GreenMedInfo.com published some data on Polio…
DDT vs Polio (1945-1953) In the graph below, I provide confirmation of Biskind’s observations for 1945-1953, in terms of polio incidence and pesticide production. I have utilized pesticide data from Hayes and Laws which they had derived from US Tariff Commission data. Polio incidence data was gathered from US Vital Statistics., Although I argue herein against Hayes’ characterization of Biskind’s work, credit goes to Hayes for publishing arcane pesticide data. All graphs refer to paralytic polio.
Biskind also describes physiological evidence of DDT poisoning that resembles polio physiology:
Particularly relevant to recent aspects of this problem are neglected studies by Lillie and his collaborators of the National Institutes of Health, published in 1944 and 1947 respectively, which showed that DDT may produce degeneration of the anterior horn cells of the spinal cord in animals. These changes do not occur regularly in exposed animals any more than they do in human beings, but they do appear often enough to be significant.
He continues, bearing his exasperation in trying to make the obvious plain.
When the population is exposed to a chemical agent known to produce in animals lesions in the spinal cord resembling those in human polio, and thereafter the latter disease increases sharply in incidence and maintains its epidemic character year after year, is it unreasonable to suspect an etiologic relationship?
Before finding Biskind’s work, I had spent months engaged in a nearly futile search for the physiology of acute DDT poisoning. I began to sense that American DDT literature as a whole intends to convey that DDT is not dangerous except with regard to its general environmental effects due to persistent bioaccumulation, and that the physiology of acute DDT poisoning is therefore trivial. DDT literature uniformly jumps from descriptions of symptoms, over physiology, to the biochemistry of DDT-caused dysfunction in nerve tissue.
It was as though detectives had come upon a mass-murder scene and immediately became obsessed with the biochemistry of dying cells around bullet holes, while ignoring the bullet holes.
Eventually, I did find a German study of the physiology of acute DDT poisoning, by Daniel Dresden. (Physiological Investigations Into The Action Of DDT, G.W. Van Der Wiel & Co., 1949) This study confirms that DDT poisoning often causes polio-like physiology:
Conspicuous histological degeneration was, however, often found in the central nervous system. The most striking ones were found in the cerebellum, mainly in the nucleus dentatus and the cortex cells. Among other things an increase of the neuroglia and a necrotic degeneration and resorption of ganglionic cells was found. The Purkinje cells were less seriously affected than the other neurons. Also in the spinal cord abnormalities of a degenerative nature were found.
…such changes were not found invariably… there is neither an obvious relation between the size and spreading of the lesion and the quantity of DDT applied… information of adequate precision about the nature of the anomalies is lacking.
So we find that especially the cerebellum and the spinal cord are histologically affected by DDT.
And more recently, in the works of Ralph Scobey, MD, I found that from ancient times to the early 20th century, the symptoms and physiology of paralytic poliomyelitis were often described as the results of poisoning. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that the word “poliomyelitis” became the designation for the paralytic effects of both severe poisoning and polio-like diseases assumed to be germ-caused.
In contemporary Britain, a farmer-turned-scientist, Mark Purdey, has found substantial evidence that Mad Cow Disease, a form of polio-like encephalitis, was caused by a government-mandated cattle treatment consisting of organophosphate pesticide and a compound similar to thalidomide. Unlike most scientists, Mark Purdey became legally embroiled with the government during his research.
Morton S. Biskind had the courage to write about humans. His views fell into disfavor after the introduction of the polio vaccines, which was a grand act that proved in most people’s minds that polio was caused by a virus. By October, 1955, Biskind, whose works had been published in established medical journals and who testified before the Senate on the dangers of pesticides, was forced to self-publish his writings, one of which I found while browsing through an old card catalog. A scan of Medline/Pubmed found no other works by him except for a very tame article in 1972, warning that diseases incurred during a patient’s stay in a hospital are not necessarily due to microbes. He died not long thereafter, in his late 60s. I don’t have the precise date of death, though his birth was in 1906.
A Contemporary Study
Below are three graphs that confirm Biskind, utilizing data that spans far beyond his observations. Due to the paucity of data regarding pesticide exposure and locale, these findings of production data are presented as an indication of exposure, keeping in mind the great changes in public awareness and legislation beginning circa 1950, which also served to reduce DDT exposure. Pesticide production data comes from Hayes and Laws.
DDT vs Polio (1940-1970)
In this graph I did not include DDT data for the period of 1954 onward because DDT distribution was then being shifted out of the U.S. and into developing nations, while its U.S. production skyrocketed.
Governmental hearings, including those with Biskind, Scobey and others, brought about greater awareness of DDT dangers, as well as better labeling and handling methods. Due to public governmental debate in 1949-51 and numerous policy and legislative changes afterward, DDT production figures after these dates do not correlate with US usage or exposure to DDT.,,
DDT Before 1950
Before 1950, DDT was hailed as a miracle of progress that was virtually non-toxic to humans, in spite of FDA’s warnings and attempts to keep it off the market. This photo on the left is one of several similar photos from Zimmerman, et al, DDT: Killer of Killers (1946). The advertisement on the right is from an unknown source, though it appears to be circa 1954.
Other photos in Zimmerman advocate 5% DDT solution sprayed directly on dairy cows (body, feed, and water):
Full story here via Everything You Learned About The Cause of Polio Is Wrong