Endocrine disruptors, such as DDT

September 27, 2007

The Alien Next Door describes some of the problems of endocrine disruptors released in the wild — like DDT.

Rachel Carson was right. Was she Catholic? Can she be canonized?

DDT poisoning at the Wall Street Journal

August 17, 2007

The Wall Street Journals editorial page continues to exhibit signs of hysteria that can only be described as DDT poisoning. DDT has poisoned their view of what to do about malaria. (The article is now available by paid subscription.)

Malaria is a nasty disease that kills more than a million people every year. It is particularly brutal in attacking infants and pregnant women.

Malaria continues to rage because western nations with the resources to fight the disease spent their money on other things in the past 40 years, because the nations most affected lack the governmental adequacy or financial resources and willpower to mount effective campaigns against the disease, but mostly because malaria is a tough disease to fight.

Malaria is spread by several different species of mosquito, some of which have habits or constitutions which make mosquito eradication programs much less effective. Human malaria is really four different parasites, some of which have acquired resistance to the drugs used to fight it. The HIV/AIDS epidemics in tropical nations have not helped matters: What used to be minor cases of malaria now kill thousands who have compromised immune systems because of HIV/AIDS.

Hospitals in far too many nations are overwhelmed with malaria patients, and unable to provide care for many who could be saved. Most of those who die every year could live, with better distribution of health care, and with better prevention.

A few people have been afflicted with what can only be described as a different problem: DDT poisoning. Their views of malaria and what we need to do to fight the disease are poisoned by their anti-science political views. For at least five years there has been a nasty, persistent campaign to impugn “environmentalists” and Rachel Carson, claiming that DDT is the answer to all the world’s malaria woes. Though DDT has been available to fight malaria since 1946, these people complain that bans on spraying crops have discouraged the use of DDT against malaria, fatally.

Below the fold I’ll fisk the short piece from yesterday’s WSJ. It’s difficult to keep ahead of hoaxers, though — today they’ve got another call for DDT use, this time to fight West Nile Virus. Ironically, West Nile is most deadly against several species of bird, some of which are acutely subject to death by DDT.

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