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Organic Pollutants Poison the Roof of the World

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the told-you-we-should-have-replaced-those-shingles dept.

Earth 114

ananyo writes "Toxic chemicals are accumulating in the ecosystems of the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau, researchers warn in the first comprehensive study to assess levels of organic pollutants in that part of the world. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are carbon-based compounds that are resistant to break-down. Some originate from the burning of fuel or the processing of electronic waste, and others are widely used as pesticides or herbicides or in the manufacture of solvents, plastics and pharmaceuticals. Some POPs, such as the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and the herbicide Agent Orange, can cause diseases such as cancers, neurological disorders, reproductive dysfunction and birth defects. The researchers found large amounts of POPs (including DDT) in various components of the ecosystems such as soil, grass, trees and fish in the Himalayas and in the Tibetan plateau, especially at the highest elevations."

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114 comments

I'm waiting for the independent study... (1)

cripkd (709136) | about a year ago | (#43432373)

... that will say that it's actually the cows causing this!

Re:I'm waiting for the independent study... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433007)

... that will say that it's actually the cows causing this!

That would be great. Nothing is more amusing than lib-tard rage. They never just say "you know I disagree with you and here is why". They get so upset and offended and whiney. It's really hilarious.

Not all left-leaning folks are lib-tards but the "progressives" have the same problem as many other groups: the most volatile and childish and extreme among them are also the most vocal and act like they represent all the rest.

Re:I'm waiting for the independent study... (-1)

fredrated (639554) | about a year ago | (#43433095)

You, sir, are an ass.

They never just say "you know I disagree with you and here is why".

This is because assholes like you are of a kind "My mind is made up, don't confuse me with facts".
If you were ever exposed to facts you would reject them because you already know everything.

Re:I'm waiting for the independent study... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433197)

No he's right and you can suck my balls.

Re:I'm waiting for the independent study... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43434605)

You, sir, are an ass.

The poor cows always get the blame for producing methane. That's because the asses are so good at shifting the blame to asses.

Re:I'm waiting for the independent study... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43434631)

Correction: That's because the asses are so good at shifting the blame to cows.

Re:I'm waiting for the independent study... (0)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43435553)

This is because assholes like you are of a kind "My mind is made up, don't confuse me with facts".

Most so-called "facts" used by progressives in support of their policies are, in fact, irrelevant factoids. As such, progressives are no more informed or rational than Christian conservatives.

Re:I'm waiting for the independent study... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43436913)

so conversely most so-called "lies" by conservatives in support of getting rich at the expense of life on earth are, in fact, absolute truth. As such conservatives are uniquely more informed and rational than progressives.

Re:I'm waiting for the independent study... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433199)

Have a glass of DDT. Better yet, feed it to your kids, cousins, sibling, nephews/nieces, parents, in laws, second cousins, inlaw family.

Maybe idiots like you will get poisoned out of the gene pool quicker.

Re:I'm waiting for the independent study... (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#43433353)

So the flipside of this is that Conservatives have no problem poisoning the environment. Does that sum up your position?

Re:I'm waiting for the independent study... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43433817)

Personally I'm for this, I mean why should they sit on their high horses, or make that high llamas, on the top of the world and look down on us? If we all have to eat, drink, and breathe chemicals so some "job creators" can make an extra 3% profit per quarter than by God so should they. Spoiled, that's what they are!

And just to piss off both sides how much you wanna bet that Rev Al Gore will come out with a PPT that shows all you need to fix this is cap and trade? [nakedcapitalism.com] Oh the fact that he will make a couple of billion off of this without it costing him a cent since his carbon shell corps make farting around in a one man Lear jet "carbon neutral" is totally a coincidence, he's doing it to save the planet and puppies and all things good, totally selfless.

How do we organic out of (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432385)

burning of fuel or the processing of electronic waste? Everything is "organic". Nothing is man made besides god.

Re:How do we organic out of (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432771)

burning of fuel or the processing of electronic waste? Everything is "organic". Nothing is man made besides god.

"Organic" is a term in chemistry. It refers to chemical compounds which contains the element carbon. For example, sulfuric acid is an inorganic compound, while methane is an organic compound.

Of course, you could have spent a whole 5-10 seconds Googling that instead of wallowing in your own ignorance and generally making an ass of yourself. I will never understand why people choose to be helpless when they have the means to easily and quickly inform themselves. The concept of "intellectual laziness" doesn't begin to answer this mystery. Perhaps some kind of deep-seated need for attention compels you to seek unnecessary hand-holding, but that is only a guess.

