The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) was formed in 1946 specifically to fight malaria. Its primary weapon was DDT, which it sprayed on over 4.5 million American homes. It worked, and by 1951 malaria had been eradicated from the
"We will eradicate malaria by 2010," stricken families were promised a few years ago. Well, 2010 is nearly gone and, instead of eradication, we have more malaria than before … and a new target date: 2015.
Unless malaria control policies change, that date too will come and go. Billions will still be at risk of getting malaria. Hundreds of millions will continue getting the disease. Millions will die or become permanently brain-damaged. And poverty and misery will continue ravaging
For years, malaria strategies have been dominated by insecticide-treated bed nets, Artemisia-based drugs, improved diagnostics and hospitals, educational campaigns, and a search for vaccines against highly complex plasmodium parasites. All are vital, but not nearly enough.
Notably absent in all too many programs has been vector control – larvacides, insecticides and repellants, to break the malaria victim-to-mosquito-to-healthy-human transmission cycle, by reducing mosquito populations and keeping the flying killers away from people. Dr. William Gorgas employed these methods to slash malaria and yellow fever rates during construction of the
They are just as essential today. But well-funded environmental pressure groups vilify, attack and stymie their use, callously causing needless suffering and tragedy. They especially target the use of DDT.
Spraying the walls and eaves of houses once or twice a year with this powerful spatial repellant keeps 80-90% of mosquitoes from even entering a home; irritates any that do enter, so they don’t bite; and kills any that land. DDT is a long-lasting mosquito net over entire households. No other chemical, at any price, can do this. And no one (certainly not any eco pressure group) is working to develop one.
This miracle chemical had helped prevent typhus and malaria during and after World War II, and completely eradicate malaria in the
As physician Rutledge Taylor chronicles in his pull-no-punches new film, “3 Billion and Counting,” Sierra Club, Audubon Society and Environmental Defense Fund enlisted DDT in their own campaign, to get it banned. They said the chemical posed unacceptable risks to people, wildlife and the environment – and used pseudo-scientific cancer and ecological horror stories, like those in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, to spook people, politicians and bureaucrats.
Along with Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Pesticide Action Network and other eco activists, they portrayed themselves as white knight planetary guardians. Their true motives were far less virtuous. “If the environmentalists win on DDT,” EDF scientist Charles Wurster told the
In short, the war on DDT was never about protecting people or birds. It was, and is, about power, control, money and ideology – regardless of the resultant human misery, disease and death.
For the new Environmental Protection Agency, it was about power and politics. As the greens’ campaign to ban DDT intensified, EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus convened a scientific panel, which held six months of hearings, compiled 9,312 pages of studies and testimony, and concluded that DDT was safe and effective and should not be banned.
Nevertheless, without attending a single hour of hearings or reading a page of the report, Ruckelshaus banned
Carcinogenic? The International Agency for Research on Cancer lists DDT as “possibly carcinogenic” – right up there with coffee and pickles. Among products that “definitely” cause cancer, it includes birth control pills and ethanol. Mice fed DDT got 26% fewer cancers than control mice. Another study found that DDT actually cured malignant brain tumors in rabbits. Millions of war survivors were sprayed directly on their bodies, without any harmful effects.
Bird eggshells? The original Bitman DDT studies involved diets that were 80% deficient in calcium; when the birds were fed proper diets, there was no thinning. Audubon Society annual Christmas bird counts recorded that bald eagle populations rose from 197 in 1941 to 891 in 1960, while robins increased from 19,616 to 928,639 over the same period – when
Poisonous? People have tried to kill themselves with DDT – and failed. Its most common replacement, parathion, killed hundreds of people, who safety experts said were too used to handling DDT. But as EDF's Dr. Wurster once observed, it “only kills farm workers and most of them are Mexicans and Negroes.”
This modern, eco-style eugenics has since been broadened to the impoverished developing world, where DDT could reduce agony, brain damage, lost work hours, poverty and death – if it weren’t so frequently banished due to green ideologues like Wurster and the Club of
Thus the vicious cycle continues. Infected people are too sick to work, too poor to afford sprays or nets or get proper treatment. Ugandan activist Fiona Kobusingye lost her son, two sisters and four cousins to malaria. American expatriate Patrick O’Neal says every household in his Tanzanian village has lost at least one member of its extended family to malaria. On
EDF and EPA lied. Millions of children died. How convenient, then, that UN Environment Program’s Nick Nutter can deadpan, “when someone here dies from malaria, they say God has taken them” – not baby-killing policies. How convenient that Al Gore can blame malaria on manmade global warming.
