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Author: Subject: "Bath Salts" Added to controlled chem list in LA
gutter_ca
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"Bath Salts" Added to controlled chem list in LA

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/01/some_ingredie...

Substituted methcathinones? Haven't heard of that in years, always sounded like nasty stuff.
Ozone
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It is a sad story, but he played with fire and got burnt.

If it had not been the son of a doctor, and it hadn't been gun-related, I doubt we would have heard much. Where was the media explosion and subsequent "public" outcry (mostly from lobby groups like MADD) for the previous 167 cases? I suppose those might have been non-lethal?

Although I don't advocate the irresponsible use of illicit drugs, I find the nanny-state concept quite disturbing...I am also against mis-represented pseudo-pharmies and the laws that necessitate the ruse...

While I might not totally condemn something like (hypothetically) "3,4-Methyenedioxypyrovalerone, 99.5 %", dosage info, pin packet to shirt before consumption for poison control, no life-guard on duty, take of your own free will at your own risk", I *hate* "bath salts, active ingredients not listed, dosage not listed, fillers possibly listed, not for human consumption.

The latter is a sure recipe for (what would you call a counterfeit of a knock-off barely-legal analogue of a banned drug?) overdoses, etc.

Again, although I don't advocate the irresponsible use of illicit drugs, I do believe that the "War on Drugs" has killed more people than the drugs.

Condolences,

O3

-Anyone who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
--Albert Einstein
DDTea
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Reminds me of a story of an old man who turned up at a hospital with psychotic symptoms. They thought he had dementia. Turns out, he'd been eating "Dead Sea Salts" and getting wacky off the sodium bromide

"In the end the proud scientist or philosopher who cannot be bothered to make his thought accessible has no choice but to retire to the heights in which dwell the Great Misunderstood and the Great Ignored, there to rail in Olympic superiority at the folly of mankind." - Reginald Kapp.
iHME
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Well they banned "3,4-Methyenedioxypyrovalerone", commonly refered as MDPV around here.
It is simply a bad drug to abuse. Around here it just competed with amphetamine and was sold because the sentence was shorter when caught.
We even had a rather large lifestyle magazine run a cover story with the words "Paskaa kamaa, MDPV" on the cover. (Shit drug, MDPV).
It was that well known. And for some reason the tabloids promoted it for months as a "sex drug".

And the problems ware evident even with people who know what they ware doing, with "bath salts" it is instant failure.

It\'s a catastrophic success.
franklyn
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- or

It's normal human desire to get high. Making that illegal,
is why the bottom gets scraped even deeper in search
of substances that have no correctional consequences.
Be assured enacting prohibitions is destined to go on to
infinity, as subsequently marketed products circumvent
legal definitions.

.
quicksilver
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Those in their mid-50's may remember the smoking of the scrapings of the [inside of] banana peels. That was fairly far-fetched; albeit mostly harmless. What is of a concern today is the length of likely self destruction & madness that folks go to today is search of mind altering experiences. Whatever happened to the Arts & Music?

hissingnoise
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 Quote: Whatever happened to the Arts & Music?

Yeah, can't get the best from music without a nice smoke and can't understand modern art without trippin' . . .

anotheronebitesthedust
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 Quote: Whatever happened to the Arts & Music?

They're called MP3's Grandpa. Don't worry about it, just finish eating your banana and you can watch another WW2 documentary.
froot
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 Quote: Louisiana poison control authorities have logged 165 calls since September from people in crisis after smoking or injecting the substances, Jindal said.

Honestly, stupid should hurt, why make new laws that help stupid not to hurt so much?
With enough motivation anybody can maim themself or someone else with table salt, or a TV remote, which is seemingly inevitable with all the stupid lurking around, so they going to ban those too? Where does the line get drawn?

Stop interfering with natural selection, it is there for a very good reason!

We salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who remove themselves from it.
Of necessity, this honor is generally bestowed posthumously. - www.darwinawards.com
quicksilver
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 Quote: Originally posted by anotheronebitesthedust They're called MP3's Grandpa. Don't worry about it, just finish eating your banana and you can watch another WW2 documentary.

MP3, is a patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression;MP3 is an audio-specific format. Therefore it cannot encompass movement via video. It cannot record plays, dance or theater. The correct format would be an MP4.

Whatsa' mata'? Did I hurt your feelings?

The WiZard is In
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 Quote: Originally posted by gutter_ca http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/01/some_ingredie... Substituted methcathinones? Haven't heard of that in years, always sounded like nasty stuff.

This just in - into my inbox from the CDC.

Emergency Department Visits After Use of a Drug Sold as "Bath Salts" --- Michigan, November 13, 2010--March 31, 2011

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6019a6.htm?s_cid=...
S.C. Wack
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I didn't even have to read that to know that local headshops were to blame. The stores that sell things like this, like this, are owned by scum who know full well that this will be the reaction, in exchange for a few months of profits and likely overdoses from morons or bad dosage info. Internet orders are hardly ever cited in these cases. Just one of these men is often responsible for making a new drug illegal throughout their state these days.

For example Bouncing Bear Botanicals only got in trouble last year from their physical store's K2, not from their massive internet sales of mescaline, lysergamides, and DMT in plant form. They had the owner on all the charges you'd expect, then let him go, till 4 months ago they refiled. He's in deep shit now:
http://www.savejon.org/
guess he's blaming politics instead of greed, if the two are actually separate.

"You're going to be all right, kid...Everything's under control." Yossarian, to Snowden
hkparker
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I just saw on the news that the governor of Florida just passed a law outlawing bash salts in Florida.

"Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature." -Michael Faraday
Rogeryermaw
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well of course! they are horrible and dangerous. hell, they probably contain some insidious compound like oxidane or hydrogen hydroxide.

quicksilver
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 Quote: Originally posted by S.C. Wack I didn't even have to read that to know that local headshops were to blame. The stores that sell things like this, like this, are owned by scum who know full well that this will be the reaction, in exchange for a few months of profits and likely overdoses from morons or bad dosage info. Internet orders are hardly ever cited in these cases. Just one of these men is often responsible for making a new drug illegal throughout their state these days. For example Bouncing Bear Botanicals only got in trouble last year from their physical store's K2, not from their massive internet sales of mescaline, lysergamides, and DMT in plant form. They had the owner on all the charges you'd expect, then let him go, till 4 months ago they refiled. He's in deep shit now: http://www.savejon.org/ guess he's blaming politics instead of greed, if the two are actually separate.

I happen to agree with you: it's simple greed. The very same owner would NEVER even consider taking any of their items internally, yet they know that the very basis for their existence is that some stupid bastard will do just that.

The guy knew he was gambling with getting slapped down. People like that aren't "surprised" what-so-ever. He eventually lost his gamble with making fast money from common garbage and plants. his profits were astronomical but he KNEW that eventually some kid would get poisoned or whatever would stir up enough emotion to get some cops over there and slam him.
The story paints a picture of a man wronged.......Legally, perhaps the whole thing was sloppy crap. But I just can't get worked up over some profiteer getting pinched for doing something that HE KNEW would end this way.

[Edited on 3-6-2011 by quicksilver]

gregxy
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Another interesting area like this is over the counter anabolic steroids. A few years back this was big business. A chemist named Patrick Arnold figured out that he could legally sell steroid precursors (androstanedione and others) as dietary suppliments. Soon many others got on the band wagon and were developing and selling these compounds. Some would design their own molecules get them made in China and sell them here, (basically bypassing the whole FDA drug approval process). As long as the compound was not listed as a steroid on the DEAs list they were OK. Most of these were really crappy drugs, more estrogens than androgens with nasty side effects like causing liver damage, impotence, "man-boobs" and stunted growth if taken by teenagers.