Re:How do we organic out of (2, Insightful)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year ago | (#43433137)

My own personal take on this particular kind of idiocy is that when something is free (as in Beer) people have no respect for it's value because it cost them nothing to obtain. Knowledge on the Internet can be obtained for virtually no expenditure of time or resources at all, beyond that which you've already put in to gain access to the Internet, ergo people stop caring about knowledge and stop bothering to access it, even when they really should and nothing is stopping them.

Re:How do we organic out of (1)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#43433573)

Outside of the Chemistry lab, the use of the term "organic" is very different. How the term is used in Chemistry is not the same as how you present it to the masses. If the author does not understand basic communications they should have hired someone to help them before releasing misleading information to the public.

Re:How do we organic out of (3, Informative)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year ago | (#43434759)

When you're talking about chemical compounds, the term "organic" has a very specific meaning, regardless of whether you're currently inside a lab or who you're talking to. This is the meaning used in the article summary.

If you were talking about a head of cabbage, then "organic" would have a very different, specific meaning, once again regardless of lab setting or listener.

This is how words work.

Re:How do we organic out of (2)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43435599)

Outside of the Chemistry lab, the use of the term "organic" is very different.

Anybody with a high school education should know the scientific meaning of the term "organic", in addition to the grocery meaning.

If the author does not understand basic communications they should have hired someone to help them before releasing misleading information to the public.

The articles are in Nature, Environmental Science, and Slashdot. Readers in all these forums should know the technical meaning of the term. If you don't, the fault is yours.

Re:How do we organic out of (1)

reanjr (588767) | about a year ago | (#43434579)

I think technically it can also refer to silicon when it involved in compounds that function analogously to carbon-based organic chemistry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organosilicon [wikipedia.org]

There are a few others as well, like phosphorous and sulfur.

Yup, very misleading title! (0)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#43433527)

I read the title and said "hmm", then I read what they claimed caused the "organic" pollution and said "What the F&*K!?". If the pollutants are caused by burning fuel, then it's not "organic" pollution. By their definition, absolutely everything should be considered organic. All computers must be 100% organic since they are made of Silicone, Copper, Gold, etc... Nuclear weapons are "organic" too, and the heat they give off is just energy which must be "organic" also.

Re:Yup, very misleading title! (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43433779)

Fuel is likely to be of organic origin. Dead dinosaurs and all that.

Not to mention that a chemist's definition of organic is a compound that contains carbon.

From Dictionary.com:

Organic

1. noting or pertaining to a class of chemical compounds that formerly comprised only those existing in or derived from plants or animals, but that now includes all other compounds of carbon.

So your perception of 'organic' is relatively archaic.

Re:Yup, very misleading title! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43435233)

I seriously doubt he will ever understand. It's like kicking water uphill.

Re:Yup, very misleading title! (1)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#43436983)

I get the point, it's just that the normal every day use of the term Organic is very different. I work in Math and Computers all day, it's been at least 20 years since the Chemistry lab. When I don't remember or know a term, I have no issues going to refresh my memory or learn. "Organic" is something seen every day with a very different meaning.

Damn it! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432411)

Organic Pollutants Poison the Roof of the World

Damn it! I always bought my pollutants in the Organic aisle at the supermarket. I might as well stick with the regular pollutants and save a few bucks.

Re:Damn it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433651)

Someone needs to contact monsanto and make roundup ready snow!

-AC

patent infringement (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432417)

How long until Monsanto or other evil company sues the sherpas for patent infrigement?

Re:patent infringement (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about a year ago | (#43432919)

+1 funny. +1 sad. +1 Probably going to happen.
To bad I'm out of Mod Points.

Re:patent infringement (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#43434459)

Tsk-tsk, should have used them sparingly and wisely, young Jarik. =p

Low impact (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432427)

Barely anyone lives over there. "cancers, neurological disorders, reproductive dysfunction and birth defects" "especially at the highest elevations" For each year that these chemicals take, they give you five in return.

Re:Low impact (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432529)

If you drink them, you can be immortal.

Re:Low impact (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433291)

For each year that these chemicals take, they give you five in return.

You're a republican, aren't you.

Article fail (0)

Freddybear (1805256) | about a year ago | (#43432433)

TFA says "large amounts of...".

