Sunday, June 26, 2005


John Quiggin posts the following after a spirited but civil exchange of comments:
To sum up, as I said right at the beginning, there has never been a global ban on the anti-malarial use of DDT, mainly in the form of hut spraying. Widespread spraying of DDT has been abandoned, mainly because the development of resistance made it ineffective, and no-one serious is advocating resumption of this practice.

There is general agreement that where possible, DDT should be phased out and replaced by less damaging alternatives, the sticking point being the fact that these are more expensive. Within this general agreement, there has been dispute over target dates, protocols and similar.

Would any reader of Devine’s and similar pieces have drawn these conclusions?
Not even close. Let's see what conclusions can be drawn from this article by Tina Rosenberg in the New York Times on environmentalists and DDT:
In her 297 pages,Rachel Carson never mentioned the fact that by the time she was writing, DDT was responsible for saving tens of millions of lives, perhaps hundreds of millions.

DDT killed bald eagles because of its persistence in the environment. ''Silent Spring'' is now killing African children because of its persistence in the public mind. Public opinion is so firm on DDT that even officials who know it can be employed safely dare not recommend its use. ''The significant issue is whether or not it can be used even in ways that are probably not causing environmental, animal or human damage when there is a general feeling by the public and environmental community that this is a nasty product,'' said David Brandling-Bennett, the former deputy director of P.A.H.O. Anne Peterson, the Usaid official, explained that part of the reason her agency doesn't finance DDT is that doing so would require a battle for public opinion. ''You'd have to explain to everybody why this is really O.K. and safe every time you do it,'' she said -- so you go with the alternative that everyone is
comfortable with.
DDT resistance is mentioned only in passing but it is noted that DDT repels even resistant mosquitoes.

Quiggin should do the right thing and admit the damage done by environmentalists promoting a de facto ban on the responsible use of DDT.

And, isn't it politically incorrect, to the say the least, for Quiggin to use the term "hut" to describe the best home a bread-winner can provide for his family?


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