Thursday, August 09, 2007


Researchers have confirmed properties making DDT uniquely suited for use in the fight against malaria:
To date, a truly efficacious DDT replacement has not been found and one may never be found because of the true nature in which DDT functions. Success through the mechanism of spatial repellency means that DDT functions as a form of chemical screening, which stops mosquitoes from entering houses and thus breaks the man/vector contact at its most critical point: when people are sleeping in their homes. DDT's secondary action stimulates those mosquitoes that do enter to prematurely exit, potentially without biting and transmitting disease. Toxicity is only a third order action of DDT and it is considered to be a very poor killing agent.
In short, DDT discourages mosquitoes from entering sprayed homes, irritates many of those that do enter causing them to flee and kills some of those that land on sprayed surfaces.

Instead of celebrating the good new, economist John Quiggin has a big whinge:
First, it’s good to see [Africa Fighting Malaria] acknowledging the fact of pesticide resistance, which primarily accounts for the abandonment of large-scale attempts to eradicate malaria-carrying mosquitoes with pesticides. The libel put out by people like Steven Milloy and AFM founder Roger Bate, in which it is suggested that the failure of the eradication program was due to a mythical ban on DDT imposed at the behest of environmentalists, who callously caused millions of deaths, depends critically on ignoring resistance.
Contrary to what Quiggin leads his readers to believe, AFM has consistently highlighted the insecticide resistance problem -- see here, for example. Additionally, Quiggin is wrong about DDT being dropped from malaria control programs due to vector resistance. If this were the case, the World Health Organization's Global Malaria Programme would not be promoting DDT use; there's no point in promoting an ineffective insecticide, now is there.

Quiggin goes all negative about this study because he likes neither Donald Roberts -- a long time advocate of DDT use -- nor Africa Fighting Malaria -- a propaganda tool of the big corporations.

Anyway, take the time to read the whole Quiggin post: he's obviously more interested in scoring political points than he is in saving the lives of sub-Saharan Africans.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sgt Quiggles is a shocker. He's even a bad economist.

12:12 AM  

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