The DDT Debate

Last October I linked to a column by Roger Kerr on how many green crusades have been responsible for human misery and environmental damage.

Specifc reference was made to the campaign against DDT with the ideological ban on its use leading to a resurgence in malaria and an estimated 50 million deaths.

Of course many many people attacked such a notion.

Last week the New York Times reported WHO was supporting wider use of DDT across Africa:

The World Health Organization on Friday forcefully endorsed wider use of the insecticide DDT across Africa to exterminate and repel the mosquitoes that cause malaria.

Dr. Arata Kochi, who leads the group’s global malaria program, unequivocally declared at a news conference on Friday that DDT was the most effective insecticide against malaria and that it posed no health risk when sprayed in small amounts on the inner walls of people’s homes. Expanding its use is essential to reviving the flagging international campaign to control the disease, he said.

Too many countries in Africa have shied away from DDT, Dr. Kochi said, because of the nasty environmental reputation it earned in an earlier era when it was widely sprayed on crops — dangers that do not apply when spraying small amounts indoors.

This again highlights what Kerr was saying. Even today some environmental groups are oppossing the use of DDT in Africa, despite the many lives it may save. Their policy remains all pesticides are bad.

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