Images Of Poliomyelitis

Polio in the United States


Graphic Timeline: U.S. 1870-1998

Graph Sources

This graph shows polio in the United States in a context rarely (if ever) portrayed since Biskind, the environmental context. "DDT" and "DDT-like chemicals" are selected for this graph as the least complex way to represent the a broad overview of the evolution of the technology of, and potential for, mass poisoning. Some prominent organochlorines are chlorobenzene, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane). Chlorobenzene is a precursor, a foundational compound used in the production of many industrial organochlorines. In the U.S., high production of chlorobenzene began in 1915, soon after the beginning of World War I.

This graph is a compilation of new cases per year (not incidence, as portrayed elsewhere herein). The data for the last half of the 20th century was gathered from U.S. Vital Statistics. The very earliest numbers, from 1887 to about 1904, and the postpolio numbers, are interpolated from the general historical commentary regarding those periods (see bibliography on Homepage and NYC Health Commissioner Haden Emerson's compilations). While the graph is not perfectly accurate, due to changing methods of diagnoses and record-keeping within the medical system, it does give a reliable overall picture of polio cases in terms of known literature and records.

The source for the U.S. and Swiss discoveries of paralysis in calves is from Van Nostrand's Encyclopedia of Science and Engineering (1995), vol. 5, p1725. The phrase "Pesticides As A Panacea: 1942-1962" is a subtitle found in Encyclopedia Britannica, Macropaedia (1986). Refer to other graphs (Overview) for specific pesticide comparisons with polio incidence.

In 1915 Hooker Electrochemical began massive, unprecedented production of chlorobenzene (8,200 metric tons per year) and Dow Chemical began large-scale production soon thereafter. Chlorobenzenes are the basis for picric acid explosive used in World War I. They have also been used in the manufacture of wood treatments, war gas, herbicides, insecticides, bactericide, moth control, and polymer resins. (Mono)chlorobenzene is the base compound for DDT production. Currently in the U.S., 15 million pounds of p-dichlorobenzene production goes into room deodorants. According to Duesberg, CDC's investigation into Legionnaires disease ignored toxic cause and created a new false field of study regarding the Legionella bacterium.

The sudden surge of chlorobenzene production coincides in time and place (1915, Niagara Falls) to be considered as probable cause for the epidemic of central nerve system diseases that followed the next year in the New York City region. This epidemic lasted only six months, June to November, with 82% of the cases occurring in just 8 weeks. While polio literature terms this a world-wide polio epidemic, it was peculiarly a phenomena of the U.S. and was especially prominent in the New York City region. This is strange behavior for a supposedly predatory poliovirus, in an era, a continent, wholly unprotected by miracle vaccines.

The number of new cases for 1916 (40,485) were calculated by multiplying the U.S. incidence rate by the U.S. population. The number seems too high because of Naomi Rogers' statements that worldwide new cases in 1916 were 27,000, that two-thirds of world polio new cases were in the U.S. and that New York City new cases were 9,000. While this discrepancy exists, the data is still useful for showing relative case numbers and/or incidence for the early 20th century.

Both polio epidemics occurred two years after the beginning of a world war, if we use the dates of the epidemics, 1916 and 1942.

DDT and "DDT-like chemicals" are used to represent the major organochlorine pesticides and organochlorines of similar neurotoxic character. Most of the industrial organochlorines can produce CNS disease symptoms similar to polio. Refer to the Overview for graphs on DDT and other neurotoxic pesticides compared to polio incidence.

Critique of Dominant Images

It certainly appears, from the graph, that the vaccination programs arrived a few years too late to be credited for declining polio case numbers. The programs were close enough, however, for media to shoehorn them into their historical position. This quote from Time Magazine (March 28, 1994) is a typical example:

The great postwar epidemic peaked in the U.S. in 1952, when more than 20,000 children were paralyzed by polio and it tapered off in the early '60s, after the Salk vaccine and then the Sabin oral version were introduced.