How many parts per trillion is "large"?

Re:Article fail (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year ago | (#43432609)

If you click the link to the research at the bottom, there is a summary available that reads:

High mountains may serve as “cold traps” for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and ice cores can provide long-term records of atmospheric deposition of pollutants. In this study, DDT, hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in an ice core from East Rongbuk Glacier were analyzed and the deposition fluxes of these pollutants were investigated. Concentrations of total DDTs reached maxima of approximately 2 ng l1 in mid-1970s, which is corresponding to the peak of malaria cases in India (in 1976). The decrease of DDT concentration after 1990s was in-line with the ban of DDT in India (in 1989). High level of -HCH was observed in early 1970s and it showed a decrease to undetectable level at the end of 1990s, which is in agreement with the period when India banned the usage of HCH (in 1997). Concentrations of total PAHs sharply increased after 1990 and the peak (approximately 100 ng l1) was found at the end of 1990s, when India entered the rapid industrialization (urbanization). PAHs in the ice core are dominantly pyrogenic in source, and are mainly from incomplete combustion of coal and biomass burning. Good correlations among concentrations of PAHs, nssSO42 and microparticles in snow pit samples showed that the origin of the PAHs and nssSO42 is often the same and they may be absorbed by particles and transported to high mountain regions by atmospheric circulation.

(please note that Slashdot does not support the superscript I just copied and pasted)

Also, my google fu turned up one of the original research articles [itpcas.ac.cn] that appears to be hosted for non commercial purposes only.

Re:Article fail (3, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#43433077)

Which is actually very pertinent information as it suggests that this finding is more a useful tool for measuring the improvement (or failure to improve) of man's releasing of pollutants into the environment than it is a newly discovered threat. Although if the more extreme global warming alarmists are correct, these pollutants may get released into the environment at some future date, to the detriment of those living near the Himalayas (probably not an issue for those living at a distance from the Himalayas).

Re:Article fail (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#43435949)

Ice cores from a glacier in the Himalayas?

This is a totally fraudulent piece of research because those all melted years ago. At least Al Gore's buddies were mumbling something about that at their UN conferences.

Re:Article fail (1)

museumpeace (735109) | about a year ago | (#43432691)

how many parts per trillion do you want in your blood?

Re:Article fail (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | about a year ago | (#43433869)

I don't know how many are there now, so how can I say?

POOP (2)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about a year ago | (#43432449)

POOP = Persistent Olfactory Organic Pollutants"

We're all going to die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432489)

Sometime.

Whatever humans pump out, we aren't going to beat the big volcanic episodes of past history. Or the big ones yet to come.

Life is a tenacious process, and has survived much worse before.

But if you want to panic, or blame your preferred 'enemie du jour', don't let me stop you. Humans seem to like panicking. Perhaps it's the adrenaline rush you get with self-induced anger....

Re:We're all going to die! (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about a year ago | (#43432539)

Don't panic. Just know where your global-sized organic compound absorbent towel is.

Re:We're all going to die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433233)

So you're going to run a Makita power drill through your forehead now, right, since it makes no difference how or when you die? Can we watch?

When Nietzsche said "that which does not kill us makes us strong" it just convinced me he had a poor imagination. I can imagine plenty of nonlethal stuff that only makes you weaker. Like selective removal of nervous tissue, for example... or ingestion of certain organic compounds, which is pretty much the same thing.

Re:We're all going to die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43435535)

...since it makes no difference how or when you die..

What is it with morons who can't read? Why do they make up stories in their heads about things they thought you said, and then act as if you said them? Why can't they read? Is having a panic reaction much more important to them than thinking for themselves? Where did I ever say anything about it not mattering where or when you die?

I give up, I really do! With that kind of level of understanding, how do you get through life?

Humans (2)

Scot Seese (137975) | about a year ago | (#43432495)

When I read "Organic Pollutants", I initially thought the article was referring to humanity.

Re:Humans (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about a year ago | (#43433445)

There are a lot of human bodies on Everest...

The Free Market Will Fix All This (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432501)

No need for government regulation of these chemicals, the farmer in Iowa will adjust his activities to save the mentioned lands.

Re:The Free Market Will Fix All This (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432589)

And what if he does? What then, liberal? Then we don't need statist laws telling people what they can and can't do with their property!

