There are 300 to 500 million malaria cases worldwide. Thousands of people die of the disease every day .. In 2000, South Africa started spraying tiny amounts of DDT in homes in its province with the most malaria cases, and rates of the disease dropped there by almost 90 percent, from a high of 60,000 a year. Sadly, other African countries would like to follow suit but can't do so on their own. They need funds from the World Health Organization or the U.S. Agency for International Development - and neither organization, though they know better, has the political guts to buck the international environmental lobby and allow funding for the spraying of DDT.
Politics have played a dangerous role in regulating DDT resulting in the unnecessary painful deaths of millions of babies, children and adults.
But the popular singer Bono said:
"This is our moment, this is our time, this is our chance to stand up for what is right. Three thousand Africans, mostly children, die every day of mosquito bites. We can fix that. Nine thousand people dying every die of a preventable, treatable disease like Aids. We have got the drugs. We can help them."
This is what ignorance does to children. It kills them. Drugs are not always the answer, especially when there are few being produced and are already expensive to produce. Until mid-2004, the WHO, UNICEF and USAID provided anti-malarial drugs that they knew for years fail as much as 80 per cent of the time. The vastness of the spread of Malaria is just too wide. The real answer lies in the use of DDT. But the myths continue to perpetuate about how "dangerous" DDT is, but it is not.
Since the EPA banned DDT in agriculture, countless studies have been conducted into the potential impacts of DDT on human health, yet none of them have been able to find any concrete evidence of actual human harm. DDT is remarkably non-toxic to humans; people have tried to commit suicide by eating it and failed miserably. DDT is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which may sound alarming, but is the same classification given to coffee and many other foodstuffs in our daily diet.
A leading DDT pesticide advocate died on July 19, 2004 who spent a good portion of his life to remove the stigma and myths about DDT.
The removal of the unwarranted stigma from DDT and the saving of many future lives is now nearer at hand than it has been in the last 30 years thanks to the efforts of Dr. J. Gordon Edwards, who passed away on July 19 at the age of 85.
Dr. Edwards led the opposition to environmental extremist efforts to ban DDT in the wake of Rachel Carson's infamous 1962 book Silent Spring. The testimony of Dr. Edwards and others during Environmental Protection Agency hearings in 1971 on whether to ban the insecticide led to an EPA administrative law judge ruling that, "DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man. DDT is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man. The uses of DDT under the regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife."
Inexplicably — or so it seemed — DDT was nonetheless banned by EPA administrator William Ruckleshaus. Dr. Edwards investigated and uncovered disturbing statements and troubling connections between Ruckleshaus and anti-DDT environmental extremist groups.
One famous myth about DDT use in the United States is the affects on American Bald Eagles.
Perhaps the most well-known allegation about DDT was that the insecticide supposedly caused declines in the populations of birds such as the bald eagle.
Dr. Edwards knew this was wrong. He knew that these bird populations had declined decades before DDT had ever been used. More importantly, the bird populations were actually rebounding during the years of peak DDT use, according to bird counts.
In an April 1972 edition of American Birds, a National Audubon Society magazine, anti-DDT editor Robert S. Arbib, Jr., accused a "certain paid scientist spokesman" of lying about higher bird counts. No scientists were mentioned by name.
On Aug. 14, 1972, the New York Times recounted Arbib's accusations in a story entitled "Pesticide Spokesman Accused of Lying on Higher Bird Counts." At the urging of the Times' reporter, Arbib named five scientists, including Dr. Edwards.
Dr. Edwards and two others filed suit for libel against the National Audubon Society and the Times. In July 1976, a jury decided that, though the National Audubon Society was not liable, the Times was. The jury found the Times article's statements were clearly libelous and made with "malice."
The verdict against the Times was overturned in May 1977 by Judge Irving Kaufman on the grounds that the newspaper was justified in reporting the charges because they were "newsworthy" and that it did not matter that the Times had serious doubts about their truth.
Kaufman, as it turns out, was also a close personal friend of the then-publisher of the Times, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger.
Interesting details of how environmental extremist organizations, politics and close political ties among judges and companies were able to keep the DDT ban in perpetuity.
To help readers understand, here is a list of 100 things you should know about DDT.
Nicholas Kristof in this Op-Ed piece in The New York Times essentially said that the worldwide ban on DDT qualifies as one of the most underreported scandals of the past several decades where millions died needlessly because of the myths about DDT.
Here are a few well known Democrats or naysayers who applaud the continued banning of DDT who would rather save mosquitoes than the millions of African children:
1. Senator John Kerry and Teresa Heinz-Kerry are big fans of Rachel Carson, whose disingenuous book Silent Spring launched the radical anti-pesticide movement that Terersa Heinz Kerry bankrolls rather handsomely through her family philanthropies.
Teresa Heinz-Kerry applauds "important gains" like the "banning of DDT and other harmful pesticides" as vital to ending the "devastating triple whammy" that women get from "the chemical soup" they encounter every day from birth control pills, makeup and sunblock, and "daily games of golf" on courses that are "perfectly manicured, thanks to estrogenic pesticides."
"Drift is something we cannot afford when it comes to human rights," she insists. But her notion of human rights often neglects the most basic one: life itself. Her concern about speculative harm from chemicals drifts into intense, misguided opposition to substances vital to preserving life in her native Africa (Mozambique).
2. Sierra Club director Michael McCloskey, who said that the "Sierra Club wants a ban on pesticides, even in countries where DDT has kept malaria under control...[because by] using DDT, we reduce mortality rates in underdeveloped countries without the consideration of how to support the increase in populations."
We need to allow the use DDT once again out to countries that are in need of this miracle pesticide. This is an effort well worth it for both the Democrats and Republicans. Let's stop the genocide through misinformation and disinformation by those who are anti-DDT.