Africa Fighting Malaria is a FRAUD!

http://www.fightingmalaria.org/

A report about this organization of con artists is found here:

http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/does-africa-fighting-malaria-actually-fight-malaria/

Here is a blog entry detailing the attempts to smear Rachel Carson about her efforts against DDT:

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/05/this_week_in_the_unending_war.php

Here is a statement written by Michael Shaw and published on the Africa Fighting Malaria website about the matter:

http://www.fightingmalaria.org/news.aspx?id=1446

It’s well past time that a comprehensive review of DDT should appear, and the authors—all connected with the organization Africa Fighting Malaria [www.fightingmalaria.org]—have done a bravura job. Replete with footnotes, the work is accessible to the lay reader. The authors state in the book’s preface that “We are writing this book for several reasons, principally to set the record straight and to provide the public with another side to the DDT story.”
The book starts with a brief look at the origins of the chemical, and its remarkable success against insect vectors of disease, especially typhus and malaria. For this reason, Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Müller was awarded the Nobel prize for physiology or medicine in 1948 (“For his discovery of the high efficiency of DDT as a contact poison against several arthropods.”) The “excellent powder” designation comes from a radio broadcast by Winston Churchill.
Uniquely, this volume stresses the notion that there is widespread misunderstanding as to how DDT works to control malaria.
“[DDT detractors] argue that if mosquitoes develop resistance to DDT and it no longer kills them, the chemical has no use for reducing malaria. They would be right if DDT were primarily a toxic agent, but in fact it is primarily a repellent that acts secondarily as an irritant and lastly as a toxic agent. This means it is still useful in malaria control even in the presence of resistance to toxicity. Thus, a lack of understanding of how DDT works has resulted in it not being used and lives being lost.”

Of course, any discussion of DDT must include Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring. Central to Carson’s ill-fated anti-DDT screed is the robin story, tied in with spraying of trees at Michigan State University (MSU) in the 1950s and early 1960s. While Carson’s junk science on this matter has been attacked elsewhere, Excellent Powder takes no prisoners, and provides a detailed account.

The authors acknowledge that some robins died as a result of acute toxic exposure to DDT, and MSU felt that this was worth it, given their efforts to save thousands of trees from Dutch elm disease—a fungal condition spread by the elm bark beetle. As they refer to Carson’s take on the affair…

“She described events on the MSU campus by giving the reader a nugget of truth followed by wildly unfounded and fearful speculation. Carson was implying that DDT was causing the extinction of the American robin.”

Excellent Powder provides the simple facts:

“Historical data on robin populations on MSU campus show that Carson’s description of an “ever-widening wave of death that spreads out, like ripples when a pebble is dropped into a still pond” following DDT was false. Proof of error in Carson’s assessments and analogy is documented through a 1979 nest census and review of historical data.”

“Contrary to Carson’s fearful predictions, numbers of adult robins present before nesting in the spring actually reached record numbers on campus during years of DDT spraying. Carson’s fear mongering of DDT as causing “something more sinister—the actual destruction of the birds’ capacity to reproduce,” was pure fiction. Nesting success returned to normal after spraying stopped in 1962.”

Carson’s fantasy world did not end with the robin, however. She also claimed that DDT was behind the decline in bald eagle populations. The authors devastate this nonsense under the cold light of reason, with copious authoritative citations.

What a deluded @$$hole Michael Shaw is! That was revealed by several commenters, including myself,  at the Deltoid blog:

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/06/africa_not_fighting_malaria.php

14

From http://www.fightingmalaria.org/news.aspx?id=1446

My own explanation for the biased editorial policy of Science and others is that the journals are run by science nerds, who were likely unpopular in their youth, and feel that they can become popular and cool as adults by embracing fads of the in-clique.

Posted by: truth machine | June 14, 2010 5:35 PM

18

From the link truth machine provided:

http://www.fightingmalaria.org/news.aspx?id=1446

“[DDT detractors] argue that if mosquitoes develop resistance to DDT and it no longer kills them, the chemical has no use for reducing malaria. They would be right if DDT were primarily a toxic agent, but in fact it is primarily a repellent that acts secondarily as an irritant and lastly as a toxic agent. This means it is still useful in malaria control even in the presence of resistance to toxicity. Thus, a lack of understanding of how DDT works has resulted in it not being used and lives being lost.”

That is so rediculous that it hardly merits refuting. Why was DDT never described previously as insect repellent rather than insecticide before? Because that claim is not true, of course!

And libeling Rachel Carson decades after her death is just hitting below the belt.

“The authors acknowledge that some robins died as a result of acute toxic exposure to DDT, and MSU felt that this was worth it, given their efforts to save thousands of trees from Dutch elm disease—a fungal condition spread by the elm bark beetle.”

What idiocy! There were no other insecticides that could have done the job and were not so harmful to robins? Scientific research could have found them and used them, but I guess the makers of DDT would still have lost their profits. LOL!

“Carson’s fantasy world did not end with the robin, however. She also claimed that DDT was behind the decline in bald eagle populations. The authors devastate this nonsense under the cold light of reason, with copious authoritative citations.”

Let me translate that to the truth:

{Carson’s testimony did not end with the robin, however. She also claimed that DDT was behind the decline in bald eagle populations. The authors attack this evidence under the cold light of self-serving prejudice, with lies backed up by fakery.}

And that was before the profoundly unprofessional quote truth machine provided.

