DDT a problem of 30-50 years ago?

Jeffrey A. Caldwell ecosys at pacbell.net
Sun Aug 6 15:29:43 EDT 2000

Bruce Walsh wrote:

> The interesting issue here is that given the negative effects of DDT on
> one hand, and the fact that its lack of useage kills millions of third
> world peoples each year (via lack of control of malaria), are there conditions
> under which it should be used?
> No easy answers here!

True, enough, no easy answers there!  What support can you give to the statement
that "its lack of useage kills millions of  third world peoples each year"?  Isn't
that a rather simplistic statement, implying that DDT is the only answer?  And
that it is an only answer that is not being used?

Much of  the world believes that under their conditions it should be used, and it
is being manufactured and used in many nations for malaria control.    Of course,
there is more awareness and great concern about environmental "side effects" of
such programs.  A number of nations have been phasing DDT out with more to
follow.  For a heady while, when it was first used so effectively and cheaply, the
world thought that with DDT malaria could be eradicated, but that goal has been
given up as unattainable, and control has again  become the goal, with more
concern for the environmental effects of whatever control methods are chosen.

Malaria was successfully controlled before DDT [as at the Panama Canal dig] and
many nations are working on developing economically viable methods of control that
are less harmful to the environment.  Some hope the world will be able to phase
out all DDT use by 2007.  For anyone interested in pursuing this difficult issue,
one can generate many papers and citations of others by going to the Pesticide
Action Network of  North America (PANNA) web site and entering "DDT and malaria"
in their search function.


Jeffrey A. Caldwell

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