during 1999-2002, they found only two cases of definite health impacts and 25 probable cases.
Will Google do a tribute to the millions who died because of DDT bans?