Finally Partick Arnold became too greedy and created an "undetectable steroid" he called "the clear" which ended up being given to Barry Bonds and other top athletes. Well the undetectable steroid was detected and the story is still in the news. Arnold spent 3 months in jail and the DEA passed new laws outlawing the products Arnold and others had been selling.

In cases like this the "nanny state" does do some good. These products were sold with all kinds of false claims based on complicated pseudo-science. It would be very difficult for the lay person to evaluate the benefits and risks.

Rogeryermaw
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i usually hate to be strictly black and white on any issue but there is no good reason or excuse for any sort of "nanny state" mentality. people have known for ages that there is a danger in any type of physical enhancement. it has been known that steroids have adverse side effects. that's their choice. health damage serves them right for trying to cheat the reality of how difficult it is to achieve that level of fitness and strength. if you aren't willing to work and strive for it then you don't really deserve it.

the point about the nanny state idea is that it was dangerous to ever give any agency the leeway to control any aspect of the lives of private citizens. one, because the first time we say "ok, that's dangerous. take it away from us", we automatically open the door for the next item and the next until it is no longer our choice, but those decisions are made for us. then, logically, since all technology has been declared bad for the public safety, interests fall away from discovery and education in technical arts. then you end up with idiots trying to ban water because they are too effing stupid to remember from grade school that dihydrogen monoxide means two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen which is of course vital for all life.

letting big brother make the world a safer place for us means we no longer have to be aware of the world at large and thus a mass "dumbing down" of the populace. so when back in the 1950's we would walk past a house where little jimmy is poring over chemistry tomes and making bangs and flashes, people would say "that boy is going to be a great scientist". now they call the police and your possessions are destroyed or taken and your family has to be put in the spotlight with uneducated assholes whispering "there goes that terrorist family".

quicksilver
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You both have exceedingly good points and perhaps the use of the term "Nanny State" was an example of a label misplaced (I don't propose to speak for Grexy: it's just that I think he may agree more than disagree) and the terminology may side-track an issue for the need to have some form of controls on labeling potentially toxic materials from a larger scale agenda.
I don't think it's necessarily a "nanny state" mentality to preserve laws demanding clear labeling of ingredients for instance. Yet I (personally) don't enjoy anyone making purchasing decisions for me. What may begin as an attempt at preventing fraud ends up becoming a true "nanny state" mechanism & so forth. Many good ideas morph into over-bearing encumbrances when the intellectually lazy are permitted to remain in a decision-making role. However that generally gets back to individual responsibility!.

Where I live, we have an ordinance that demands a label (on industrial chemical products) be presented in two languages; thus the ingredients are often only available in an MSDS (at best!). The demand to cater to a voting block has resulted in a weakening of the availability important information.
There will always be a "dumbing down" of the populous when we allow someone else to do our thinking for us (IMO). We will continue to be vulnerable to this when political label identity is a marketing tool & we vote for the party rather than the person.

We eventually find our Senators or Representatives are ambulance-chasing lawyers or property development crooks from both our major political parties. We see continually a two tier justice system for "Celebrities" who get "house arrest" while the common man or woman goes to prison.
As our society becomes a Big Commercial (a marketing-tool Frankenstein), Truth & Justice become a managed and manipulated agenda rather than an agreed upon commonality.

-=Obvious disclaimer=- This only my personal & I certainly can be wrong: I'm not speaking as a moderator what-so-ever.opinion

The WiZard is In
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 Quote: Originally posted by quicksilver Y We eventually find our Senators or Representatives are ambulance-chasing lawyers or property development crooks from both our major political parties. We see continually a two tier justice system for "Celebrities" who get "house arrest" while the common man or woman goes to prison. As our society becomes a Big Commercial (a marketing-tool Frankenstein), Truth & Justice become a managed and manipulated agenda rather than an agreed upon commonality. -=Obvious disclaimer=- This only my personal & I certainly can be wrong: I'm not speaking as a moderator what-so-ever.opinion

I would take time to disagree. The politicians are only doing
what their voters want. Democracy in action.

