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Senate can help revive the use of the only real weapon to fight malaria: DDT

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Senate can help revive the use of the only real weapon to fight malaria: DDT

Old 10-28-05, 10:11 AM
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Senate can help revive the use of the only real weapon to fight malaria: DDT

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,173766,00.html

DDT Is Only Real Weapon to Combat Malaria
Thursday, October 27, 2005
By Steven Milloy

During the few minutes you spend reading this column, malaria will kill six Africans and sicken about 3,000 more, mostly children and pregnant women -- a rate of more than one million deaths and 500 million illnesses annually among the 2.2 billion people who live in malarial regions like Africa. [*1]

There’s legislation moving through the Senate right now intended to reduce this tragic toll.

U.S. taxpayers spend about $200 million annually on malaria control efforts. Ironically, almost none of this money is spent to kill or repel the mosquitoes that spread disease. The money is instead spent on anti-malarial drugs and insecticide-treated bed nets that aren’t very effective.

Bed nets are often torn. They are uncomfortable on hot African nights and may get kicked off. There may not be enough nets for every family member or people who are still up and about at sunset when the mosquitoes arrive for their night feeding. Anti-malarial drugs are in short supply. The U.S. Agency for International Development hopes to have 55 million pediatric doses for 2006 – leaving the other 445 million people on their own to battle with malaria without any drugs.

Although researchers are working to develop an anti-malarial vaccine, there is little prospect for one in the next 10 years. It’s a grim reality, but it doesn’t have to be. We have the technology to make a large dent in this tragedy, if only we could rid ourselves of the most infamous environmentalist myth of all-time, our irrational fear of the insecticide DDT.

As discussed in JunkScience.com’s “100 Things You Should Know About DDT [*2],” the Rachel Carson-Silent Spring-inspired campaign against DDT was utterly detached from reality. DDT did not cause declines in populations of great birds like the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon. These bird populations were threatened before DDT had even been invented, thanks to over-hunting, habitat destruction, and egg collectors.

The bird populations rebounded, in fact, during the period of the greatest use of DDT.

No scientific experiment has ever shown that typical levels of DDT found in the environment cause the thinning of bird egg shells – a mechanism by which DDT was alleged to have harmed birds. While a host of natural and artificial factors have been scientifically identified as potentially contributing to egg shell-thinning, typical environmental levels of pesticide residues aren’t among them.

DDT has also never been credibly linked with cancer or non-cancer health effects in humans.

What really drove that point home to me was a recent visit to the Imperial War Museum in London, where I saw a display about the DDT de-lousing that was done to liberated World War II concentration camp victims. DDT was used to save their lives – and despite the extremely fragile state of their health during such use, no ill-effects among the survivors have been attributed to DDT in the medical literature.

DDT was ultimately banned in the U.S. in 1972 because of politics, not science. For no stated reason, then-EPA Administrator William Ruckleshaus overruled a finding of DDT’s safety by an EPA administrative law judge. Evidence was later discovered identifying Ruckleshaus as a fundraiser for the Environmental Defense Fund -- the activist group spearheading the anti-DDT campaign.

Of course, by the time Ruckleshaus banned DDT, malaria in the U.S. and Europe had essentially been eradicated so the insecticide was no longer needed. Although DDT was also used – some say over-used – in U.S. agriculture, economical substitutes could be had.

But there is no economical substitute for DDT when it comes to malaria in poorer regions of the world. Other chemicals are too expensive and don’t work as well for the sort of widespread spraying needed to control mosquitoes in Africa. While DDT has not been officially banned in Africa, its use is discouraged by limited production and cumbersome environmentalist-designed rules on use and handling.

The European Union, which environmentalists often lead by the nose, has even threatened a ban on agricultural imports from countries that use DDT.

But when DDT is available, the results are nothing short of spectacular. Indoor spraying with DDT, for example, reduced malaria cases and deaths by nearly 75 percent in Zambia over a two-year period and by 80 percent in South Africa in just one year. DDT works like nothing else – there’s simply no doubt about it.

For these reasons, we ought to support a bill in Congress (currently it’s known as the Senate version of H.R. 3057) that would reform the U.S. Agency for International Development so that insecticides like DDT could be added to the arsenal for fighting malaria. President Bush announced in July that U.S. taxpayers would spend $1.2 billion for world malaria control over the next five years.

Rather than wasting that money on ineffective bed nets and anti-malaria drugs – and then repeating such futility in another five years – let’s spend it on DDT and get the job done now. [*3]
[*1] http://www.junkscience.com/malaria_clock.htm

[*2] http://www.junkscience.com/ddtfaq.htm

[*3] http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache...+3057%22&hl=en

I'm not particularly in favor of using taxpayer money for this (but I do not want this issue to become the focus of the thread so for those purposes I will accept it) but if we are going to do so let's at least use it for something that actually works. Malaria is one of the world's worst scourges and it doesn't have to be.
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Old 10-28-05, 10:24 AM
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The drug companies will certainly not like their allocated moneypits being spent elsewhere. Which is probably why we have more drugs than an actual cures.
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Old 10-28-05, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
The drug companies will certainly not like their allocated moneypits being spent elsewhere. Which is probably why we have more drugs than an actual cures.

