in a “Perspectives” article in Environmental Science and Technology. Regrettably, the primary entomologist they talked to was Donald Roberts, who is about as Pro-DDT as you can get. Although Roberts is quoted heavily, as a whole the article contains reasonable information:

“Rick Steketee, director of science for the Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa, a program funded by the Gates Foundation….“it is very clear that there is no single approach to controlling malaria that gets you sufficient benefits,” Steketee says. “We have chemicals, either as drugs or insecticides. I think there is universal consensus that neither one alone will solve this.”

This “universal consensus,” unfortunately, is not acknowledged everywhere.
I’m happy to see someone pointing out that there are many factors that contribute to malarial transmission:

“Nevertheless, some say the fight against malaria will continue until the conditions that allow transmission are improved. “In malarial epidemics in places like Nigeria or Ethiopia, you have a constellation of issues,” says Patricia DeMarco, executive director of the Rachel Carson Homestead Association, a nonprofit organization that promotes Carson’s environmental ethic. Challenges include ‘vastly inadequate health care available to the bulk of the [rural] population, . . . no good sanitation and water management, plus the climate—[with its] propitious breeding areas for the insect.’ Issues such as poverty and even physical infrastructure that would allow people to protect themselves with window screens need to be addressed.”

As I’ve said before, DDT is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It may be a good choice for some situations, but not for all of them–and it should be a chemical of last resort.

Also, in case you missed it: New study links DDT Estrogenic activity to Breast Cancer.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!

2 Comments

  1. A link to the actual DDT/Cancer study:
    http://www.ehponline.org/members/2007/10260/10260.html

    DDT and Breast Cancer in Young Women: New Data on the Significance of Age at Exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 115, Number 10, October 2007

  2. i want to join this society.

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