This smooth, loaded phrase, framed with glossy photos and clever captions, goes down like lubricated jello. However, if we contain our admiration, and review the actual data, we realize that the great polio epidemic actually occurred from 1942 (or gradually, beginning decades earlier) to 1962, that is, it was not a "postwar epidemic". The epidemic declined not "in the early '60s", but a full decade earlier, in the early 1950s. Polio cases per year did not "taper off... after the Salk vaccine" as Time would have us believe -- new cases per year dove resolutely downward two years before the Salk vaccine field trials and four years before the vaccination programs were firmly underway. The decline of polio actually occurred after heated discussions regarding the dangers of DDT that began with in-house government/industry reviews of DDT in 1951, following Biskind and other's criticism of pesticides which began in 1949. These discussions were followed by a phase-out through industry compliance, a huge shift of sales to third-world countries, a phase-in of less-persistent pesticides, which was facilitated by legislation in 1954 and 1956, a renewed public image regarding the proper use and dangers of pesticides, the cancellation of DDT registration by 1968, and eventually the official ban of many of the persistent organochlorine pesticides by 1972 (in U.S. and developed countries).

Notice that while pesticide production directly correlates with new polio cases per year through every peak and valley, the Salk vaccine enters only after polio's decline. Salk's point of entry is not sufficient evidence to be routinely offered as proof for the victory of vaccines over the poliovirus, as Time implies, and as implied by Hayes and Laws, and virtually all other presentations of polio history in whatever media or educational forum.

The molecular biologist, Peter Duesberg, in his attempt to give Modern Medicine some credence with regard to virus causality (before refuting HIV causality with AIDS), apparently felt he could assume, in Inventing the AIDS Virus, that,

...the sudden, frightening polio epidemic that exploded in the Western nations, brought home by troops returning from the Pacific theater in 1945.

Yet a glance at the graph show his statement to be inaccurate. Polio was entrenched in the U.S. long before returning troops, and the increased polio cases per year correlate much more consistently with pesticide production (see Overview) than returning troops. A rise in new cases per year that peaked in 1945 can be clearly attributed to the government's release of war surplus DDT to the public market in 1945, not vague data about "troops returning from the Pacific theater in 1945". The troops were heavily treated with DDT years before the U.S. civilian population and as can be expected, in light of the poison-theory, the troops suffered unusually high polio incidence rates when compared to the non-treated populations where they were stationed, and soldiers based in the U.S. (Biskind). The unusual drama and rash assumption that fills this excerpt of Duesberg's writings gives a sense that he has taken the whole package of ingrained polio images for granted.

Pesticide Phase-out and Vaccinations

DDT and BHC were phased out from the developed nations and at the same time vaccination programs were dramatically credited with saving these countries from the ravages of the poliovirus (see Homepage). However, the banned pesticides continued with higher than ever total distribution in the under-developed countries thanks to W.H.O.'s anti-mosquito campaigns, where to this day acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), polio, and DDT/BHC still prevail. DDT application, DDT phase-out programs, and polio vaccination programs are all being directed in these countries concurrently by the World Health Organization.

Registration for DDT was canceled in 1968. and DDT was banned by the EPA in 1972 -- after the major organochlorines (DDT, BHC) had been gradually phased out of the U.S. market by the chemical industry and replaced with the less environmentally persistent pesticides, the organophosphates.



In 1983, via new legislation, DDT was allowed back into the U.S. marketplace, but only in pesticide blends. Within only a few months of this re-entry, a new kind of polio epidemic suddenly occurred. It was labeled "post-polio", the re-emergence of polio symptoms in former victims. This has involved approximately 600,000 victims and is the graph above. Like most of the data on this website, this correlation is not even a whisper in the mainstream media.

Central nervous system diseases other than polio continue in the U.S. and throughout the world: acute flaccid paralysis, chronic fatigue syndrome, encephalitis, meningitis, muscular sclerosis, and rarely in humans, rabies.

The harsh realities of government policy are stated in Casarett and Doull's Toxicology (1996):

Although government agencies and industry have been slow in their reevaluation of a vast array of pesticides in use, reassessment often comes in the wake of or concomitant with some recently disclosed adverse environmental or health effect.

This after-the-fact approach to pesticide poisoning is puzzling enough without questioning Casarett and Doull's careful usage of the words: "often", "some", "recently", and "disclosed".

