In a victory for science over hysteria, the World Health Organization has endorsed the use of DDT to control the explosion of malaria cases in Africa.
WHO says there is no health risk, and DDT should rank with bednets and drugs as a tool for combating malaria, which kills more than one million each year.
“The scientific and programmatic evidence clearly supports this reassessment,” said Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, WHO assistant director-general for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.
“Indoor residual spraying is useful to quickly reduce the number of infections caused by malaria-carrying mosquitoes; it has proven to be just as cost effective as other malaria prevention measures, and DDT presents no health risk when used properly.”
The scientific case against DDT was never that strong, but environmentalist hysteria ensured that the use of DDT was eliminated through much of Africa, which caused malaria to reach endemic levels and led to the deaths of perhaps millions of people worldwide. Countries such as South Africa refused to go along with the ban, and their malaria rates were dramatically lower than countries that did not allow for the use of DDT.
This decision by the WHO will make it easier for Third World nations to launch effective malaria control efforts — and it will also save countless lives. This finally puts hard science ahead of scaremongering — exposure to small amounts of DDT is quite safe, and malaria is a deadly and dangerous disease. The cost/benefit analysis on DDT has always led to the firm conclusion that DDT is a safe and effective method for mosquito control, and it’s high time that international aid institutions stopped placating the environmentalist lobby at the expensive of hundreds of thousands innocent lives.