Every-time something untold happens — the cry goes up — How
did that happen? Why were there no - laws - rules - regulations
to prevent it from happening.

The politicians every help full hear the cry and respond with —
rules-laws-regulations and their baggage.

Makers of the L-R-R's
Shakers of the -
Bakers of the -
Writers of the -
Interpretors of the -
Enforcers of the -

The current thinking among the political and Eastern Liberal News
Establishment
is to scare people to death. There being no
problem that cannot be portrayed as a crisis, for which the
only possible solution is — government action. AKA there is
no problem that cannot be solved by passing a law - promulgating
a regulation. If making it illegal does not work - make it more
illegal. e.g., Crack cocaine.

Time to did this out and dust it off.

Spilled Some Salt? Call 0SHA
By MICHAEL M. SEGAL
Letter to the editor. Wall Street Journal 9viii91

Decent people believe we should warn employees about hazardous
materials on the job. Governments at all levels have endorsed such a
"right to know" for employees, and the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) has written laboratory safety rules with
this in mind. Unfortunately, the results of the rules provide some
textbook cases of how good intentions can go awry.

I first became aware there was a problem when I read the label on
one of my laboratory chemicals. It read: "WARNING: CAUSES
IRRITATION. Avoid contact with eyes, skin or clothing. Avoid breathing
dust. Wash thoroughly after handling." This "hazardous" chemical was
sodium chloride, ordinary table salt. The supplier was carrying out its
OSHA obligation to warn of potential hazards.

There is nothing wrong with careful handling of sodium chloride. The
danger comes from a situation in which hazardous and safe
substances carry similar warnings, leading to scant attention being
paid to all.

As an example, a warning about skin contact is also provided with
tetrodotoxin, the highly potent poison present in some fish that is
rumored to be the active ingredient in the "zombie powder" Haitian
voodoo practitioners throw to paralyze victims. For many years,
tetrodotoxin was one of the few substances to come with a sheet of

Now, OSHA requires chemical suppliers to prepare and provide a
two-page "Material Safety Data Sheet" for all chemicals that might be
hazardous. There are even such sheets for sodium chloride, advising
the laboratory worker to "Wear [a I respirator, chemical safety goggles,
rubber boots and heavy rubber gloves" in the event that some salt
spills. Although the warning on tetrodotoxin is more severe than that
for salt, the effect of turning up the intensity of warnings on low-risk
chemicals is to blur the distinction between high and low risk.

The warnings about salt are not an isolated example of one
chemical supplier worried about liability. Here's another company's
immediately with plenty of soap and water, . . . Special Firefighting
Procedures: Wear self-contained breathing apparatus and protective
clothing to prevent contact with skin or eyes. . . . Waste Disposal
Method: Dissolve or mix the material with a combustible solvent and
burn in a chemical incinerator equipped with an afterburner and
scrubber. Observe all federal, state and local environmental regula-
tions." This "hazardous" chemical is paraffin wax-what ordinary

Now over-labeling is spreading from individual chemicals to entire
labs. I am currently being asked to hang a sign on my laboratory door
TOXINS AND ACUTELY TOXIC CHEMICALS IN USE."

A warning of acutely toxic chemicals is reasonable for my research
lab, but the warning about birth defects and cancer is overblown. It is
required because my lab contains a bottle of the drug phenytoin.
Phenytoin is one of the most commonly prescribed anti-seizure
medications. It is on the OSHA warning lists because pregnant women
taking several hundred milligrams of the drug a day have a small
danger of having children with birth defects and there may be a small
danger of tumors in the child. But these risks are low compared with
the risks to the fetus of maternal seizures. So, although it is recom-
mended that 1, as a neurologist, continue to prescribe phenytoin
through a woman's pregnancy, I must now post an alarming notice on
my door warning of cancer and birth defects because the same
substance is used in tiny quantities in my lab.

