3 BILLION AND COUNTING Opens in New York at The QUAD Cinema
NEW YORK, Sept. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The QUAD Cinema, one of New York City’s leading art houses, presents the New York premiere of the provocative new documentary, 3 BILLION AND COUNTING (102 minutes), directed and produced by Dr. D. Rutledge Taylor.
Sure to spark outrage, Dr. Rutledge, a California physician specializing in preventative medicine, chronicles the effects of the world-wide ban on the pesticide DDT in 1972, a ban inspired by the first enviro-bestseller, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962). Rutledge’s five-year-long effort is driven by his revulsion at millions of deaths, mostly of women and young children, in Africa and South East Asia, by the mosquito-borne disease, Malaria. According to a recent World Health Organization report, Malaria kills one million people annually, a disease, Rutledge confirms, that is wholly and immediately preventable.
A naturalist and a die-hard advocate of preventative medicine, Dr. Rutledge, in the long tradition of American debunkers, wanted to see first hand the extent of Malaria’s worldwide impact, and to discover why policies are still in place that exacerbate the epidemic.
Dr. Rutledge and his Frog Bite Productions team, Co-Producer, Helen Udy, Cinematographer Aaron Krummel, and Project Coordinator, Russell Boast, take us on a 40-day investigative journey to South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Northern and Southern India, Bali, Indonesia, and Malaysia where they interview African and Indian Government officials, NGO’s, charitable organizations, scientists, politicians, doctors, victims, and survivors. What they discover is a tangle of red tape, misguided prevention policies, and treatment that is ineffective in the face of continual re-infection. Above all they find willful deafness to the pleas of local populations to help them eradicate the mosquitoes that deliver the deadly cargo.
Dr. Rutledge and crew head for Washington, D.C. to document how the ban came about and to shed light on the politics of domestic and international environmentalism and its role in the death and suffering of billions. Dr. Rutledge confirms evidence that the research leading to the world-wide ban on DDT was precipitous, uninformed and fraudulent. America’s decision makers — political leaders and environmentalists — buried evidence that contradicted their decisions. Dr. Rutledge builds a solid case that indicts our policies, regulatory agencies and uncovers deceit at the highest levels.
He interviews Richard Tren and Roger Bate of American Enterprise Institute and Africa Fighting Malaria. Paul Driessen author of Eco-Imperialism, Dennis T. Avery, author of Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastics, Dr. Elizabeth Whelan author of Toxic Terror and Dr. Gill Ross of the American Council on Science and Health, as well as Roy Innis and Cyril Boynes of the Congress of Racial Equality. These interviews are blunt — the information appalling, confirming again and again that DDT is essentially harmless and provides the best, if not the only, way to stop tens of millions of needless deaths.
But when the EPA, Greenpeace, The Audubon Society, The World Wildlife Fund, and The Sierra Fund refuse interviews, Dr. Rutledge knows he has touched a nerve. Those most responsible for preserving and promoting the ban on DDT not only evade interviews but demand to know who’s funding Dr. Rutledge, screening potential adversaries and in effect dropping an iron curtain around their work for all but those who agree with them — this nearly 40 years after the initial ban and in the face of mountains of evidence against them.
Further, the film adds clarity to the record by showing that the effects of DDT were confused in the public’s mind with the undeniably devastating effects on the environment and water ways of PCBs. Because both chemicals were in the news at the same time, the effects of DDT became linked with the harmful effects of PCBs. Environmental activists, medical experts, and advocates of its ban did nothing to eliminate this confusion.
In his dissection of the rise of the environmental movement and the fall of science, he drops one bomb after another — a reputable scientist is caught manipulating test outcomes to prove the adverse effects of DDT; the man who started it all, William Ruckelshaus, the Administrator of the EPA in Richard Nixon’s presidency, reverses his position on the harmlessness of DDT to appease the membership of The Environmental Defense Fund.
The documentary raises fundamental questions: whom can we trust; what do we have to know in order to trust them; and finally, will we make the effort to know it? The film begs us to educate ourselves. 3 BILLION AND COUNTING is instructive well beyond the outrage it inspires.
3 BILLION AND COUNTING opens September 17th and runs through September 23th, 2010, at the Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street, New York, New York 10011
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