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World Malaria Day and the Victims of Environmental Extremist

April 25th was World Malaria Day; it came and went without much notice and, unfortunately, the same fate is befalling millions of malaria victims in Third World countries. Huge numbers of people die every year from this disease.  People may talk about it or even send mosquito nets but it is not enough. We destroyed malaria here in the Free World why can’t Africa do the same? Simple, we won’t let them.

DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) is a chemical discovered in the 1870s and used as a pesticide since the 1940s; it is completely harmless to humans but kills huge numbers of bugs. We used it to virtually eradicate malaria, but in the 1960s-70s radical environmentalist, led by Rachael Carson, got this miraculous substance banned.


They claimed that it was deadly to people, to the ecosystem, and specifically destroyed the shells of bird eggs which killed them. The science was junk, it was conducted horribly and was fatally flawed. The only bit of truth was that DDT did affect egg shells but not to the degree the environmentalists claimed.  Even if it did kill these precious endangered birds it would be worth it to save the millions of human lives lost to malaria every year, but even fake threats to animals or plants are more important to these environmentalists than other human beings.

When nations do try to use DDT they are attacked by environmental groups and other nations alike, regardless of the fact that DDT has saved hundreds of millions of lives. But the idea that it is deadly has become so ingrained in our collective minds that people refuse to even learn the truth.

DDT saves lives; banning it has caused the deaths of millions. We have already ended the threat of malaria here, so environmentalists are free to pontificate about the evils of DDT while millions of men, women, and children die because of their sick aversion to this lifesaving chemical.

John T. Chance is the pseudonym of a student attending a state college. His interests are current events, political history, and military history. While a voracious reader, he has also written opinion and feature stories for his school newspaper.

2 thoughts on “World Malaria Day and the Victims of Environmental Extremist

  1. Why do you write under a pseudonym?

    A few of the claims need to be tweaked a bit for accuracy.

    They claimed that it was deadly to people,

    Rachel Carson warned, accurately, that the class of chemicals would probably prove to be harmful to people, though she found scant evidence at the time. DDT was more damaging to the environment, killing perhaps whole ecosystems.

    That was why DDT was banned (a decade later).

    Since then, we’ve discovered DDT does indeed harm humans — a contributor to Type II diabetes, an endocrine disruptor and contributor to breast cancers. Fortunately, DDT is only weakly carcinogenic to humans on direct exposure. But that’s the best that can be said for it.

    . . .[damaging] to the ecosystem, and specifically destroyed the shells of bird eggs which killed them. The science was junk, it was conducted horribly and was fatally flawed. The only bit of truth was that DDT did affect egg shells but not to the degree the environmentalists claimed.

    The science was spot on. Carson’s book carries more than 50 pages of citations to science studies. In the 52 years since, not a single one of those studies showing harm has been rebutted by any other peer-review study. In 2007, Discover Magazine did a literature survey and found more than 1,000 peer-review studies supporting Carson’s work.

    When Carson wrote, of course, we didn’t know about eggshell thinning. She wrote of the studies showing that DDT killed birds outright, that DDT killed chicks in the eggs (sometimes making them just too weak to hatch), and that DDT muddled chick brains so that many that hatched couldn’t eat or had other defects that caused them, to die quickly. Eggshell thinning provided a fourth path by which DDT hammered birds.

    All of that research is still good. None of it has ever been questioned by other research.

    Even if it did kill these precious endangered birds it would be worth it to save the millions of human lives lost to malaria every year, but even fake threats to animals or plants are more important to these environmentalists than other human beings.

    That’s a flat out misrepresentation of what Carson wrote. Carson warned that DDT use, if not controlled, would breed resistance in the target insect pests, as it already had in bedbugs and flies, and as it already had in mosquitoes in Greece and Italy. She warned that DDT would cease to be a very useful tool in the campaign against malaria, which involved temporary knockdown of mosquitoes in a region, coupled with campaigns to beef up medical care so humans infected with malaria could be cured before the mosquitoes came roaring back.

    At no time did Carson, nor anyone else involved in the fight against DDT, claim that birds were more important than humans. It was to preserve DDT’s beneficial effects that Carson urged restrictions.

