As noted earlier, The World Science Podcast, a co-production of BBC World Service, Public Radio International, and WGBH, the other day ran an interview and discussion with entomologist May Berenbaum where she responded to questions concerning DDT and malaria. Now since I've written quite a few DDT posts, Tim Lambert admirer Ed Darrell dared me to get involved:
Got any guts? Why not go ask a question?So I did:
It appears that you are not an authority on DDT, malaria and mosquitoes. Why then do you think PRI [Public Radio International] chose to interview you for a "reality check" on the need for, and dangers of, DDT, rather than someone with actual expertise in such matters, Donald Roberts, for example?My comment was not posted and the discussion is now -- four days later -- closed:
In his introduction the PRI interviewer says that environmental activists are worried that DDT use in Uganda will kill people. Are you aware of any human deaths directly attributable to DDT? How likely is DDT IRS to kill people or even make them ill, in your opinion?
Your 2005 Washington Post essay says that indoor DDT spraying led "to the evolution of resistance 40 years ago and will almost certainly lead to it again in many places unless resistance monitoring and management strategies are put into place." Please cite some of the many examples of DDT resistance, and elaborate on the magnitude of the problem of resistance, resulting from indoor spraying of DDT.
Can you think of anyone likely to influence malaria policy either at a national of international level who advocates DDT spraying for malaria to the exclusion of all other insecticides and methods (for example, bed-nets)?
On a separate but related topic, is it correct to regard yellow fever control strategies implemented in Panama associated with the construction of the canal as the first well-documentent example of integrated pest management?
Thanks to all who commented on this complex and challenging issue. It’s amazing that, on the 70th anniversary of the discovery of its insecticidal properties in a laboratory in Switzerland, DDT continues to make headlines and create controversy. In closing, I’d just like to make the plea that parties on all sides of this issue remember to take advantage of seven decades of acquired knowledge about DDT’s strengths and weaknesses and make decisions based on data–not only with respect to DDT use in Africa for malaria but for pest management problems around the world.The podcast of the Berenbaum interview is described by PRI as a DDT "reality check" when it's actually the same old leftist anti-DDT crap. No-boat-rocking-allowed. By the way, PRI has yet to answer an email asking if the comment would be posted.
Fact averse American educator Ed Darrell and I discuss the Berenbaum post here. Read it and marvel at a leftist DDT-hater's twisted thinking.