U.S. off the hook for this one (0)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#43432537)

looking at origins of these pollutants in the article, neither from China nor USA. w00t, we can keep pumping out the stank

Re:U.S. off the hook for this one (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432611)

Umm...yeah, did you miss the part where they mentioned fucking AGENT ORANGE?

No trouble telling you're an american, the only time you notice anyone violating the Geneva convention is when you're not doing it yourselves. The arrogance and ignorance displayed here is stunning.

Re:U.S. off the hook for this one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432653)

'MERICA! Fuck yeah!

Re:U.S. off the hook for this one (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#43432661)

And you are from a part of the world with poor reading comprehension (I'd guess Kentucky); the article gives an example of a POP as Agent Orange, but does not say that compound was found.

most protocols of the geneva convention haven't been ratified in the USA so it is not bound by them; signing is irrelevant, the Constitution is the supreme law of this land.

Re:U.S. off the hook for this one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433415)

The ingredients in "Agent Orange" were used elsewhere. One of them is still in use today. The article's mention of "Agent Orange" is "blame America" because no facts were given to back it up.

It's always the same with left wingers. THEY CAN'T FUCKING READ!!!!!!!

Re:U.S. off the hook for this one (1)

Rlindstr (2866673) | about a year ago | (#43432667)

I believe the use of "w00t" denotes the presence of sarcasm.

Re:U.S. off the hook for this one (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433153)

Just because you happen to disagree with a particular practice during wartime does not make it a violation of Geneva Conventions. The Geneva Conventions specifically are rules by signatories that state these are the rules they will follow when conducting war but it only applies to signatories; if someone does not sign and does not follow the rules, or does sign and then violates the rules, then it's generally accepted that one does not place blame on a responding party who is forced to violate the rules in order to stop the initial violation. In this case, Agent Orange was a defoliant and herbicide designed to remove the Viet Cong from the countryside. The Viet Cong violated the Geneva Conventions through multiple forms by both not wearing some sort of marker or uniform that identified them as a combatant and hiding amongst civilian populations, despite Vietnam being a signatory to the Geneva conventions not 4 years prior to the US involvement in Vietnam.

While you may disagree with it's use on a moral perspective, which you are entitled to do so, that does not change the fact that it was not a violation of the Geneva Conventions which are a form of international law.

Re:U.S. off the hook for this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433327)

Different AC here, it seems a lot of people don't understand the Geneva Conventions at all and just substitute "it violates the Geneva Conventions" when they really mean "I don't like people doing that."

The basic overview. The Geneva Conventions are an agreement between signators to lessen the devastation of war by agreeing to certain limits. Roughly it is the guidelines for "a good clean fight" on a national scale. When one participant in a war decides to fight dirty, the other is no longer bound to the GC rules, but does maintain a sort of moral high ground if they are maintained anyway. Or at least that's how things worked when people had half a clue what the GC was about, now a country can be publicly accused of violating the Geneva Conventions by following them, if that country is the USA. It also doesn't even seem to matter if the war being debated happened before or after the Geneva Conventions, I've heard some angry simpletons insist that the USA should've been attacked by everyone for their GC violations during the French and Indian War (I'll let you do the Googling on that one).

Re:U.S. off the hook for this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433365)

No doubt you're one of those eurotrash who only notice when the USA violates the Geneva Convention (or at least what you think is in it). Go back to your smugfest and keep thinking of ways to distance yourself from the first world- hopefully there are enough decent people left in Europe to take control.

Re:U.S. off the hook for this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433475)

The ignorance displayed here is stunning.

I'll say.. mega WHOOSH.

Re: U.S. off the hook for this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433703)

Woosh

Possible solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432579)

Well, as most involved with roof-based issues are well aware, the effects of such poisons could be deferred by moving the roof further away from humankind. In other words, we could raise the roof, dawg.

Unless, of course, the toxic elements have set the roof, the roof, the roof on fire. In that case, most scientists would strongly urge that such a situation does not require water, and it is generally safest to let it burn.

Gee, carbon again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432635)

You'd think life here is based on carbon..............

Higher taxes (-1, Troll)

scsirob (246572) | about a year ago | (#43432643)

Invariably these reports are followed shortly by a government study that claims all out problems will be solved by taxing the h*ll out of the common citizen.

I would really like to see a report of how the CO2 emission rights trading has helped the environment get any better. I doubt very much that there has been any impact other than many wallets getting thinner, and a few wallets becoming extremely well filled.

