Well, ok...so not quite. At least they don't admit it. But this is what they do believe...
WASHINGTON -- Utah's Republican congressmen say honoring environmentalist Rachel Carson with her own post office just isn't right.
Reps. Rob Bishop and Chris Cannon joined 51 of their GOP colleagues last week in voting against naming a post office in Carson's Pennsylvania hometown after the woman who in many ways spawned the modern environmentalist movement with her book, Silent Spring.
They contend that Carson's actions -- which led to banning the chemical DDT used to kill pests -- actually has caused more deaths because of malaria and other diseases spread by insects. DDT, Carson wrote, was detrimental to the environment and to humans. Some scientists say DDT led to the California condor's near extinction.
"Rachel Carson's sentimental book, Silent Spring, was a large part of the reason DDT was banned even though the evidence then and now demonstrates that DDT does not cause cancer nor does it do other harm to humans," Cannon said in a statement. "Millions of people, mostly children, have died because the world did not control mosquitoes with DDT."
Bishop's chief of staff, Scott Parker, says his boss has similar concerns - "That maybe 100 percent of the things Carson talked about and claimed as facts weren't completely accurate or proven true by science."
"The emotional environmentalism and politics tied to her name seem to make the naming of a post office a little too political, when it's something that should be apolitical and uncontroversial," Parker said.
Utah's lone Democrat Jim Matheson voted to name the post office after Carson, and the measure passed the House.
Scientists are still studying DDT, but top researchers don't necessarily agree with Cannon's argument that DDT isn't harmful.
Walter Rogan, a medical doctor for the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences who published a study on DDT last year in a British science journal, says that DDT causes cancer in animals, but it's not clear whether it would cause it in humans.
"We don't think it's benign in terms of human health but hasn't been shown to cause cancer," Rogan says.
There is a case to be made, he says, that DDT does affect humans in some ways, particularly causing premature births and also reducing lactation time in mothers. In parts of the world without clean water, the need for breast feeding is immense, Rogan says.
Naming post offices is one of the most mundane actions of Congress and are usually unanimously approved. Cannon, himself, touted a post office he got named in West Valley City last year.
Shame on these ignorant politicians that criticize a true hero, a woman that changed the world. Cannon, Bishop, there's something out there called science. I highly recommend learning a little bit about it...
If a mediocre politician gets a post office named after himself, why should we hesitate to name one after a hero like Rachel Carson? I'm tempted to go on and on about this...in fact, I talked about it and read the article in my classes today...but I figure you can go look up the facts about DDT yourself. And remember, politicians may know a little about politics, but that doesn't mean they know anything about science. Like all of us, they have a responsibility to learn before they open their mouths.