Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

DDT and malaria

with one comment

Kevin Drum:

Is DDT a banned substance? Answer: for widespread agricultural use, which produces increased resistance in many insect populations, yes. For vector control (primarily to contain mosquito-borne malaria), no.

For the last decade or so, however, a group of right-wing “sound science” advocates has been implying that the agricultural ban on DDT is really a blanket ban and that millions of poor Africans have died as a result. Why? DDT isn’t patented and is only minimally profitable, so it’s not as if the DDT industry is bothering to push this. So who is?

Short answer: the tobacco industry. Surprise! Turns out that the DDT disinformation campaign was really an effort to discredit the World Health Organization, which was planning a major anti-smoking initiative back in 1998. Discredit WHO on malaria, and you discredit WHO on its anti-smoking activism. And all the while you get to look like you’re standing up for millions of impoversished black Africans. Neat, eh?

John Quiggin has the story. Follow the links for more.

Here’s the complete pitch on using the DDT/malaria canard to discredit the WHO.

Also, see the Wikipedia article for a good discussion of the history.

Written by Leisureguy

30 May 2007 at 9:05 am

One Response

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  1. Thanks for bothering to get the facts, and for getting some of the key resources into one post!

    Like

    Ed Darrell

    25 July 2007 at 7:10 am


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