Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Rachel Carson Should have REMAINED Silent

Ronald Bailey in Reason 6/12/02

In 1943 Venezuela had 8,171,115 cases of malaria; by 1958, after the use of DDT, the number was down to 800. India, which had over 10 million cases of malaria in 1935, had 285,962 in 1969. In Italy the number of malaria cases dropped from 411,602 in 1945 to only 37 in 1968.
Okay, I don't like the way Mr. Bailey skewed the statistics with different base years and periods, but they are telling. DDT worked.

The scientific controversy over the effects of DDT on wildlife, especially birds, still vexes researchers. In the late 1960s, some researchers concluded that exposure to DDT caused eggshell thinning in some bird species, especially raptors such as eagles and peregrine falcons. Thinner shells meant fewer hatchlings and declining numbers. But researchers also found that other bird species, such as quail, pheasants, and chickens, were unaffected even by large doses DDT.
Okay, I was indoctinated with the "eagle egg" issue in High School and College. DDT BAD..HURTS EAGLES. What they didn't say was that DDT was the cheapest/most effective solution to malaria the world had seen. They didn't say by banning DDT millions of HUMANS WILL DIE from malaria.

Meanwhile, Carson’s disciples have managed to persuade many poor countries to stop using DDT against mosquitoes. The result has been an enormous increase in the number of people dying of malaria each year. Today malaria infects between 300 million and 500 million people annually, killing as many 2.7 million of them. Anti-DDT activists who tried to have the new U.N. treaty on persistent organic pollutants totally ban DDT have stepped back recently from their ideological campaign, conceding that poor countries should be able to use DDT to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
If DDT is sooo baaad why is it ok for poor countries? They can avoid malaria and then get cancer?? Which is worse??? Okay... maybe the Carsonites have figured out there is no additional cancer risk by the use of DDT, and also have started to smell the bodies which have been piled up at the feet of their prophet.


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