Friday Highlights

Wow, 60 degrees in the morning. Spring?

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3 comments

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Testicular cancer needs to be compared to malaria?

    No, the point is that those who claim “DDT is absolutely harmless, and Rachel Carson was dead wrong — DDT doesn’t cause cancer” are wrong in the start.

    That DDT is largely ineffective against malaria rather negates the ending, too.

    Stupidly false claims about the safety of DDT should suggest strongly that those who advocate poisoning Africa to health are probably wrong on all points, to anyone with at least 23 gray cells left.

  2. Mark says:

    Ed,
    Well, the World Health organization and the Wiki article on DDT disagree to any one with more than 23 gray cells left.

  3. Mark says:

    Ed,

    Specifically,

    DDT use against malaria

    The World Health Organization estimates there are between 300 million and 500 million cases of malaria every year, resulting in more than 1 million deaths,[68] with about 90% of these deaths occurring in Africa, mostly to children under the age of 5.

    Most prior use of DDT was in agriculture, but the controlled use of DDT continues to this day for the purposes of public health. Current use for disease control requires only a small fraction of the amounts previously used in agriculture, and at these levels the pesticide is much less likely to cause environmental problems. Residual house spraying involves the treatment of all interior walls and ceilings with insecticide, and is particularly effective against mosquitoes, which favour indoor resting before or after feeding. Advocated as the mainstay of malaria eradication programmes in the late 1950s and 1960s, DDT remains a major component of control programmes in southern African states, though many countries have abandoned or curtailed their spraying activities. South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique and Ecuador are examples of countries that have very successfully reduced malaria infestations with DDT.

    Indeed, the problems facing health officials in their fight against malaria neither begin nor end with DDT. Experts tie the spread of malaria to numerous factors, including the resistance of the malaria parasite itself to the drugs traditionally used to treat the illness[69] and a chronic lack of funds in the countries worst hit by malaria.

    The growth of resistance to DDT and the fear that DDT may be harmful both to humans and the environment led the U.N., donor countries, and various national governments to restrict or curtail the use of DDT in vector control. At the same time, use of DDT as an agricultural insecticide was often unrestricted, and restrictions were often evaded, especially in developing countries where malaria is rife, so that resistance continued to grow.[14]

    A commentary on the current state of global malaria control was published in the May 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The authors identify “3 critical factors that are currently absent or in too short supply” for making progress in the fight against malaria: “leadership, management, and money,” while making no mention of restrictions limiting the use of DDT. They also single out resistance of the malaria parasite to chloroquine as the cause of increasing malaria mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, not restrictions on DDT.[70]

    Today there is debate among professionals working on malaria control concerning the appropriate role of DDT. The range of disagreement is relatively narrow: Few believe either that large scale spraying should be resumed or that the use of DDT should be abandoned altogether. The debate focuses on the relative merits of DDT and alternative pesticides as well as complementary use of interior wall spraying, insecticide-treated bed-nets, and other mosquito control techniques.

    Since the appointment of Arata Kochi as head of its anti-malaria division, the WHO has shifted its position in this controversy, from primary reliance on bed-nets to a policy more favorable to DDT. Until an announcement made on 16 September 2006, the policy had recommended indoor spraying of insecticides in areas of seasonal or episodic transmission of malaria, but a new policy also advocates it where continuous, intense transmission of the disease causes the most deaths.[71] In 2007, the WHO clarified its position, saying it is “very much concerned with health consequences from use of DDT” and reaffirmed its commitment to phasing out the use of DDT.[72]