Re:Higher taxes (1)

Rlindstr (2866673) | about a year ago | (#43432753)

problems will be solved by taxing the h*ll out of the common citizen.

Once all the h*ll is gone it'll be the rapture and we won't have to worry anymore...

Re:Higher taxes (1)

kayoshiii (1099149) | about a year ago | (#43432787)

How would you try solving the problem then?

Re:Higher taxes (1)

Rlindstr (2866673) | about a year ago | (#43432887)

you mean aside from what we do today by actively ignoring it or denying its existence altogether? (we being the U.S.A)

Re:Higher taxes (1)

nomadic (141991) | about a year ago | (#43432983)

Oh give me a break, for the past few decades the dominant thing the government says about taxes is they have to be cut, no matter what the consequences.

Re:Higher taxes (0)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43433351)

You don't understand carbon trading do you? have you looked into at all, of just repeat what you hear on the Tee Vee?

Re:Higher taxes (1)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | about a year ago | (#43434317)

It worked for CFCs...

if you combine this effect with global warming.. (1)

museumpeace (735109) | about a year ago | (#43432759)

which is melting away all those glaciers where the POP's are lodging, then the load of carcinogens is washing into the Ganges...no matter what the folks down stream do or don't do about their own sources of pollution. Now the poor of India can have equal access to the cancer rates of the first-world economies.

If we can't spread the wealth around, what good are we anyway?

Re:if you combine this effect with global warming. (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#43433305)

I dunno. At the level of carcinogens in the study, washing all of that into the Ganges may actually make that cesspool cleaner.

speaking as a scientist (0)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#43432859)

what in the actual fuck is "the roof of the world"

Re:speaking as a scientist (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#43433205)

It's the thing on top of the attic of the world. The attic is the place in your parents' house where you live, if your other brother is already living in the basement. The basement is underneath the attic, but there is some stuff in between.

Plant uptake and Monsanto (2)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about a year ago | (#43432897)

If plants are taking in these POPs, then pretty soon Monsanto will take care of the problem by suing to stop basic biology from happening.

DDT gets a bad rap (3, Informative)

urusan (1755332) | about a year ago | (#43432901)

DDT is villianized far out of proportion these days. Although admittedly they are both POPs, setting it rhetorically alongside Agent Orange as though they are the same is absurd.

DDT's carcinogenic properties are not really all that serious. We expose ourselves to more carcinogenic substances all the time, such as gasoline fumes. These minor effects were played up by DDT's opponents back in the day to scare people into accepting a DDT ban. Similarly, the acute toxicity is minor. To my knowledge, there's only one case where someone died from consuming DDT, and in that case the DDT may have contained other harmful chemicals.

On the other side of the coin, DDT saved millions of lives by eliminating malarial mosquitoes and other harmful insects. It easily saved more lives than it took.

Agent Orange on the other hand has caused awful damage in the areas where it was used extensively. If DDT was even close to as dangerous as it was made out to be by its opponents, then the present day impacts would be like a worldwide version of the Agent Orange boondoggle...times 1000.

Re:DDT gets a bad rap (4, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about a year ago | (#43433043)

It wasn't about human lives per se, it was about the heavy toll on the environment. DDT was the nuclear option of pesticides, it killed everything good and bad. Now for people who want to use it again they need to realize that even back then insects like mosquitoes were already developing genetic resistance to it because it was overused. Plus there are alternatives to DDT now that are superior and more selective.

We've also become much more aware of the effects of chronic low-level exposure to toxins. It may not kill you outright but over decades could be causing genetic damage, neurological damage, etc. Most people want to live long and healthy lives I assume.

Re:DDT gets a bad rap (-1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43433093)

Guess what else causes genetic damage, neurological damage, and other catastrophic health problems with chronic exposure... ... time.

Re:DDT gets a bad rap (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43434305)

Yes, but time does so in a significantly smaller amount. It's not the "what", it's the "how much".

Re:DDT gets a bad rap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433279)

You understate the demonization of DDT. The WHO recently said "whoops" and made it legal even for use indoors.

The people responsible for the banning of DDT are responsible for more deaths than any other single group of folks (Thanks Rachel Carson)

the National Academy of sciences stated in 1962:
“To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It is estimated that, in little more than two decades DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths, due to malaria, that would otherwise have been inevitable.”

The Malaria rate in Sri Lanka alone from the late 40s to the early 60s dropped from 3 million a year, to 29 (not thousand, just 29).

