Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Bring back DDT

DDT may not have been the friendliest chemical about, but its effects were always far better than dying in agony from Malaria. Its ban was a retrograde step for humanity, but the good news is that it could be swiftly and effectively reintroduced. Back in the 1960s, by spraying the Malaria swamps with DDT, we pretty well had the disease under control. Then it all changed.

As the Indie reports today, the evolution of a Malaria parasite that has developed immunity to our most effective anti-Malarial drug must be on concern to us all. Even in Europe. Mussolini helped clear Italy of Malaria during the Fascist era, but if climate change means that it's moving north again, before long they'll be hanging mosquito nets in Lewes and Gillingham.

The problem is, to revert the parasite back to type, to keep the effectiveness of our sole anti-Malarial, we need to allow a million Cambodians to die in agony. This can save many millions of Africans, and perhaps our European children too.

But if we end the global ban on DDT imposed by the Stockholm Convention, the price may be much, much lower.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Climate change bringing back malaria is likely a fanciful scare story; malaria isn't intrinsically specific to tropical countries, it used to be common enough in the UK and most of North America. It's just that there are some very poor countries in the tropics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_malaria#Origin_and_early_history

Also, not sure what the issue is with the Stockholm Convention? It specifically permits the use of DDT for mosquito control.

Anonymous said...

In fact here http://www.malaria.org/DDTpage.html is the Malaria Foundation jubilant about the Stockholm Convention:

"The outcome of the treaty is arguably better than the status quo going into the negotiations over two years ago. For the first time, there is now an insecticide which is restricted to vector control only, meaning that the selection of resistant mosquitoes will be slower than before.

Also, there is a clear procedure that endemic countries may follow to use DDT, and having done so, they have the RIGHT at international law to use DDT, without pressure from the developed countries or international institutions who have in the past threatened them against doing so."

Blue Eyes said...

I agree with anon above - malaria is more to do with lack of development than weather. That is why Thailand and Vietnam do not have malaria but Cambodia does.

Tom said...

I am heartily fed up with ignorant and highly selective puffs for "climate change" promulgated by half wits and disappointed by Readwald passing it on.


The IPCC has proven itself to be packed with peculating bureaucratic zealots who are waay too quick to point the finger at heretics and "deniers".... without actually addressing their arguments - the righteousness is inversely proportional to the understanding it seems.

DDT has it's place for sure - but climate change isn't much to do with malaria - people and how they work together definitely is.

Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

http://www.junkscience.com/ddtfaq.html

explodes many of the myths surrounding DDT, with references.

Tony Bugs

Blue Eyes said...

That link is fascinating. I expect in thirty years time there will be web sites devoted to how we all got conned over global warming.

Dick Puddlecote said...

And other cons too, Blue Eyes. The DDT ban is/was scandalous. It has led to millions of deaths based on junk science and lies.

The WHO were the prime movers and big pharma the main beneficiaries.

How things haven't changed, eh?

Anonymous said...

OT - but gets there in the end.

It's clear - we've poisoned the wind in places, fucked up some of the seas, poisoned many of the rivers, wiped out huge populations of beasts on land and sea - any fool can see that.

Trouble is, "climate change" is about control + money + power. In particular keeping the peons in place whilst removing more of the proceeds of their labour to finance grandiose plans and parasitic lifestyles.

One might have a bit of sympathy for the aim of "improving our environment" if one suspected our public servants had a chance of success or could define the problem and devise a fix or a mitigating strategy. We don't see much evidence for recent successes just loads more shiny bums.

Obviously the only counting most British politicians and bureaucrats seem motivated to do or are capable of - is their own bank balances.

I'd like to second UK council environmental health officers to West Africa for 3 months a year with a municipal climate change director to keep 'em company - see DDT and malaria!

Anonymous said...

For the latest research by a group of established academics on the human health impacts of DDT that are only now being fully understood- check out this recent paper published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives:
http://www.ehponline.org/members/2009/11748/11748.html

It takes a long time before we figure out the true impacts on humans of the use of chemicals like DDT. Even the WHO, UNEP and the Stockholm Convention have recognized this and made the announcement this year in May to replace DDT with safer methods of malaria control by 2020. Many such alternative methods (including some safer insecticides) have been developed and are being used successfully in Africa and Asia.