AFM's response to the Berkeley study on DDT (4)
I think we should try to be as accurate as possible ... the DDT debate is full
of almost correct information, and inaccuracies do not serve anyone well.
The AFM essay really did not respond to a Berkeley study on DDT, but responded
to a newspaper article in the LA Times about the Berkeley study and other media
stories picking up on the LA Times story, including the BBC. I have spoken to
one of the researchers earlier this week, and he certainly did not characterize
their conclusions as an endorsement of the "no DDT for anything" agenda, and he
told me that the lead researcher had actually gone out of her way to explain
that the findings did not automatically lead to the idea that DDT should not be
used in circumstances where it could do good and not be otherwise seriously
detrimental to the environment.
Marla Cone who wrote the LA Times article is an advocate for the environmental
agenda ... which is OK, but her journalism belongs in the opinion pages and not
in the news area of the paper. (I think I have the name correct)
The experience in South Africa using interior residual spraying and DDT since
2000 is well worth reflecting on ... in the area in the year 2000, some 40,000
malaria cases ... a year later just over 20,000 ... again a year later around
2,000 and it is keeping on going down. This is pretty impressive. Meanwhile
almost everywhere else in Africa malaria is on the increase in spite WHO's Roll
Back Malaria initiative which appears to have consumed money, but not delivered
any tangible results.
The issue of resistance is important ... but again broad generalizations are
not very helpful. The practices of 50 years ago and not being recommended as
the best practice for today ... but the use of DDT in conjunction with other
insecticides is a good starting point and with responsible use the problem of
resistance can be managed. Perhaps a more critical resistance is the resistance
to anti-malaria drugs for human consumption which are creating resistance in
large part because the re-infection is never ending and use of drugs is not
just once in a while but almost for ever.
Transparency and Accountability Network