Saturday, March 19, 2005

# Posted 12:27 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE DDT MEME: Earlier this week, OxBlog gave some favorable coverage to a Nicholas Kristof column that took environmentalists to task for their habitural alarmism. It seems, however, that some of Kristof's evidence of such alarmism is nothing more than a myth perpetuated by the illiberal media.

To be specific, Kristof mentioned that a ban on DDT has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of preventable malaria deaths. But according to Tim Lambert,
There is no ban on the the use of DDT against malaria. It is still used for that purpose. This fact is not a secret. Kristof just hasn’t bothered to find out the truth.
Reader JE adds that
While DDT use in homes around doors and windows, etc., may indeed be an effective anti-vector agent, its widespread use to combat mosquitos in the long term has been ineffective and counterproductive...

One of the drawbacks of DDT is that insects, particularly mosquitoes, rapidly develop immunity to it. Thus bringing back heavy DDT use in tropical countries will probably have little or no effect on mosquitoes or malaria, but will seriously harm other elements of the ecosystem, particularly birds. Indeed, malaria was on the rise in many areas of the world already in the 1960's when DDT use was still widespread. Helping poor people in malaria afflicted countries acquire something as simple as mosquito netting for their homes and beds will do more good than giving their governments a green light to blanket large swathes of the countryside with DDT again.
Further comments on this subject are welcome, since yours truly is very much in need of education about the environment.
(1) opinions -- Add your opinion

Re: DDT Meme comment David Adesnik

Reader JE and Tim Lambert are right on in my experience of 40 years of farming, mostly organic farming.

For the most reliable pesticide, DDT and resistance information: http://www.birc.org/

and NCAP www.pesticide.org

For education is essential to understand some of these issues such as this DDT one that have been advanced by the LaRouche people in their zine, 21st Century Science. LaRouche is great at European history and analysis of what is wrong with US foreign policy, but woefully wierd about solutions involving scientific fixes, that in addition to promoting DDT as panacea and calling Rachel Carson an evil genocidist, advance spurious projects like land bridges over the Aleutians and nuclear power. Nuclear power is the dangerous one as LaRouche increasingly has the ear of desparate Democrats these days. Reintroduction of DDT for malaria control has been his project for many months. Check out EIR for his radically mixed bag of tricks and just try to separate the wheat from the chaff. This is a daunting challenge. Lon Ball
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