An institution can choose not to post room signs for certain drugs on
the OSHA warning lists. To do this, however, the institution would have
to make a determination that such a warning is not "appropriate." An
OSHA spokeswoman cautioned that since enforcement is done by
OSHA inspectors, it would be "prudent" to label all rooms that contain
any drugs on the OSHA lists. If the labeling of salt and wax by
chemical companies is any guide, we can expect to see a lot of
over-labeling of labs at corporations and universities.

There are several positive features of the OSHA rules: The best
example is the mandated "Chemical Hygiene Plan" safety books that

There are also costs to the regulations: New administrators are
being hired to carry them out. The taxpayers are signing a blank check
to pick up the tab for the increased costs at university labs, because
such "indirect costs" get tacked onto federal research grants. The
large indirect costs billed by universities have less to do with cedar
closets for presidents houses than they do with universities lacking
incentives to agitate for cost effectiveness of regulations.

I'm sure that those who drafted the OSHA rules don't put hazard
labels on their salt shakers and don't wash their hands after touching
candles. But when "right to know" rules are combined with vague
regulations, corporations and universities will limit their liability by over
warning. Such "Crying wolf" over trivia risks lowers our vigilance for
real risks. I is important to restore a sense of proportion.

Dr. Segal is a neurologist and neuroscientist at Harvard Medical
School.

----
The latest fruitloopery —

WALL STREET JOURNAL
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
JANUARY 27, 2011
Land of Milk and Regulation
Preventing the next dairy farm oil slick.

President Obama says he wants to purge regulations that are "just plain dumb," like
his humorous State of the Union bit about salmon. So perhaps he should review a
new rule that is supposed to prevent oil spills akin to the Gulf Coast disaster-at the
nation's dairy farms.

Two weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule that subjects
dairy producers to the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure program,
which was created in 1970 to prevent oil discharges in navigable waters or near
shorelines. Naturally, it usually applies to oil and natural gas outfits. But the EPA
has discovered that milk contains "a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-
petroleum oil," as the agency put it in the Federal Register.

In other words, the EPA thinks the next blowout may happen in rural Vermont or
Wisconsin. Other dangerous pollution risks that somehow haven't made it onto the
EPA docket include leaks from maple sugar taps and the vapors at Badger State
breweries.

The EPA rule requires farms-as well as places that make cheese, butter, yogurt, ice
cream and the like-to prepare and implement an emergency management plan in
the event of a milk catastrophe. Among dozens of requirements, farmers must train
first responders in cleanup protocol and build "containment facilities" such as dikes
or berms to mitigate offshore dairy slicks.

