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Common Sense and Good Science?

Thursday March 8, 2012

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Mr Pest Control

Question:

It is easily arguable that millions of people have died from malaria because DDT was outlawed. There is a continual and fanatical attack that will not end until no pesticides are used and our industry is ruined and pestilence and disease are out of control. Common sense even says that if you can treat soil around a deck or patio, but not the patio itself because it might get washed off onto that area, there's an incoherent reasoning. Don't get me wrong. I'm extremely careful with how I treat a structure to protect where the pesticides go. But is anyone in this industry fighting back against the ridiculous attacks against pesticide use? Or have we just rolled over and accepted the bad legislation and poor science that backs the attacks?

Roy, CA

Mr Pest Control

Answer:

You pose some good thoughts Roy, and this is a topic that I am also passionate about, so I will have to abbreviate some of my thoughts in this answer to keep it manageable. You also touch on several separate issues, so let's address them one at a time. First, I agree with you that there are large numbers of people in our society, many of them members of highly organized and well-financed groups, who would love to see all of our chemical tools eliminated immediately. Their desire for this may be well intended but it is also hypocritical and short sighted. Many of them advocate the use of "natural" pesticides to replace "synthetic" pesticides in the belief that there is something magical about natural substances that makes them safe for use. The fact is that toxic is toxic, and our bodies cannot tell the difference between natural and synthetic molecules. I personally believe that many of these people also place humans well below other living creatures on the Earth, and our health and welfare are secondary to environmental purity. This belief is unlikely to change, so we just have to accept it and fight their efforts to create unreasonable legislation. 


With a little luck there still are enough legislators to stop short of allowing humans to die unnecessarily, although it often does not seem that way. DDT unarguably saved hundreds of millions of human lives by killing the mosquitoes that spread malar... Read more

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