Bravo for New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who calls today for DDT to be sprayed in malaria-ravaged countries. Here’s the intro:
If the U.S. wants to help people in tsunami-hit countries like Sri Lanka and Indonesia – not to mention other poor countries in Africa – there’s one step that would cost us nothing and would save hundreds of thousands of lives.
It would be to allow DDT in malaria-ravaged countries.
I’m thrilled that we’re pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the relief effort, but the tsunami was only a blip in third-world mortality. Mosquitoes kill 20 times more people each year than the tsunami did, and in the long war between humans and mosquitoes it looks as if mosquitoes are winning.
One reason is that the U.S. and other rich countries are siding with the mosquitoes against the world’s poor – by opposing the use of DDT.
“It’s a colossal tragedy,” says Donald Roberts, a professor of tropical public health at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. “And it’s embroiled in environmental politics and incompetent bureaucracies…”
Science journalist Mike Fumento, among many other rational, anti-junk science researchers on the opposite side of the aisle, has been arguing this for years. Fumento reported in a piece five days before Kristof’s article was published:
Malaria and dengue fever, both carried by mosquitoes, are already endemic in many of the affected areas and disease levels could dramatically increase as they breed in the countless pools of stagnant water left behind by the waves. Mosquitoes that carry malaria come out at night, those that carry dengue by day. They thus kill around the clock.
Draining the pools would be terribly laborious, especially since mosquitoes can breed in nothing more than a footprint. The best answer would be spraying with DDT. Unfortunately, environmentalists have demonized DDT based essentially on unfounded accusations in a 1962 book, Silent Spring.
Yet notes Paul Driessen, author of Eco-Imperialism and senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality, “DDT is not only probably the most effective mosquito killer on earth, it’s also been tested for literally decades and has never been shown to harm people.” It’s questionable whether it even has any impact on the environment. There are other insecticides available, Driessen observes, but “they don’t have the repellency of DDT and a single DDT spraying lasts six months.”
He says DDT should be sprayed on water pools, tents, and on people themselvesblog comments powered by Disqus~ For the latest breaking news, be sure to join Michelle's Email List:Posted in: Uncategorized
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