These plans must be in place by November, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
is even running a $3 million program "to help farmers and ranchers comply with on- farm oil spill regulations." You cannot make this stuff up. The final rule is actually more lenient than the one the EPA originally proposed. The agency tried to claim jurisdiction over the design specifications of "milk containers and associated piping and appurtenances," until the industry pointed out that such equipment was already overseen by the Food and Drug Administration, the USDA and state inspectors. The EPA conceded, "While these measures are not specifically intended for oil spill prevention, we believe they may prevent discharges of oil in quantities that are harmful." We appreciate Mr. Obama's call for more regulatory reason, but it would be more credible if one of his key agencies wasn't literally crying over unspilled milk. gregxy National Hazard Posts: 421 Registered: 26-5-2006 Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood Thanks quicksilver, my choice of the term "nanny state" was not the best. My main point is that "government" provides a valuable infrasturcture. Obvious examples are things like roads and the fire department. However I also think it is important to have controls in areas where it is very difficult or dangerous for the consumer to evaluate the products. Examples of this are the FDA, FAA and SEC. The problem is that government (or any organization) wants to keep growing and expand its function. This is a "natural phenomena". Currently I'd estimate our government has expanded at least 3 times larger than is optimal. As Wizard pointed out, the restrictions on chemicals are probably more the results of the over zealous media that is always looking for a story to sell. Liability lawyers don't help either. (If you tried to sell a chemistry set with real chemicals in it it would probably be impossible to get insurance for your company). entropy51 Gone, but not forgotten Posts: 1612 Registered: 30-5-2009 Member Is Offline Mood: Fissile I agree that things have gotten out of hand in terms of regulation, but offhand I can think of a few reasons that people at large have become terrified of chemicals. A short list of them: Times Beach Seveso Minamata Bhopal Love Canal Spring Valley All this has not a little to do with fear of chemicals. Chemophobia is not a completely irrational response to these types of events. quicksilver International Hazard Posts: 1820 Registered: 7-9-2005 Location: Inches from the keyboard.... Member Is Offline Mood: ~-=SWINGS=-~ No argument here....I remember Bhopal very well and I remember how hard the people had to fight to get treatment or "compensation": that what they called redress from major poisoning & loss of life. If that tragedy had happened in the US or UK I'd bet they wouldn't try to shut them up with a few dollars after many years. It made me very sad & ashamed of things I had dealt with vocationally in the past. Wizard/Gregxy: I hear you all. I apologize for taking the topic so far OT. I should have known better. [Edited on 4-6-2011 by quicksilver] The WiZard is In International Hazard Posts: 1617 Registered: 3-4-2010 Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood  Quote: Originally posted by entropy51 I agree that things have gotten out of hand in terms of regulation, but offhand I can think of a few reasons that people at large have become terrified of chemicals. A short list of them: Love Canal All this has not a little to do with fear of chemicals. Chemophobia is not a completely irrational response to these types of events. I agree Love Canal is a classic case of Chemphobia, however, it is also a classic case of BS outdistancing/replacing science. See the attached PDF. It dobe only one a many. Attachment: Love Canal Science.pdf (1.1MB) This file has been downloaded 1084 times Like many you conveniently overlook the millions killed by chemophobia fruitloopery. The classic case being DDT. The Econuts got it banned as it was believed to cause thin bird egg shells. Their believe system is - it is better that millions die each year from malaria then to have one egg shell be too thin. djh ---- Chemophobia is good business — invest your children. --------- Local families denounced the study, saying it would provide no comfort to mother whose infants had died from heart mummers and Down Syndrome. California Company’s Study Says PCB’s Did Not Harm Babies. New York Times 14i11 bbartlog International Hazard Posts: 1139 Registered: 27-8-2009 Location: Unmoored in time Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood The evidence for DDT causing thin bird egg shells was quite strong, as I recall. And DDT was banned in the USA, where malaria deaths are about as common as deaths from black widow bites (single digits per year). It is still produced and used in some countries as a way of fighting malaria. Furthermore, countries that have some semblance of organized government (Mexico and Vietnam, for example) have been able to fight malaria very effectively without using DDT. Those countries where it remains endemic are among those which continue to use DDT, but in general they are crippled by poverty and lack of public health infrastructure - so that the availability, or lack thereof, of DDT, is hardly the determining factor in whether they continue to suffer from malaria. The WiZard is In International Hazard Posts: 1617 Registered: 3-4-2010 Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood  Quote: Originally posted by bbartlog The