Tuesday, November 14, 2006


At the end of a post on the inadequacy of a correction from Christopher Monckton, computer programmer Tim Lambert takes a parting shot sure to appeal to his gullible lefty readers:
Monckton seems to fall for every myth that suits his prejudices. Look:
DDT: correct solution, limit it in agriculture but allow indoor spraying against malarial mosquitoes. Actual solution: give the inventor a Nobel Prize, then say the chemical is cancerous (it's safe enough to eat) and ban it, especially for indoor spraying. Result, only this year, after 30 million and more have died from malaria, has the WHO agreed to recommend indoor spraying.
The correct solution is, in fact, what was done. Indoor spraying of DDT was not banned. DDT is not safe enough to eat -- it's a poison if swallowed. And WHO has always recommended DDT for spraying. From their FAQ in 2005:
WHO recommends indoor residual spraying of DDT for malaria vector control.
Let's take a look at what Lambert's up to here. If you click on his first link you'll loop back to this site because he continues to bounce my links to his old blog -- copy and paste http://timlambert.org/2005/06/ddt9/ . (Anybody got any idea why he does that?)

Anyway, the link is to another Lambert post: Lambert uses internal links to make it difficult to track things down. In this second post he claims DDT can't be banned because there is a company that offers to sell DDT online and claims to have supplied a number of countries. Dates and quatities are not cited, so for all I know the sales were back in the 90s, with the DDT used for laboratory research. So, this is not proof there was no de facto DDT ban.

Lambert's next link is to the Safety (MSDS) data for DDT, showing that DDT is indeed toxic, with a lowest published lethal dose of 500 mg kg. This makes DDT more toxic than table salt but less toxic than caffeine and phosphoric acid (both found in colas).

Lambert's last link should be to this WHO DDT FAQ brochure but he links instead to another earlier Lambert post -- copy and paste http://timlambert.org/2005/02/ddt2/ . The link in that post doesn't go to the FAQ brochure at all , it goes here. (Lambert's readers haven't pointed out to him in the two days this post has been up that the link is wrong, so it's obvious they gullibly believe pretty much whatever he posts and don't bother checking out his links.)

Lambert again makes much of the fact that the FAQ brochure states:
WHO recommends indoor residual spraying of DDT for malaria vector control. 3
He does not, however, include the footnote:
3 WHO (2000). WHO Expert Committee on Malaria. Twentieth Report. Geneva, WHO Technical Report Series, No. 892.
The excerpt from the FAQ brochure is nothing more than a statement that DDT, if it is used, is to be used only for indoor residual spraying. The WHO technical report confirms this:
The use of DDT was addressed at the 1995 meeting of the WHO Study Group on Vector Control for Malaria and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases. The Study Group stated that DDT may be used for vector control, provided that it is only used for indoor spraying, it is effective, the WHO product specifications are met, and the necessary safety precautions are applied for its use and disposal.
Given the financial and human resources involved, combined with the potential for vector resistance and environmental concerns, indoor residual spraying should be used only in well defined, high or special risk situations. DDT is being phased out because of its previous widespread use in the environment, and the resulting political and economic pressure.
So, according to Lambert, the WHO recommends DDT use... while it simultaneously presses for it to be phased out. The guy either believes the nonsense he posts or he's a habitual liar.

And isn't it ironic he's included this nonsense in a post about someone else's inadequate correction.


Anonymous Annabelle. N. Smith said...

Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

6:31 AM  

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