The environmental correlations of post-polio are overlooked. Searching PubMed has been in vain. Recently, however, I found online a paper entitled "The Environmental Aspects Of The Post Polio Syndrome". It's website modification date is May, 1999. This article establishes a strong correlation between environmental factors and post-polio (see http://www.aehf.com/articles/A56.htm).

By searching PubMed on "environment and post-polio" a listing for the above article was found:

Rea WJ, Johnson AR, Fenyves E, Butler J.
Related Articles

The environmental aspects of the post-polio syndrome.
Birth Defects Orig Artic Ser. 1987;23(4):173-81. No abstract available.
PMID: 3620615; UI: 87299998

No other similar articles were found, and no abstract was available, although it presumably could be ordered from PubMed.

Poliovirus Presence In Post-Polio

According to immunity and vaccination theories, if anyone should be immune to polio, it should be former polio victims, however, numerous studies of post-polio victims have found evidence of active poliovirus.

From NIH's PubMed, four studies:

PMID: 7611631, UI: 95336052 (London, May, 1995) This study also quotes "a previous study"
PMID: 7611630, UI: 95336051 (Bethesda, MA, May, 1995)
PMID: 8818905, UI: 96415998 (Lyon, France, Aug., 1996)

Polio images are projected as if this data doesn't exist. It does not appear that money is being funneled into these kinds of studies.

Farr's Law

Farr's Law requires, for an epidemic to be a valid example of contagion, that the epidemic increase its incidence rates exponentially. Since polio has been ubiquitous since the beginning of human history, its incidence rate should have peaked long ago and universal immunity conferred, if immunity was ever required, and if the poliovirus was actually a predator.

Polio's non-compliance with Farr's Law is explained by viropathologists with a unique argument, the inverse of the argument usually given to support germ theory. The argument is that the poliovirus, which has been intimate with mankind since the beginning of history, suddenly became estranged from humans because of modern hygiene, and thus humans lost their natural immunity to the virus. So it is modern hygiene and the resulting lack of exposure to the virus that is said to have caused the polio epidemics to rage as never before. 

It is interesting that for only one brief moment, viropathologists are willing to become eco-nutritional types who appreciate the value of natural breast feeding and the importantance of the internal microbiological ecology conferred positively upon humans by dirt.

Three different promotions of their inverse argument follow:

(1) The prominent book on polio history by Naomi Rogers, where the inverse argument resides in the title, Dirt and Disease: Polio Before FDR.  The language style here is popular.

(2) In Textbook of Child Neurology (1995), John H. Menkes promotes the inverse argument with scientific language style:

Poliomyelitis... is less likely to be symptomatic in areas with inadequate sanitation, because poor sanitization is conducive to exposure at an age when lingering transferred maternal immunity can attenuate the clinical picture. (p420)

(3) In the propaganda film, A Paralyzing Fear: The Story of Polio in America. This was funded by the government and pharmaceutical firms and released in 1998. 

The New York Times (March 4, 1998) reviews the film.  It reinforces the fundamental tenets of polio culture, beginning with a quotation from a section that portrays a "vintage film clip":

"My name is virus poliomyelitis," intones a cultivated, sinister male voice, as a camera pans over fair-weather clouds from which a hollow shadow emerges carrying the silhouette of a crutch. "I consider myself quite an artist, a sort of sculptor," the voice continues. "I specialize in grotesques, twisting and deforming human bodies. That's why I'm called The Crippler."

Having dramatically demonized the poliovirus, the medical cavalry rides to the rescue:

...the epidemics grew steadily worse each year, with the number of new cases climbing from 5,000 in 1933 to 59,000 in 1952. Salvation came in 1954 with the Salk vaccine...

And the inverse argument is now fit to print:

The irony of the rise of polio in the 20th century, the movie reports, is that its prevalence was a result of improved sanitation. In grubbier times, babies and very young children developed antibodies to the disease, which had been around forever. A cleaner environment left increasing numbers of children with no natural immunity.

So The New York Times review concisely presents the standard polio images: the predatory virus, paralytic horror, epidemics, salvation via the Salk vaccine, and a unique exception from Farr's Law.  I doubt anyone at NYT actually wrote the piece, rather that it was supplied to the journalist as a suggested article, to be adjusted to the author's style, thus essentially a customized press release.

