Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Trust us, it's for your own good.

So-called progressivism is practically a self-perpetuating movement: In trying to solve problems in one generation, it creates new ones for it to solve in the future.

Ted Turner, Churches Fight Malaria

“But their new joint project has an even more ambitious goal: to stop deaths from malaria. The disease kills more than 1 million people a year _ mostly women and children under the age of 5 in Africa.”

See, this is a big problem because:

“In the early 1960s, several developing countries had nearly wiped out malaria. After they stopped using DDT, malaria came raging back and other control methods have had only modest success. “

…which is why, finally: WHO Backs Use of DDT Against Malaria : NPR

Hey, not all Nobel Prizes are for junk science.

Side Note: Forget the DDT ban; this Rachel Carson’s real crime:

Indeed, Rachel Carson was one of the reasons I became so conscious of the environment and so involved with environmental issues. Her example inspired me to write Earth in the Balance…” Silent Spring: An Introduction by Al Gore

Hi there,

You have an interesting blog. I would like to invite you to join our new community at We are a user generated political editorial and social network. We also choose from amongst our own bloggers to be featured on the front page. Come check us out. I think your voice would be a great addition to the site.

You fail to mention that the chief reason malaria came roaring back was that the parasites developed resistance to the drugs used to treat humans. You should have noted that in much of the world, the mosquitoes that carry malaria had become resistant and immune to DDT by 1967, so DDT spraying would only contribute to an increase in malaria, since it didn't work.

But finally, you fail to note that we have made strides against malaria in the 21st century chiefly because we've adopted Rachel Carson's advocated strategy of integrated pest management.

In short, you've got the DDT-malaria stuff almost exactly bass ackwards. And then you blame the woman whose arguments save millions today. One gasps to think that such hypocrisy can be unintentional.
Ed - Hope all that gasping hasn't left you too short of breath. Whatever I wrote was certainly intentional although I am puzzling over exactly how it can come across as potential hypocrisy (it's not like work for anything associated with Ms. Carson's name)

...but why waste your time telling me all this - sounds like your complaint is with that NGO member of the VRWC - the World Health Organization. Apparently they've looked at all the world's progress against malaria in the 8 year-old 21st century and maliciously decided to hijack that progress by pushing DDT.

Any kind of regulation/ban has attendant costs. If you have crunched the numbers and decided that the gains from the DDT ban outweigh the associated costs, so be it. I stand by my arithmetic that they didn't.(and, yes, I know the ban was only an agricultural one but politically it became all encompassing)

DDT is not a sole answer against malaria but it surely is part of an answer.
But Ed, thanks for reading and commenting.
MD Con:

Ed's right. There isn't a ban on DDT for use in malaria control, and there never was. There is a worldwide ban on its use in agriculture, and this a good thing for malaria control, since agricultural use of DDT was the principle driver for the evolution DDT resistant mosquitos. There are many reasons why malaria continues to be a big problem in 2008, but non-existent bans on DDT's use in vector control imposed by evil environmentalists is not one of them.
Anon: You may very well agree with Ed but it was MY comment that pointed out that the DDT ban was an agricultural one.

and you can set up all the strawmen you want but I never once used the term environmentalist, much less appended "evil" to it; there are many reasons for malaria's continuing to be a problem here in 2008 and I will continue to believe that the politically expedient non-use of DDT is a big (but not exclusive) part of it.
It sickens me (an environmentalist, animal lover and very politically liberal person) that anyone would choose the possible reduction in bird populations over the lives of 2,800 children every day - that is 117 every hour. As there is VERY little evidence that DDT and it's metabolic breakdown product, DDE, have health effects on humans, the possible decline in bird populations seems the only risk in using DDT to prevent malaria.

As to DDT resistant mosquitoes...
"So, even if the separate actions of DDT function at only a 50 percent level of effectiveness, the combined impact will reduce the success of entering, biting and surviving by 88 to 89 percent, and roughly 86 percent of the total impact will be the result of repellent and irritant actions; only 14 percent of the impact will be due to DDT toxicity." (Donald R. Roberts, Ph.D., Professor of Tropical Public Health at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland)
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