As of 2005, 500 million contracted malaria a year, with 2-3 million dying. This rate is an order of magnitude greater than in the 60's, before the banning of DDT.

Rachel Carson, whose work has been almost completely invalidated, is responsible for more deaths than anyone else in history...

So much for good intentions... Law of unintended consequences.

P.S. The adoration of Rachel Carson is like the Adoration of Che Guevara. I just don't get it...

Re:DDT gets a bad rap (3, Informative)

motoservo (1327295) | about a year ago | (#43434347)

You talk of DDT toxicity in humans as if that were the only concern. DDT almost single handedly wiped out entire species of birds and fish (including our American emblem the bald eagle). If that's not a canary in a coalmine?

Re:DDT gets a bad rap (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#43436041)

You, keep regurgitating the same old crap and eventually it won't be crap. But you are on the side that gets to claim the victory for defeating yet another good thing from modernization happening, so that must be a big plus for you in the "feels good, warm and fuzzies" column.

Re:DDT gets a bad rap (3, Informative)

reanjr (588767) | about a year ago | (#43434535)

I think you're forgetting the primary concern with DDT was birth defects, not cancer. Primarily in animal populations. ...and the fact that insects were becoming resistant to it anyway, in some cases.

Re:DDT gets a bad rap (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43435665)

One study found a 33% increase in urogenital birth defects. Significant, but not exactly large, treatable, and probably preventable by taking special precautions with women. Malaria in babies, on the other hand, is extremely serious and likely far more frequent without prevention.

Re:DDT gets a bad rap (0)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#43434945)

Mod parent up. DDT is safe for humans and the environment.

Re:DDT gets a bad rap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43435421)

I've replaced orange juice in my diet with DDT, and I've never felt better. I currently have a petition to add DDT to my city's water so that my whole town can reap the benefits!

Re:DDT gets a bad rap (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#43436087)

Oh yeah. Using a relative small amount spread around the environment is EXACTLY the same thing as ingesting large amounts daily.

Le's use that reasoning to set the safe level of clean water ingestion. A few years back, somebody drank huge amounts of water (many gallons in a day) and died. Therefore, it is not safe to drink any amount of water nor any other liquid having water as an ingredient.

Does it now sound a bit retarded to not distinguish between none, a little and too much.

mod do3n (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43432925)

is the wors7 off

Flush twice (0)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about a year ago | (#43432961)

Because the world is humanities's toilet now.

Re:Flush twice (1)

Rlindstr (2866673) | about a year ago | (#43433107)

What do you mean 'now'? When has it not been?

The Real Problem (5, Funny)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43433117)

Ugly Bags of Mostly Water are the real problem.

Bacteria in a petri dish will eventually die from living in their own "filth."

Ugly Bags of Mostly Water are no different, and will continue to reproduce as long as there is a food source, until waste management becomes impossible and they die off from being poisoned by their own excrement.

Re:The Real Problem (1)

jafac (1449) | about a year ago | (#43436637)

this

Everything is connected (4, Insightful)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43433343)

Sadly, for a people who live in relative isolation, they are getting poisoned by the rest of us.
Even though they ignore our ways of life for their simple one, they end up not being able to trust the air and the water they are surrounded with as it delivers them poisons.
This world is too fractured to come up with viable options for actually cleaning up and reversing the damages we've done.
Yet we must, because eventually, we will cause damages which will be hard to revert from.
We need to normalize our social and political landscape across the entire globe and we need to figure out a true viable global economy which factors in, the proper way of doing business which enforces keeping our environment clean and pollutant free.
We have the technology, but we don't have the maturity. This planet is being exploited to the bones by a few very greedy bastards and the flock of sheeps who won't do nothing about it.
Better grow up folks, because this is the only planet we have.
Profit at the cost of our environment is wrong.
Unless you don't care about the legacy you leave your children and their future progeny.