Africa Fighting Malaria is a fraud and should be put out of business!

Posted by: Dale Husband | June 15, 2010 9:42 PM

20

Dale@18: The bits you picked out regarding Carson illustrate quite well a common fallacy that exists amongst the anti-science movement. Within any given field they don’t like, if you have a landmark work that people keep referring back to, they seem to get this boneheaded notion that if they can disprove the original work, everything that has happened since will somehow come tumbling down like a house of cards. This is completely ignoring the fact that these works only get to become regarded as landmarks with the gift of hindsight, after they have achieved mainstream acceptance through independent verification.

Other good examples of this include creationists having a pop at Darwin and the climate denialists’ attacks on Hansen’s 1988 Senate testimony. Their obsession with old science just goes to show how out of step with reality they are.

Posted by: JamesA | June 15, 2010 10:52 PM

22

Within any given field they don’t like, if you have a landmark work that people keep referring back to, they seem to get this boneheaded notion that if they can disprove the original work, everything that has happened since will somehow come tumbling down like a house of cards.

Darwin’s understanding of inheritance. Modern genetics.

Evolution proven wrong, world 6,000 years old, blah blah blah!

Yes, the common anti-science approach is to assume science is like an arch – remove the keystone, and all of science will fall down.

24

Posted by: dhogaza | June 15, 2010 11:34 PM

She also claimed that DDT was behind the decline in bald eagle populations. The authors devastate this nonsense under the cold light of reason, with copious authoritative citations

Yes, it wasn’t the only reason, yet is a reason.

And, of course, the bald eagle isn’t the only species negatively impacted by DDT and related insecticides.

There’s a reason the Osprey has recovered, in areas where there’s been no need to build nesting platforms, etc.

Posted by: dhogaza | June 15, 2010 11:42 PM

25

That is so rediculous that it hardly merits refuting. Why was DDT never described previously as insect repellent rather than insecticide before? Because that claim is not true, of course!

But what about Müller’s Nobel Prize “for his discovery of the high efficiency of DDT as an insect repellant and irritant”?

Posted by: truth machine, OM Author Profile Page | June 16, 2010 1:04 AM

26

Paul Muller’s Nobel citation is: ‘The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1948 was awarded to Paul Müller “for his discovery of the high efficiency of DDT as a contact poison against several arthropods”.’

Posted by: David Petley | June 16, 2010 2:15 AM

28

David Petley, your satire detector and perhaps your general ability to read for comprehension is busted. I of course know how Müller’s citation reads — AFM quotes it on the same page I cited where they idiotically — and contrary to that citation — assert that “DDT …is primarily a repellent that acts secondarily as an irritant and lastly as a toxic agent”.

Sheesh.

Posted by: truth machine, OM Author Profile Page | June 16, 2010 7:04 AM

29

So between truth machine and David Petley, the credibility of Africa Fighting Malaria is totally blown to bits!

Posted by: circleh Author Profile Page | June 16, 2010 5:01 PM (Dale Husband: circleh is another name for me).

Two people tracked down the original publication of Michael Shaw at www.healthnewsdigest.com and busted him there too.

http://www.healthnewsdigest.com/news/contributing%20columnist0/The_Excellent_Powder_A_Book_Review_2.shtml

Ed Darrell 28p · 3 weeks ago

Carson’s work was “junk science?” Okay, I challenge you then: What claim did she make in the book (cite the claim and the page, please), which has ever been contradicted by any scientific study?

Tren and North have hoaxed you.  It’s not Carson who engaged in junk science, but Tren and North.

It appears Tren and North make a brand-spanking new junk science claim: That DDT’s value was in repelling mosquitoes. Not so. It does appear to have some repellent character, but it’s not so good as DEET, which is much less toxic, and it’s only a tiny fraction as effective as a bed net, which is dramatically less toxic, longer-lived in effectiveness, and dramatically cheaper than DDT in safe-and-effective use. DDT was valuable because it could knock down mosquito populations for six months or so, while medical professionals could wipe out malaria in humans. But it is impossible to eradicate mosquitoes; the idea was that when mosquito populations roared back, as they always will with DDT, there would be no infected humans from whom the bugs could get malaria to spread. Mosquito resistance and immunity killed that.

DDT remains so deadly that, as the National Academy of Sciences wrote in 1970, despite its astounding value, it must be removed from use, because its harms outweigh its benefits.


What a preposterous article – when the author throws around theories of science nerds wanting to be cool as his premise to debunk them you have to seriously take into account his/hers credibility. Also the phrase from the author in the article above “Nesting success returned to normal after spraying stopped in 1962” is a slam dunk common sense rebuttal to his own premise that DDT is safe -a.k.a “after spraying stopped – birds stopped dying”.
Anyone who has spent ten seconds in their own backyard knows our bird friends, bats and blue-jay’s love to gobble up insects – lets try not to poison their food chain and ours by introducing man made chemicals into the environment – it’s counter intuitive to all – except those trying to sell something – like chemical gas detectors.

I hope the HealthNewsDigest site does the honorable thing and fires Shaw for stupidity and possible conflict of interests. Then a few lawsuits filed against Africa Fighting Malaria will get rid of it too, if we cannot have criminal prosecutions against its leadership.
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