Graphic Timeline: U.S. 1912-1970

The graph below provides greater detail for the U.S. period of 1912-1970, and summarizes the vaccination issues mentioned above.


The Epidemic Intelligence Service

Duesberg's Inventing The AIDS Virus (1996):

[The CDC's] disease-control mission was increasingly being regarded as obsolete, prompting serious discussions about abolishing the CDC altogether.

The situation changed in 1949 when the CDC brought on board Alexander Langmuir, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. Langmuir was the CDC's first VIP, bringing with him both his expertise in epidemiology (the statistical study of epidemics) and his high-level connections -- including his security clearance as one of the few scientists privy to the Defense Department's biological warfare program...

...Langmuir and talked public officials and Congress into giving the CDC contingent powers to deal with potential emergencies... In July of 1951 he assembled the first class of the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), composed of twenty-three young medical or public health graduates. After six weeks of intensive epidemiological training, these EIS officers were assigned for two years to hospitals or state and local health departments around the country. Upon completing their field experience, EIS alumni were free to pursue any career they desired, on the assumption that their loyalties would remain with the CDC and that they would permanently act as its eyes and ears. The focus of this elite unit was on activism rather than research and was expressed in its symbol -- a shoe sole worn through with a hole. According to British epidemiologist Gordon Stewart, a former CDC consultant, the EIS was nicknamed the "medical CIA."

The Director Of Polio Research

The National Foundation For Infantile Paralysis (NFIP) used the "The March Of Dimes" to fund its polio research which lead to the Salk vaccine field trials in 1954. The Director Of Polio Research was Dr. Henry Kumm.

According to the brief sketch in American Journal of Digestive Diseases, May 1953, Dr. Kumm was born in Wiesbaden, Germany. He came to the U.S. via Britain and became an American citizen in 1945. He had spent 23 years on the staff of the Rockefeller Foundation for Medical Research before joining the NFIP in July, 1951.

In April 1953, Dr. Kumm replaced Dr. Harry M. Weaver as Director Of Polio Research at NFIP.

During World War II he had served as civilian consultant to the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army in Italy, directing field studies for the use of DDT against malarial mosquitoes in the marshes near Rome and Naples.

As Dr. Kumm is a prominent DDT consultant, there is definitely a conflict of interest for this key player in polio research.

Earlier in his career Dr. Kumm worked extensively on transmission modes of the disease, yaws. He also worked with the Jamaican Yaws Commission. Scobey refers to allegations that arsenic injection treatments for yaws had caused an epidemic of polio in Samoa in 1936.

It is not presently known to what extent these events also could have compromised Dr. Kumm's position regarding polio.

Timeline: U.S. 1945-1957

1945, DDT was released to public and aggressively promoted, against FDA advice.

March, 1949, Biskind's "Poisoning and the Elusive 'Virus X'" was published.

April, 1949, Biskind's study on neuropsychiatric manifestations of DDT was published.

1949 (approx.), Biskind was attacked with blatantly false data.

December 12, 1950, Biskind presented "Statement" on DDT to the House Of Representatives.

1950 and 1951, pesticide discussions began with government and industry.

May, 1951, Scobey's "Is The Public Health Law Responsible For The Poliomyelitis Mystery?", was published.

July, 1951 the first Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) class was assembled. EIS agents began movement into key positions -- in hospitals, government health departments, and media.

July, 1951 leading DDT consultant, Dr. Kumm, joined the NFIP, as Director Of Polio Research.

April, 1952, Scobey's "Statement" on the "Poison Cause Of Poliomyelitis And Obstructions To Its Investigation" to the House Of Representatives was published.

1952, U.S. DDT/milk studies found DDT causal for paralysis in calves.

1952, DDT and other persistent pesticides began rapid phase-out in U.S. and other developing countries.

1953, Swiss DDT/milk studies found DDT causal for paralysis in calves.

March 26, 1953, Salk vaccine discovery announced, after evaluation of 600 vaccinated persons (Patenting The Sun).

April, 1953, leading DDT consultant, Dr. Kumm, appointed by Basil O'Connor to Director of Polio Research for NFIP.