    But she was too late. In 1965 the World Health Organization’s (WHO) campaign was scuttled by two developments: First, mosquitoes in Central and Subsaharan Africa were found to be resistant and immune to DDT, even before the campaign started. Abuse and overuse in agriculture and other areas had bred mosquitoes against which DDT was ineffective. That meant that the medical care campaign was more important, and the discipline required to treat no less than 80% of all homes in an area was even more critical. But governments in many of those nations could not muster the campaigns required. The WHO malaria eradication campaign effectively ended in 1965. For a while, WHO hoped a substitute for DDT could be found, but it wasn’t, and they formally ended the campaign in 1969.

    You’ll note those dates. DDT was not banned in the U.S. until 1972, AFTER the anti-malaria campaign had been scuttled; plus the ban applied only to the U.S., and only to use in agriculture. EPA ordered DDT production in the U.S. to continue, and all of U.S. DDT production was dedicated to export to Africa and Asia, to fight malaria.

    As a pragmatic matter, at peak DDT use, in 1959-1961, 500 million people got malaria every year, and 4 million died. Despite the end of the WHO malaria eradication campaign, by the mid-1970s, AFTER the DDT ban, malaria had been reduced so that only 2 million a year died.

    Today, 250 million people get malaria every year. That’s a 50% reduction from peak DDT use, and more remarkable because human populations in endemic nations has more than doubled since that time.

    Malaria deaths are fewer than 700,000 annually, and declining. That’s a reduction of more than 75% since peak DDT use.

    So, millions of lives have been SAVED since DDT use was reduced.

    Since 2000, WHO and almost all nations in Africa and Asia have adopted the methods of Integrated Vector Management urged by Rachel Carson in 1962 — reducing malaria deaths by at least 15% since 2000.

    So, if we’re going to say Carson should be held accountable, we’d have to hold her accountable for the 96 million people who DID NOT DIE of malaria since DDT use was reduced. Malaria deaths declined.

    When nations do try to use DDT they are attacked by environmental groups and other nations alike, regardless of the fact that DDT has saved hundreds of millions of lives. But the idea that it is deadly has become so ingrained in our collective minds that people refuse to even learn the truth.

    That’s complete bunk. The Environmental Defense Fund was the first group to sue to stop DDT use, on Long Island, and be successful at it. Since 1965, EDF has supported the use of DDT in indoor residual spraying in malaria-endemic areas. That is still true.

    No nation has been “attacked” for using DDT. Quite to the contrary, some nations that stopped using DDT because it didn’t work, have been attacked by brown organizations and corporate-funded public relations campaigns for failing to use DDT, although that use would waste a lot of money.

    DDT remains a deadly killer of entire ecosystems, and Africans haven’t forgotten that. When DDT runoff hit rivers and lakes in Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, millions of fish died — fish that the local human populations depended on for food. Thousands starved to death because of DDT (but many in those areas still got malaria).

    Where do you get such fiction? Have you been able to document that any nation was ever “attacked” for using DDT? Which one? Where?

    DDT saves lives; banning it has caused the deaths of millions. We have already ended the threat of malaria here, so environmentalists are free to pontificate about the evils of DDT while millions of men, women, and children die because of their sick aversion to this lifesaving chemical.

    DDT doesn’t save lives like it used to. At best, DDT is 25% to 50% effective at preventing malaria where it’s used with other programs; in contrast, bednets are considerably cheaper, and prevent 50% to 85% of malaria infections. DDT saved lives once upon a time, but no more.

    By the way, in the U.S. we conducted massive campaigns against malaria during the Great Depression, part of the New Deal. We put public health agencies in each county where malaria was found, to treat humans. We upgraded building codes to require screens on windows, for example. We conducted massive campaigns to get people to drain rain gutters, old tires, and potholes around homes, so mosquitoes couldn’t breed (they rarely migrate more than about 50 yards in their lifetime). By 1939 according to CDC histories, the campaign was a success, with malaria by then a rare disease in the U.S., and just a few pockets where eradication efforts needed to continue.

    1939. That was seven years before DDT became available to fight malaria for civilians.

    DDT was not the key to malaria eradication in the U.S., either.

    Malaria remains a problem, but DDT does not remain as a significant solution. If you’d like to fight malaria, instead of just bashing scientists, health care workers and “environmentalists” with false claims, you could buy a bednet and save a kid.

    Details here: DDT Chronicles

    Bednets here: http://www.nothingbutnets.net/

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