February 9, 2012 5 Comments
Yes, we all know that the DDT ban has caused the deaths of millions by malaria. But there’s something far more important to us in the US:
The scourge of bed bugs has been spreading like wildfire, and they are really unpleasant.
Bed bugs were pretty-much extinct in the US, by the early 1970s, killed off by DDT. There was a steady trickle of new invasions, from foreign countries, but they never were able to gain a foothold…
…well, at least not until the Gingrich Congress of passed the deceptively-named Food Quality Protection Act, in 1996. What Speaker Gingrich and Senator Santorum supported, contrary to their current claims of opposing Big Brotherment regulation, was a law massively expanding the EPA’s power, resulting in a ban of almost every remaining, human-safe pesticide that was useful against bed bugs.
There was once a large pool of pesticides we could rotate between to keep bedbugs down, like DDT. Thanks to some unscientific hysteria in the 1960s, by the early seventies DDT was effectively banned, when bed bugs had, for that time, built up something of a resistance to it anyway. Perhaps years later it could have been used again it not for the ban, but at least that left us with other defenses, like malathion, pyrethroids, chlorpyrifos, propoxur, and diazinon, which kept the bugs at bay…until the powers of the EPA were so dangerous expanded.
This allowed it to essentially ban propoxur, chlorpyrifos, and diazinon, and other treatments on pure speculation, using the deadly Precautionary Principle, but no hard science, and make malathion illegal for indoor use. Left with nothing to rotate with, pyrethroids have become less effective — they never were particularly good to begin with — and, ironically, are particularly harmful to humans.
Our lives are flooded with misery that is the fault of coercive government, but that we tend to blame on other things. When you try to open the door to some small business and it is locked, for example, you can blame the local government’s insane regulations, requiring all businesses to have a door that can be unlocked in case of a fire; which results in doors being needlessly locked in the first place. Don’t even get me started on how similar regulations regarding shoes have caused a modern plague of foot fungus problems.
In this case, the “mysterious” resurgence of bedbugs is thanks to the EPA…and thanks to guys like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who give it destructive new powers.