Re:Everything is connected (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#43434201)

do you have any proof for your assertion? those people have to deal with poisons already, the world has had arsenic, lead, mercury, etc. since the dawn of time, and no doubt their lifestyle with less than ideal sanitation introduces more. anyway, average lifespan has almost doubled there in 20th century to 67 years, modern times can't be all bad for them

DDT? (-1, Flamebait)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | about a year ago | (#43433439)

DDT has a long history and nowhere in it is actual proof of causation of any of the aforementioned ailments. The best anti-DDT activists could prove is correlation and linking to diseases, never causation, in spite of decades of trying. So much of this "scientific research" was done trying to affirm the positive idea that DDT caused disease. Weak inductive logic has no place in actual scientific research! "Affirming the positive" is a huge problem with so much of science. You don't create "scientific facts". You only create theories that hold up to repeated attempts to falsify them. This is never the case with the anti-DDT research. It's always about affirming the "scientific fact" that DDT is evil. In the 50's and 60s people virtually bathed in this stuff. Big trucks would billow out DDT into parks to kill off mosquitoes, and all this time no ill effects were ever proven to be caused by DDT. And thanks to DDT the US is free of malaria.

Because of anti-DDT activists and the pseudo-scientific FUD created by them 3rd world countries have had to deal with the scourge of malaria that kills over a million every year, and tens of millions over decades. If you want funding from the US you had better not use DDT, oh sure we did and eliminated the threat of malaria in our country, but we learned the errors of our ways by great pseudoscientists like Rachel Carson that using DDT can have unclear and unknown effects to the thickness of egg shells in some avian species, so you know, let everyone die from malaria, this egg shell stuff is pretty serious.

People using weak inductive logic claming harm to the environment to prevent the use of life saving procedures make me sick. Rachel Carson and people like her have blood on their hands and will never feel guilty for the tens of millions of deaths caused and the hundreds of millions of lives forever changed. If there was justice in this world (and there never was) Rachel Carson would be made to live in a country where DDT has never been used. Let her sleep under a mosquito net forever afraid of a malaria infected bite. No, she slept in great comfort in a place where DDT had already wiped out the scourge of malaria.

Only as recently as 2007 has this anti-DDT hysteria subsided and the use of DDT has begun again. If it is so damn harmful why is it OK now? Of course it's a good thing they're using it again, but it's far too late to save the lives of the millions of people who could have been saved.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT#Criticism_of_restrictions_on_DDT_use [wikipedia.org]

Wikipedia is a funny place. You can see the fights between editors that occur right in the article. In the section "Criticism of restrictions on DDT use" the same over zealous anti-DDT editors just couldn't help themselves. By god they weren't going to let these criticisms of the restriction of DDT go unchallenged! They'll insert quotes of someone's opinion to refute the critical assertions in the same paragraph as the criticisms. That'll show the critics what's up! And, no, nobody will ever venture to think that there is any sort of unfair bias in the article!

Chemists who create chemicals to save people's lives are not mad scientists and these anti-DDT activists are not all knowing supermen come to save the planet. So many of these activists just know, without need for proof, that DDT is bad. Why? Why, because it's a chemical, and chemicals are bad! And look at these ignorant people spraying chemicals without knowing what us activists know.

Everything is a chemical. You can die from cyanide poising from eating too many almonds or apple seeds, but you'll never die from DDT.

Re:DDT? (4, Informative)

hey! (33014) | about a year ago | (#43436443)

I worked for many years in vector borne disease surveillance. Most of what you have said is wrong or misleading.

DDT based mosquito "eradication" programs never eradicated any mosquito populations, because a single surviving gravid Anopheles mosquito can lay over two hundred eggs at a time. But malaria has a weakness that mosquito borne encephalitis does not have: most strains of Plasmodium have no significant enzootic reservoirs -- that is to say most strains that infect humans, infect humans exclusively. This means if you can eradicate human-to-human transmission, you eradicate the underlying infectious agent.

In the late 40s DDT *was* instrumental in eradicating endemic malaria in the US, but that was through over four million "domestic" treatments -- applications. These are treatments of the *interiors* of homes. In domestic applications, the DDT does not enter the food chain and does not bio-accumulate.

DDT is not magic pixie dust. It's not the only pesticide that works, and it is neither necessary nor sufficient for malaria eradication. It is, however, valuable. It is cheap, effective, and relatively long-lasting, which is a huge boon in domestic applications because it reduces the number of re-treatments you have to do. That same property of longevity makes it a very poor choice for agricultural use.

I attended a number of meetings where the prospect of using DDT for malaria eradication in the third world was discussed. The key problem is that many places where it is needed are desperately poor, and theft is rife. I knew plenty of researchers who had their field equipment stolen; some of them took to putting their computers and backups in a backpack and slept with it to keep from losing their data. There is a high risk of DDT being stolen and diverted to agricultural use, where its drawbacks come into play: under certain conditions it can persist in the soil for years, and it has a high potential to bio-accumulate, so even small concentrations can have effects on predatory animals. Furthermore runoff into water sources in sub-lethal concentrations has a high potential to create DDT resistance in target species including Anopheles, the vector of malaria. That could undermine attempts to eradicate a number of mosquito borne diseases other than malaria. This could have significant effects on attempts to control many mosquito borne diseases, malaria included.