How inconvenient for them when folks like Dr. Rutledge raise questions they really don’t want to address. No wonder Ruckelshaus, Pesticide Action Network, USAID and EPA refused to grant him interviews. Stephanie from Pesticide Action did want to know who was funding the film. But when Dr. Rutledge said he was, she ended the conversation, without mentioning who funds PAN. (The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Foundation, among others.)
Three billion humans dead so far from malaria … and counting. And green ideologues work tirelessly to ensure that the callous, needless global death toll continues to rise.
See this film. Tell your friends about it. Bring it to your college, club and local theater. It will make your blood boil, and change your perspectives forever about DDT and the radical environmental movement.
Instead, their Bedbug Advisory Board recommends a bedbug team and educational website. Residents, it advises, should monitor and report infestations. Use blow dryers to flush out (maybe 5% of) the bugs, then sweep them into a plastic bag and dispose properly. Throw away (thousands of dollars worth of) infested clothing, bedding, carpeting and furniture.
Hire (expensive) professionals who (may) have insecticides that (may) eradicate the pests – and hope you don’t get scammed. Don’t use “risky” pesticides yourself. Follow guideline for donating potentially infested furnishings, and be wary of bedbug risks from donated furniture and mattresses.
New Yorkers want real solutions, including affordable insecticides that work. Fear and loathing, from decades of chemophobic indoctrination, are slowly giving way to a healthy renewed recognition that the risk of not using chemicals can be greater than the risk of using them (carefully). Eco-myths are being replaced with more informed discussions about alleged effects of DDT and other pesticides on humans and wildlife.
Thankfully, bedbugs have not been linked to disease – except sometimes severe emotional distress associated with obstinate infestations, incessant itching, and pathetic “proactive” advice, rules and “solutions” right out of Saturday Night Live.
It is hellish for people who must live with bedbugs, and can't afford professional eradication like what Hilton Hotels or Mayor Bloomberg might hire. But imagine what it’s like for two billion people who live 24/7/365 with insects that definitely are responsible for disease: malarial mosquitoes.
Malaria infects over 300 million people annually. For weeks or months on end, it renders them unable to work, attend school or care for their families – and far more susceptible to death from tuberculosis, dysentery, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and other diseases that still stalk their impoverished lands.
This vicious disease causes low birth weights in babies and leaves millions permanently brain-damaged. It kills over a million annually, most of them children and mothers, the vast majority of them in
Emotional distress? Imagine the stress that comes from having no escape from destitution and disease; having to support a child with a perpetual ten-year-old’s mental functions; burying your baby, wife or sibling; or wondering whether you can walk twenty miles to a clinic, before the child you are carrying dies, and whether the clinic will have (non-counterfeit) medicine to cure her.
Frustration over absurd bedbug “solutions”? Imagine the reaction Africans must have to “malaria no more” campaigns that claim they will (eventually) eradicate the disease solely with insecticide-treated bed nets, drugs, “capacity building,” education and (maybe someday) mosquitoes genetically engineered not to carry malaria parasites. As to insecticide spraying, and especially DDT – fuggetaboutit.
DDT is the most powerful, effective, long-lasting mosquito repellant ever invented. Spraying the eaves and inside walls of mud huts and cinderblock homes every six months keeps 80% of the flying killers from entering. It irritates most that do enter, so they leave without biting, and kills any that land. However, many aid agencies refuse to encourage, endorse or fund spraying.
Many don’t even want to monitor mosquito and malaria outbreaks, or determine actual success in reducing disease and death rates. That would be more difficult and expensive than counting the number of bed nets distributed, and underscore the embarrassing reality that their “comprehensive” (and politically correct) insecticide-free programs achieve only 20-40% reductions in morbidity and mortality. By contrast, as
We would never consider 20-40% fewer deaths a “success” for American children. Why should
Since EPA banned DDT in 1972 – after the
We need adult supervision and informed debate on pesticide policies, laws and regulations. We can no longer leave those decisions to unaccountable anti-chemical activists in pressure groups and government agencies. These zealots are making decisions that determine the quality of life for millions of Americans, especially poor families – and life itself for billions of malaria-threatened people worldwide.
If not for the economic and mental health of Americans afflicted by bedbugs – support responsible, ethical policies for