6.06.2006

Fox News Science Expert is *way * off base

Bogus science reporting from FOX NEWS
I was making a list of websites that had outright wrong and damaging content and was examining junkscience.com and Steven Milloy.

It turns out he is Fox's science expert.

He is an advocate for the use of DDT against Malaria because it kills lots of innocent children. Milloy says nearly 2.7 MILLION a year! (DDT is a proven carcinogen.) There are simply volumes of crap written about how great DDT is and how it was "demagogued" out of use. Unfortunately none of them address carcinogic effects except to deny it. DDT is also legal under WHO rules, so undeveloped countries can and do use it to kill mosquitoes and control malaria.


junkscience.com:
It is believed that [malaria] afflicts between 300 and 500 million every year, causing up to 2.7 million deaths, mainly among children under five years.
[Africa News, January 27, 1999] (I suppose citing an African publication is his way of getting out of being a responsible journalist.)


Here is what the CDC says:

The malaria mortality rate, from an analysis of field studies, was applied to these malaria-risk populations to produce an estimate of about 766,000 deaths among African children less than 5 years old for the year 1995. This model was recently refined to account for variations in malaria transmission intensity, and about 742,000 malaria deaths were estimated for the year 2000 [2].


NOW we know where Michael Chrichton got his figures. In fact it was this particular inaccuracy that launched me into the frenzy over the global warming denial issue.
Will you EVER believe anything Fox news has to say about science again?

2 comments:

  1. As a teacher you know that taking a statistical sample from 1995 and combining that with an estimate from the year 2000 means nothing when it comes to estimating the average deaths per year. You have two samples which state the estimated number of deaths in those given years. Nothing more.

    I am not sure where Junk Science comes up with 2.7 million deaths per year and it would seem to me that over stating the number of deaths would have the same affect on credibility as understating the number of deaths.

    Since both sources appear to rely on the World Health Organization estimates somewhere along the line I think it makes sense to use WHO as the standard.

    When reading the WHO site you will see that in fact they state malaria "is preventable and curable but kills more than one million people—most of them young children living in Africa—each year.” (emplasis mine)

    This is an undeniable fact.

    Further, stating that DDT is a known carcinogen is a ploy that is meant to overstate the risk associated with the insecticide. I could say the same about a host of products that are consumed by people on a daily basis but that doesn't make them all bad. Carcinogens exist and there is nothing you or I can do about that fact except understand what presents a safe level.

    You have noted that that the World Health Organization advocates the use of DDT to combat malaria. On September 15th 2006 they reiterated this stance. Given that they have studied the data and understand that the risks with using DDT are much less than that of the risks posed by the parasite isn’t it possible that perhaps the use of DDT would be a good thing in this case?

    I don’t believe they are discounting any of the carcinogenic effects at all. They are simply saying that there is a safe way to use the product. That is drastically different than the way it was applied in the 50’s with kids frolicking in the fog behind the spray trucks.

    I can only ascertain that your post is more about your hate of Fox news than it is about malaria prevention. If that is the case perhaps you should rethink the approach because this is sort of a dead ender.

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  2. The point of my post is that the post is that Fox uses a source with absolutely no authority. None. Nada, zop, zilch. They have done the same with GLobal Warming.

    I don't believe I said anything at all that discounts WHO or any responsible health or science group. I use them as a reliable source of data to refute the FUD.

    Stating the DDT is a carcinogen is a PLOY? Why? Because you don't just drop dead immediately? Who in the world is judging the risk associated? You can put it on your ceral for all I care but I don't want to pick up the social cost of people who expose themselves unnecessarily.

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