Two Against a Zillion: Brief Arguments Against Persistent Ecological Myths

The True Story of DDT, PCB, and Dioxin
Ekologiczne Klamstwa Ekowojownik?w
1. Szkodliwe mity ekologiczne
2. Persistent Ecological Myths
3. Eco-Swindlers
4. Pomaturalne uwagi o chemii w szkole
5. Argumenty przeciwko ekologicznym klamstwom

Two Against a Zillion

Brief Arguments Against Persistent Ecological Myths

author: Przemyslaw Mastalerz


One does not need many words to disprove the most frequently claimed ecological hazards. A few sentences are usually enough to deal with ecological myths described on hundreds of millions of printed pages in books, journals and in newspapers. The examples included here show that an irrefutable critique of a dozen of ecological hazards does not take more than two pages.

1. False: The agriculture does not need pesticides because natural methods of plant protection produce high yields of farm products

True: Without pesticides the yields of agricultural plants would not be large enough to feed the humanity.

2. False: The nitrates in soil are derived from mineral fertilizers. Nitrates are hazardous products of chemical industry which enter plants and threaten human health.

True: The largest source of nitrates are the bacteria living in all soils. Nitrates protect us from infections by bacteria ingested with food. In humans the oral cavity is populated by bacteria which reduce nitrates (salts of nitric acid) to bactericidal nitrites (salts of nitrous acid).

3. False: Incineration of household wastes pollutes the atmosphere and threatens human health.

True: The flue gases from incinerators contain less toxins than the ambient air.

4. False: All organic chlorine compounds are toxic and are not used by Nature as components of living cells.

True: About two thousand organic compounds of chlorine were discovered in living organisms, including several life-saving antibiotics.

5. False: The chlorination of potable water must be stopped because it produces carcinogenic compounds.

True: Nobody died from chlorinated water while dirty water infested with bacteria is killing millions of children.

6. False: DDT must be totally eliminated from the environment because it is a potent poison, dangerous to humans and animals.

True:Despite its heavy use in agriculture over several years DDT was never found to be the cause of human death or illness, whereas after the worldwide ban of DDT millions of poor people in tropical countries died of malaria spread by mosquitoes.

7. False: The elimination of polyvinyl chloride (PCV) is most urgent because of its extremely high toxicity.

True: Despite of its heavy use in a multitude of applications PCV was never found to harm anybody.

8. False: Many chlorine compounds which were introduced into the environment by industry are causing dangerous hormonal disorders, such as a decreased sperm count.

True: Papers on sperm count decrease by environmental pollutants were withdrawn by their authors.

9. False: Dioxin is a man-made poison.

True:Large amounts of dioxin are found in 40 million years old clay deposits.

10. False: According to a report from the Environment Protection Agency one molecule of dioxin is enough to induce cancer.

True: An average cell in human body contains 10 molecules of dioxin but there is no evidence of dioxin carcinogenicity in humans.

11. False: Dioxin is the strongest one of all man-made poisons.

True: It is a false claim. Nobody ever died of dioxin, not even Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian politician who was given a huge dose of dioxin in a failed attempt to remove him from political scene.

12. False: Increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is responsible for global warming with all of its dire consequences. The humanity should do everything possible to decrease the production of carbon dioxide.

True: Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have nothing to do with global temperature. Since the retreat of glaciation about a dozen thousand years ago there was a series of warm and cold periods. The last warming occurred in the Middle Ages while the seventeenth century was so cold that the Baltic Sea was frozen from coast to coast during some winters. The cool period ended in late nineteenth century and it is natural to expect a warming now. Cool and warm periods alternated on our planet during the last two million years and there is no reason to expect that the natural weather cycles are over. The annoying fact is that ecological organizations do claim that a catastrophic warming is imminent but never mention in their publications that alternating climate changes were taking place since the beginning of humanity.

13. False: The seasonal decrease of ozone concentration in the Antarctic stratosphere (the ozone hole) is caused by freons.

True: a decrease of ozone concentration at the beginning of Antarctic spring was found before sufficiently large concentrations of freons appeared in the air.  

14. False: A poison is a poison at every dose.

True: The life would not be possible on Earth if small doses of lead, cadmium or mercury were poisonous, because detectable amounts of these metals are present in the air we breathe and water which we drink. Another example is provided by carbon monoxide, a deadly poisonous gas. Carbon monoxide is present even in the cleanest air but does not threaten our lives. Living organisms are resistant to small doses of toxins which are eliminated by excretion or transformed to harmless products.

15. False: Electromagnetic waves emanating from electrical appliances are causing a variety of health disorders, such as sterility of men, insomnia, headache, hypertension, menstrual disorders, decreased lactation, inborn defects, circulatory system disorders, indigestion, cancer, cataract and several other disorders.

True: The causation of all these disorders by electromagnetic waves was never confirmed by serious scientific studies.

16. False: Several thousand people died of radiation exposure after reactor meltdown at Chernobyl

True: According to a WHO report published in 2005 fewer than 50 deaths could be attributed to the Chernobyl catastrophe.

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