Saturday, September 16, 2006

World Health Organization Finally Endorses DDT

Malaria has made a huge comeback over the years mostly because environmentalists have valued the environment over human life. The WHO knows all about this criticism because they buckled into it for years, to the demise of thousands:

The WHO acknowledged that it would probably be criticized by environmental groups. Kochi said that malaria was a huge killer in Africa. "I am here today to ask you, please help save African babies as you are helping to save the environment. African babies do not have a powerful movement . . . to champion their well-being," he told environmentalists.

While the utility of DDT as a malarial parasite killer was never in doubt, the main complaint against it is that it persists in the environment. In the immediate aftermath of World War II, DDT greatly reduced malaria in North America, southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Predictably environmental groups aren't happy:
The Pesticide Action Network North America in San Francisco took the opposite view. Spokeswoman Stephenie Hendricks observed that DDT was known to cause premature birth and developmental delays in children.

"When there are less toxic means to combat malaria, why would people want to inflict these additional health problems with a chemical they are presenting as a silver bullet, which it isn't?" she said.

Other chemicals like pyretheroids are used in some countries, but their effect is not long lasting. At best these chemicals can eliminate malarial parasite at a given period, but cannot prevent it from striking back.

In Zambia DDT is still used as a primary agent against malaria. In 2000, a study found that its use reduced malaria by 35 percent as compared to the years when DDT was not used. In Swaziland and Madagascar banning DDT spraying resulted in malaria epidemic resulting in huge loss of life between 1986 to 1988.

The malarial epidemics were controlled once DDT spraying resumed in both countries.
Here's the thing, anything that kills anything living (by neurotoxin, hormone disruption--bleach, for example) will kill humans in enough concentration or over time. But where is the proportion?

How can people claim to be for the little people and then push for withholding the substance that will stop a major confirmed killer, malaria?

1 comment:

Ed Darrell said...

Malaria has NOT made a big comeback -- it's been in decline since 1960, fortunately.

WHO did NOT change philosophy -- they've used DDT and had it in their arsenal where it was not used since 1955 at the latest, constantly, without break.

DDT was never banned in Swaziland nor Madagascar. Still isn't, in 2013.

These are basic facts that people should get straight before pontificating on the morals we should learn from the story. Get the story straight, first.