evidence for DDT causing thin bird egg shells was quite strong, as I recall. And DDT was banned in the USA, where malaria deaths are about as common as deaths from black widow bites (single digits per year). It is still produced and used in some countries as a way of fighting malaria. Furthermore, countries that have some semblance of organized government (Mexico and Vietnam, for example) have been able to fight malaria very effectively without using DDT. Those countries where it remains endemic are among those which continue to use DDT, but in general they are crippled by poverty and lack of public health infrastructure - so that the availability, or lack thereof, of DDT, is hardly the determining factor in whether they continue to suffer from malaria. A cynic or liberal would note that the tree hugger's who oppose the use of DDT are well off white Americans and Europeans while those who die from malaria are thrid world minorities.... This from the NY Times ... granted you will find no lack of articles supporting - denouncing this. New York Times October 5, 2006 EDITORIAL OBSERVER The Revival of a Notorious Solution to a Notorious Scourge By TINA ROSENBERG Of all the wars in Africa, the most deadly is between humans and mosquitoes. More than a million Africans die of malaria every year, the vast majority of them small children. Malaria shrinks the economies of countries where it is endemic by 20 percent over 15 years. One reason the mosquitoes are winning is that the world had essentially discarded its single most effective weapon, DDT. But Washington recently resumed financing the use of DDT overseas, and the dynamic new malaria chief of the World Health Organization, Arata Kochi, has said that the W.H.O., too, endorses widespread indoor house spraying with DDT. This is excellent news for the humans in Africa. DDT both repels mosquitoes and kills them. It is the cheapest, longest lasting and most effective insecticide, and it will not threaten the ecosystem. Unlike in the past, DDT will now be sprayed inside houses once or twice a year in minute amounts. DDT was the most important insecticide in the eradication of malaria in the United States, and in malaria control in southern Europe, Asia and Latin America. With DDT, malaria cases in Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, dropped from 2.8 million in 1946 to 17 in 1963. But Rachel Carson’s 1962 book “Silent Spring” documented how DDT, sprayed over crops and over cities, built up in the ecosystem, killing birds and fish. William Ruckleshaus, the first head of the Environmental Protection Agency, banned DDT in 1972 for all but emergencies. This was the right decision — for the United States. Malaria was no longer an issue, and Washington needed to ensure that it would not be used on crops. But the decision had deadly consequences overseas. “If I were a decision maker in Sri Lanka, where the benefits from use outweigh the risks, I would decide differently,” Mr. Ruckleshaus told me in 2004. “It’s not up to us to balance risks and benefits for other people.” Yes, except that Africa’s malaria programs are financed by donors and vetted by the world’s health establishment, which is dominated and financed by the United States and Europe, where DDT is also banned. People in rich countries felt it would be perceived as hypocritical to push a product in poor countries that they had banned at home. Even malariologists who knew DDT could be used safely dared not recommend it. The United States, which used DDT irresponsibly to wipe out malaria, ended up blocking much poorer and sicker countries from using it responsibly. Under American pressure, several Latin American countries that had controlled malaria stopped using DDT — and in most of them, malaria cases soared. The other reason for DDT’s demise was donor tightfistedness. DDT has to be sprayed inside houses, an activity that needs to be carried out by governments. In most African countries, this means donors must pay. They balked, and insecticide-treated bednets became bureaucrats’ preferred solution. Donors liked the program because it was cheap and sustainable, as consumers would buy the nets — often at subsidized prices. But it has failed. The nets work — but even at$5, few can buy them. The most recent data
show that only 3 percent of African children sleep under treated
nets.

The eradication of malaria in rich countries turned out to be the
worst thing that happened for people with malaria in poor
countries. Malaria lost its constituency, and the money dried up.
Throughout Africa, until recently, countries were using chloroquine
to cure malaria, a medicine that cost pennies, and so could be
bought by rural families. But mosquitoes had become resistant to
it. And donors were unwilling to spend the money for effective
medicines.

But this is changing. The AIDS pandemic has raised interest in
third-world disease, and malaria financing has more than doubled
in the last three years. African countries are also learning from
South Africa, which doesn’t have to depend on donors. Since 2000,
South Africa has been successfully beating malaria using the new
medicines and house spraying with DDT.

Conservatives in the Senate, led by Tom Coburn and Sam
Brownback, have forced a revolution in Washington’s malaria
programs. America now promotes effective malaria drugs, gives
away bednets, and has brought back house spraying — including
with DDT.

Malaria soared because the forces allied against it quit the
battlefield. Now the humans are back.

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