DDT no solution to malaria

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Syndicated columnist Walter Williams (“We are the idiots: Dire environmental predictions falling flat,” May 23) falsely claims that environmentalists’ urging of restrictions on the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is responsible for the death of tens of millions from malaria. He then uses this claim and others to attack environmental regulation and environmentalists’ warnings of future harms.

The 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants regulating DDT specifically allows its use in indoor residual spraying (IRS) for control of vectors of malaria and visceral leishmaniasis. Spraying the pesticide on the inside walls of dwellings repels mosquitoes that transmits the malaria parasite. Unfortunately, this also poisons the residents and the workers applying the pesticide.

While the health effects of malaria are more severe than those of DDT, the existence of other alternatives to reduce malaria’s morbidity and mortality, such as bed nets and nonchemical environmental management, led a panel of scientists from the United States and South Africa in 2009 to recommend that DDT “should only be used as a last resort in combating malaria.”

Most importantly, mosquitoes acquire resistance to DDT even when used properly in IRS. There is evidence that mosquitoes also acquire resistance to DDT from synthetic pyrethroids, a group of chemicals similar to DDT used in agricultural pesticides. So to treat DDT as a simple solution to malaria is simply wrong.

Rachel Carson’s struggle to bring to the public’s attention the dangers of unrestricted pesticide use made her an American hero and a worldwide icon.

Mr. Williams’ uninformed attack supports a regression to the days when people and corporations produced and consumed without knowledge of and consideration for the harms they inflicted on themselves, others and the other creatures with whom we share this planet.

Ayman Fadel


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afadel 05/31/13 - 06:00 am
Darby 05/31/13 - 09:36 am
The benefits of DDT far

outweigh it's detriments.

Anything you hear to the contrary is simple left wing "greenie" propaganda.

Cut and paste "evidence" to the contrary.

Fiat_Lux 05/31/13 - 12:12 pm
And yet, Congress protects the use of neonicotinoids

that very probably are a large part of killing off the worldwide population of bees.

We will survive about three years after the last bee dies.

RMSHEFF 05/31/13 - 02:21 pm
The writer would rather have

The writer would rather have 1000 children die of malaria than 1 person die from DDT. Liberal logic I suppose but than again most liberals are pro abortion also.

faithson 05/31/13 - 04:13 pm
cut off your nose to spite your face....

We here in America are still living with the consequences of DDT use. Gotta love those who deam all this 'green' conciousness as a one sided arguement. only shows the narrowmindedness of so many who listen to the pundunts to 'stay on top of things'...

RMSHEFF 05/31/13 - 04:45 pm
To only a few chemicals does

To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. In little more than two decades DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable.”
– National Academy of Sciences, 1970

dichotomy 05/31/13 - 07:19 pm
Death from DDT must be a slow

Death from DDT must be a slow death....ain't no bald eagle ever injested any more DDT than I did riding my bicycle behind the fogging machine every week, all summer, for 10 years in a row in the 50's and 60's. Now I'm 64 and I'm not dead, and I'm not sterile, and if I could lay an egg I don't think the shell would be too thin either.

If there is a chemical that benefits mankind, the environmentalists don't like it. They don't care how many people die of malaria but don't use DDT. They don't care how many people get termites in their homes and how much money they have to spend re-treating their homes with the short term, ineffective chemicals today as long as you don't use chlordane.....which actually worked. They don't care if the "alternative energy" sources they are trying to force on us don't work, can't supply anywhere near enough power, are prohibitively expensive, and do as much...different but as much....damage as carbon based fuels.......but don't use any oil based products. Apparently heating the air and cooling the ground with solar panel farms is okay and chopping up birds and altering the wind currents with windmill farms is okay.....but don't burn any oil....which actually works.

I'd rather suffer the slow death of DDT than the death of life as we know it at the hands of whacko greenie weenies.

bigj706 05/31/13 - 08:56 pm
Jake the Snake would be

Jake the Snake would be ashame

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