Three billion and counting
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Besides being a film producer, I have a preventive medicine practice in Los Angeles.  As it happens, California is currently leading the Nation in West Nile virus and I was being asked about it more frequently by my patients.  Meaning to only get up to speed on vector borne diseases, I found myself reading volumes upon volumes of studies on malaria and vector borne diseases. I was feeling like a budding Albert Schweitzer MD, wondering what I could do to actually make a difference.  Well, like Schweitzer, I could go there and work on one patient at a time, but from what I was finding, this would hardly be efficacious.

In February of 2005 I met with Dr. Art Robinson in San Francisco.  He had worked for many years with Dr. Linus Pauling and currently has his own laboratory where he conducts protein research among other studies. We talked at length about malaria, DDT and third world countries. I found him to be honest, forthright and willing to pour out what he knew. It was a lot. I inundated him with questions and he floored me with answers. He had to go check his messages and I sat there dazed and speechless.  I had difficulty regaining my composure as I did not want my shock at what he had revealed to me to show when he returned.  We said our goodbyes.  On the evening flight back to LA everything seemed surreal. I knew somehow my life as I knew it had been discontinued. There was no turning it back either.

I told my production partner, an environmentalist, about our conversation and she had a lot of trouble with it. Yet, she was hearing it from me and she also knew I had met with a very ethical and prominent scientist. We agreed to start together to research further.  The more I read about vector borne diseases, the more convinced I was that prevention, rather than treatment was by far the superior approach.  From what I could find out in regard to Malaria and other vector (insect) born diseases, treatment was the order of the day and had been for many years.  From what we could see, it was an abject failure.  Our research showed that the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe eradicated Malaria and many other insect born diseases from 1945-70 with the use of DDT. Prevention was the main or first line of defence followed by other measures - simple and easy. People were positive thinking, with an attitude of openness to space exploration, human longevity and fluidity of movement physical, mental, and spiritual.

Something happened in America in the sixties and it was not just Vietnam. The evidence of it is all there in the media during the Johnson, Nixon and Carter years. Suddenly, talk of research and science geared toward human betterment, anti-aging and other betterment solutions for humanity began to drop off the radar screen. Rachel Carson wrote a "novel" not a scientific study subject to peer review, but a novel, which was embraced by the American public with the docility and innocence of a Jew walking into Hitler's ovens.  Fear spread across the face of this land -- I could see this as I read articles, journals, editorial comments, ads in the New York Times suggesting mothers were poisoning their nursing children with DDT tainted breast milk.  DDT was allowed, a very slight amount, even in baby food. People knew little then about homeopathy and hormesis in which a small amount of something can be very beneficial to the immune system.  People became frightened, scared, marching, regimented and mob-like. 

The mothers and fathers of my generation really were duped and still have no idea how much pain and suffering they inflicted on themselves and billions world-wide.  Whipped into a frenzy of fear by Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, fearing cancer, fearing a silent spring, they were in effect, FEARING THE UNKNOWN. The people became afraid of the FUTURE, the unknown.  After Earth Day in 1970, it was clear to politicians that the public was demanding getting rid of the most innocuous of chemicals -- DDT. It was legally banned in 1972 by people who knew better at the time -- people who were "supposed to know". People who said they were protecting us and wildlife.  Were they?  Did they?

In order to find the answers we put together a team and actually traveled the world. Our travel time was a coincidental yet prophetic forty days and forty nights.  Why this ban on DDT? What have been the gains for the US citizenry by this ban? Why has no major news media worth their salt plastered these drop dead death rates all over the media?

We interviewed everyone from the streets of South Africa, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Panama to the US senate committee hearings in Washington and doctors, clinics, hospitals, NGOs, EDF, fighters for malarial relief, and on the streets of the US. Insect borne diseases are on the rise all over the world and a warmer climate exacerbates that rise. Malaria alone infects more than a half billion mostly women and children yearly with more and more deaths piled upon the deaths of the preceding years. Something was terribly wrong. This ban was touted by EPA and environmental groups everywhere as a "success" story, and is still being done to this very hour. But they are going to have to come forward with more than words, more than feel good, look good sound bites. The result of the DDT ban has been an unspeakable death toll -- a sad, deception riddled tale told by people who repeat themselves and just turn their mouths on and leave while spouting a hollow litany.  This sort of Tall Tale, the high story of such political stench should never be the result of a ban presumed to be life saving.  Our mothers and fathers should be ashamed, then outraged. The ones I have spoken with are. 

It took us what has seemed like forever to wade through junk science held up to be valid, to get to the hard peer-reviewed data.  There have been literally thousands of studies of every possible aspect of DDT.  What peer-reviewed replicated scientific data supports the ban on DDT?  NONE. 

Instead we found that DDT, the most effective chemical for preventing Malaria and a veritable host of other diseases (West Nile virus, Lymes Disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Dengue Fever, Lice, Yellow Fever, River Blindness, Elephantiasis, St. Louis Encephalitis Virus, Typhus, Chagas Disease, Bubonic Plague, Japanese Encephalitis, bed bugs, leprosy, and many others -- not to mention the many bird and animals diseases which are huge in number) was a scapegoat, a glorified whipping boy that had to go down.  DDT had to go down to satisfy politics, with a small "p" of course, resulting in massive reductions of namely black, brown, and yellow human faces.

Now, the threatened faces are lighter, whiter.  We admit that our parents made a grave mistake by banning DDT. They were scared.  What they did in ignorance we must redress with knowledge.  We will stand by our parents and help them make this right again.  Who knows, maybe that is why no substitute for DDT has never been found.

My friend, prominent psychologist, says "the unconscious guilt our parents carry in this regard can be terrible".  Unaware of the havoc and pain hasty actions would set in motion world-wide, our parents are perhaps being mentally weighed down without their even knowing it. No doubt the burdens of all those deaths are being born unbeknownst by the American people and those burdens are looming large. The carnage just goes on and on with no end in sight.  Even a malaria VACCINE in the name of "helping people" would STILL leave mosquitoes and other insects free to spread unbelievable numbers of other diseases --not to mention the astronomical loss of lives while we "wait" for a vaccine.  Billions do not have time to wait. Their voices crying for help have been silenced over the years but they are now getting desperately louder, shriller.

I heard first hand the sound of their silence and it was deafening...

3 Billion and Counting, a film I directed and produced as a result of this research is about the greatest crime against humanity that this world has ever known.  It is about the greatest human death toll in the known history of man, far greater than the holocaust and all the wars combined. It is time that we as generations of humans wake up and do what is right for humanity. There is no population explosion. It is about how we have been duped. 

What has been done with the stroke of a government pen, can be undone. How? By stirring up AWARENESS so that more people will come to know and experience the Power of ONE VOICE speaking as many…

Thank you.


D Rutledge

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Last modified: April 18, 2006