May, 1953, Biskind alleged conspiracy:

...virtually the entire apparatus of communication, lay and scientific alike, has been devoted to denying, concealing, suppressing, distorting and attempts to convert into its opposite, the overwhelming evidence. Libel, slander and economic boycott have not been overlooked in this campaign. (Archive Of Pediatrics)

1954, Salk vaccine field trials began. 423,000 second grade children were vaccinated.

March, 1955, Salk vaccine field trial declared "successful", HEW licensed the Salk vaccine. Salk promoted as "hero".

April 12, 1955, Salk vaccine began on large scale.

April 12-25, Walter Winchell, radio personality, warned of impending vaccine disaster.

April 25, vaccination program encountered disaster via faulty vaccines manufactured by the Cutter Laboratory in California, which were discovered by EIS. The incidence rate (17 per 100,000 for one month) was higher than with that found with other manufacturer's vaccines, yet this rate was not at all an impossibility since incidence rates of over 400 per 100,000 per month were found in Detroit in 1958. The EIS found 204 Cutter polio cases, by assuming contagion, and then highly publicized these cases (Jane Smith, Patenting The Sun) though only 79 cases were documented (Fields Virology). It was decided that because Cutter did not filter its vaccine thoroughly, that tissue particles had contributed to allergic reactions and live polioviruses. Vaccinations were halted. May 13, vaccination program resumed "piecemeal". Eventually over 5 million persons were vaccinated. Salk was demoted to "mere technician". CDC and EIS assumed control of vaccinations.

August 1, 1955, the "aggressive" James Shannon was promoted to director of NIH. He was formerly against the private control of polio research and vaccination programs.

Late 1955, March Of Dimes announced that since 1938 it had contributed $74,000,000 towards poliovirus research and $174,700,000 towards treatments for virus-diagnosed polio cases.

1956, the Gallup Poll claims that public confidence in the Salk vaccine is 36%. NFIP and the Salk vaccine are in a "valley". Vaccines are thoroughly tested by federal government, yet vaccination programs continue in the U.S.

1956-1957, NIH, under James Shannon, "takes over polio research".

1957, Salk vaccine promoted heavily, implemented in Canada and England.

By the end of 1958, 72,000,000 had been inoculated. Infants under 5 comprised 51.7% of all paralytic polio cases. Only 55% of persons, below age 40 were vaccinated (52 million). The poliovirus could not be associated with 26% of the non-paralytic polio cases, nor could it be associated in 14% of the paralytic cases. Considering that 47.5% of the cases were non-paralytic, this translates to 42% that could not be protected by the Salk vaccine because their polio was not caused by the poliovirus. This is an argument that all polio is not caused by the poliovirus.

1959, "Federal action" is used against a chiropractor to prevent dissemination of anti-vaccination information through the U.S. mail (CDC, Polio Packet, 1959).

To the present, the Salk vaccination program is promoted as victorious, and serves as a proof for the poliovirus theory. It also serves to bolster all other germ theories (regarding predatory microbes) and the general image of Modern Medicine. The pesticide theory is characterized as irresponsible and dangerous.

Needless to say, the charge that DDT predisposed to poliomyelitis was dropped after the disease was controlled through the use of vaccines. ...such irresponsible claims could produce great harm and, if taken seriously, even interfere with scientific search for true causes and realistic means of preventing the conditions in question. (Hayes and Laws (1991))

However, Hayes and Laws statement, above, is invalid because, 1) The vaccination programs are irrelevant to the decline of polio, while 2) pesticides correlate perfectly with polio, and 3) Dr. Biskind did not drop his charges, he alleged conspiracy "to convert into its opposite, the overwhelming evidence." The often published Biskind evidently was relegated to self-publishing after 1955.


The non-funded, ostracized theory of poison causality far exceeds all other theories in simplicity, exactitude, and directness regarding correlations within all data areas: dosage, physiology, etiology, epidemiology, economics, and politics.

The historical non-relationship between vaccination and paralyitic polio can be viewed graphically, in terms of the official numbers:

Note: Persistent (low biodegradability) pesticides are shown above. See Salk Efficacy Index for method.


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