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[afro-nets] AFM's response to the Berkeley study on DDT (2)
- From: "Jeff Buderer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2006 06:23:19 -0500
AFM's response to the Berkeley study on DDT (2)
I saw your group mentioned in Wikipedia.
I suggest that everyone take a look at this:
Below is an excerpt from this webpage I am curious as to how you would respond to this and the core point which is DDT because of its overuse in many areas has become ineffective, thus leading to its decreased use..
Supporters of DDT state that millions of malaria deaths are due to an international ban: 90,500,000 as of January 2006, according to the ever-increasing "deathclock" at junkscience.com,^ <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT#_note-39> and hundreds of thousands according to Nicholas Kristof.^ <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT#_note-40> Popular author Michael Crichton <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Crichton> states in his novel /State of Fear <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_Fear>/:
Since the ban, two million people a year have died unnecessarily
from malaria, mostly children. The ban has caused more than fifty
million needless deaths. Banning DDT killed more people than
One of the salient pro-DDT arguments is that the ban shows a lack of compassion for sufferers in the Third World: treatments were used long enough to eliminate insect-borne diseases in the West, but now that it is only needed in poorer nations in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, it has been banned. Paul Driessen, author of /Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death/, argues that the epidemic of malaria in Africa not only takes the lives of 2 million people a year, but leaves those who survive malaria unable to contribute to the economy while sick and more vulnerable to subsequent diseases that might kill them. Many African resources are tied up with the sick or expended in caring for them, leaving the world's poorest countries even poorer. While raising important questions about how the West deals with health crises in the Third World, the core of the argument made by Driessen and others is controversial.
Although the publication of /Silent Spring/ undoubtedly influenced the U.S. ban on DDT in 1972, the reduced usage of DDT in malaria eradication
began the decade before because of the emergence of DDT-resistant mosquitoes. Indeed, Paul Russell, a former head of the Allied Anti-Malaria campaign, observed that eradication programs had to be wary of relying on DDT for too long as "resistance has appeared [after] six or seven years."^ <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT#_note-Garret_1994>
Furthermore, the application of DDT that proved most troubling to environmentalists (and indeed, health officials) was in agriculture. Even as anti-malaria programs were reducing their usage of DDT, producers of cotton and other cash crops were spraying ever increasing amounts of the pesticide, further limiting DDT's overall effectiveness. As noted above, El Salvador actually saw its cases of malaria increase during years of high DDT usage, directly contradicting the claims of Crichton and others. ^ <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT#_note-Chapin_.26_Wasserstrom.2C_1981>
Some believe that if DDT were used in the way its supporters propose, it might do more harm than good in the fight against malaria. While some like to paint a picture of environmental radicals endangering human lives to save a few birds, Carson pointed out in /Silent Spring/ that:
No responsible person contends that insect-borne disease should be
ignored ... The question that has now urgently presented itself is
whether it is wise or responsible to attack the problem by methods
that are rapidly making it worse.
The general thesis of DDT supporters is that the alternatives to DDT are generally more expensive, more toxic to humans and not always as effective at controlling malaria and insect-borne diseases. However, the primary worry of many experts is not the usage of DDT /per se/, but its potential overuse.