Chemists who create chemicals to save people's lives are not mad scientists and these anti-DDT activists are not all knowing supermen come to save the planet

Well, this is kind of a strawman argument. I've worked with people in the pesticide industry, in public health, and with environmental groups, and as far as I can see the images you mention here are entirely a figment of your own imagination. Everybody who studied this problem understand there are risks and benefits to using DDT, mainly they differ on how they weigh the risks.

In any case, if we knew that domestic DDT applications could eradicate malaria in an area back in 1950, why wasn't it eradicated worldwide? Because there's never been the political will to do that. There has never been a worldwide ban on DDT (which is why they're seeing way up in Tibet), so why hasn't it been eradicated in more places? Because there was never the political will to do it. If the will existed, we could do it, with or without DDT, just with somewhat less initial cash outlay for DDT.

Let me reiterate: DDT is not magic pixie dust. It *does* have potential to reduce the initial *cost* of eradicating malaria (except in SE Asia, where zoonotic forms of Plasmodium exist). But wherever malaria could be eradicated *with* DDT, it could also be eradicated with something else, say with synthetic pyrethrins. Pyrethrins have a very short half-life outdoors, reducing problems of pesticide resistance and bio-accumulation. The main drawback is that they also have a somewhat shorter half-life indoors, requiring more repeat treatments in the eradication phase. That'd still be a bargain in terms of human life.

What Next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433497)

So what are "we" doing today that we think is absolutely fine, but in a year will become the new reviled buzzword of the EcoMovement?

For instance, you get rid of your SUV for an electric car, you have hidden you carbon footprint until you get you first electric bill of recharging your car. Unless you have a private hydro source of electric.

First Study (3, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43433679)

I am sure this is a valuable piece of work, as it is claimed as the first of it's type and will be very useful as a benchmark. Analytic chemistry has progressed tremendously over the 40 years I was a practicing chemist, to the point where concentrations of particularly dangerous materials are possible to measure at femtograms per liter. At those concentrations you are detecting a very small number of molecules in a sample,

But since it's the first it really doesn't say much in terms of the progression of the state of affairs in these ecologies. It will be very interesting to see what the results are in a decade or two; whether the measures we are taking now to reduce the presence of these various very bad actors in the environment are being effected by environmental controls or not.

People greatly underestimate the versatility of Nature as a chemist. Some of the worst chemicals found in these studies are formed not only by man, but by Nature as well. For example DDT like chemicals have been found to exist in every evolutionary epoch.

http://books.google.com/books/about/Naturally_Occurring_Organohalogen_Compou.html?id=u45Z-kh61ngC [google.com]

http://books.google.com/books?id=S2fvZsZwgQ4C&pg=PA185&dq=naturally+produced+ddt&hl=en&sa=X&ei=p0FoUe69C6nD4APzwoGYBA&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=naturally%20produced%20ddt&f=false [google.com]

Paywall (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#43433717)

Lets link to a vague report based on a paywalled paper. There is no way to look at the actual numbers to verify the article's assertions.

More alarmingly, the researchers also detected large amounts of POPs in various components of the ecosystems such as soil, grass, trees and fish in the Himalayas ...

Terms like "large amounts" are meaningless as it is a relative subjective term. My "large amount" may be different than their "large amount". Show me the numbers. It looks to me like they want people to buy their report.

Radiatio-actives have half-lives... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43433891)

Arsenic is forever!

DDT kills insects... (0)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#43434913)

...and is harmless to humans and other life forms.

Re:DDT kills insects... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43435563)

...Only as long as you don't consider fish, amphibious mammals, and birds (due to the shell thinning) as non-life forms.

Re:DDT kills insects... (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#43436139)

Except that said thinning of shells was a load of crap and never proven to have actually been caused by DDT and the waning bird populations caused by the supposedly thinning eggshells weren't actually declining but were, in fact, increasing.

The closest actual causation link might have been declining populations of animals that fed mostly on mosquitos but that wasn't happening either because there were not and are not any such animal populations.

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