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Old 10-28-05, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by movielib
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,173766,00.html


[*1] http://www.junkscience.com/malaria_clock.htm

[*2] http://www.junkscience.com/ddtfaq.htm

[*3] http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache...+3057%22&hl=en

I'm not particularly in favor of using taxpayer money for this (but I do not want this issue to become the focus of the thread so for those purposes I will accept it) but if we are going to do so let's at least use it for something that actually works. Malaria is one of the world's worst scourges and it doesn't have to be.



It is sickening that one of the Worlds greatest ills could be greatly alleviated so easily, yet nothing is done.

Last edited by Pharoh; 10-28-05 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 10-28-05, 10:58 AM
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I'm concerned about the bird eggs.
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Old 10-28-05, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
I'm concerned about the bird eggs.
You're probably kidding but that issue is addressed in my second footnote.

See: http://www.junkscience.com/ddtfaq.htm#ref6
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Old 10-28-05, 11:48 AM
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DDT has nearly the same hill to climb as the fear of nuclear power. But I hope they do it.
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Old 10-28-05, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by movielib
You're probably kidding but that issue is addressed in my second footnote.

See: http://www.junkscience.com/ddtfaq.htm#ref6
Yeah, I'm kidding.
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Old 10-28-05, 12:04 PM
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DDT:....... TNA Superstar Raven can do a powerful DDT. Problem solved
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Old 10-28-05, 12:27 PM
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Silent Spring has killed more people worldwide than any book in recent history
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Old 10-28-05, 12:43 PM
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I agree generally that we overreacted to claims about DDT, which have largely been demonstrated to be unfounded. Use of DDT in anti-malarial campaigns (which would employ far more limited quantities of the chemical than would be used in general agricultural use) would be appropriate.

But DDT is not the panacea its proponents make it out to be. Mosquitos develop* DDT resistance relatively quickly (6-7 years, I believe), which means that use of DDT to control mosquito populations is not a viable long-term solution.

Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez
Silent Spring has killed more people worldwide than any book in recent history.
Leaving aside infamous murder tomes like Mao's Red Book, Mein Kampf, or the Communist Manifesto, let's remember that Carson was not against using DDT appropriately:

"No responsible person contends that insect-borne disease should be ignored. . .The question that has now urgently presented itself is whether it is wise or responsible to attack the problem by methods that are rapidly making it worse."
In other words, the indiscriminate use of DDT just leads to a situation in which DDT is useless (or significantly less useful) in combatting disease-bearing insects. Indeed, years before Silent Spring was published, we were seeign a reduction in the usefulness of DDT as an antimalarial measure due to developing resistances.

* Hey! Maybe we can turn this from an environmentalist thread into an evolution thread!
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Old 10-28-05, 12:44 PM
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Is it not true that the replacement for DDT was far, far more harmful to humans than was DDT?
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Old 10-28-05, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
But DDT is not the panacea its proponents make it out to be. Mosquitos develop* DDT resistance relatively quickly (6-7 years, I believe), which means that use of DDT to control mosquito populations is not a viable long-term solution.
From my second footnote:

8. Some mosquitoes became "resistant" to DDT. "There is persuasive evidence that antimalarial operations did not produce mosquito resistance to DDT. That crime, and in a very real sense it was a crime, can be laid to the intemperate and inappropriate use of DDT by farmers, espeially cotton growers. They used the insecticide at levels that would accelerate, if not actually induce, the selection of a resistant population of mosquitoes."

[Desowitz, RS. 1992. Malaria Capers, W.W. Norton & Company]


9. "Resistance" may be a misleading term when discussing DDT and mosquitoes. While some mosquitoes develop biochemical/physiological mechanisms of resistance to the chemical, DDT also can provoke strong avoidance behavior in some mosquitoes so they spend less time in areas where DDT has been applied -- this still reduces mosquito-human contact. "This avoidance behavior, exhibited when malaria vectors avoid insecticides by not entering or by rapidly exiting sprayed houses, should raise serious questions about the overall value of current physiological and biochemical resistance tests. The continued efficacy of DDT in Africa, India, Brazil, and Mexico, where 69% of all reported cases of malaria occur and where vectors are physiologically resistant to DDT (excluding Brazil), serves as one indicator that repellency is very important in preventing indoor transmission of malaria."

[See, e.g., J Am Mosq Control Assoc 1998 Dec;14(4):410-20; and Am J Trop Med Hyg 1994;50(6 Suppl):21-34]
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Old 10-28-05, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Is it not true that the replacement for DDT was far, far more harmful to humans than was DDT?
Outside of the malaria issue and the fact that the replacements were much more expensive, probably not.
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Old 10-28-05, 12:54 PM
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Doing a little more research, I came across this article:

Last week, in response to more repetition of the false claim that environmentalists had killed many millions of people with a ban of DDT. John Quiggin set out the facts of the matter:

DDT has never been banned in antimalarial use. The main reason for declining use of DDT as an antimalarial has been the development of resistance. Antimalarial uses have received specific exemptions from proposals to phase out DDT, until alternatives are developed. Bans on the use of DDT as an agricultural insecticide, promoted by Rachel Carson and others, have helped to slow the development of resistance, and therefore increased the effectiveness of DDT in antimalarial use (links on this here).

Attempts to get some of those responsible for spreading the false claims about environmentalists and DDT to correct them have proved largely unsuccessful.

Rafe Champion did not make even a token correction.

Two weeks after posting an obviously fabricated quote Tim Blair finally made a stealth correction, adding an update after the post had fallen off his front page by about five pages. No apology or correction for posting the outrageously false claim that “In a single crime [the greens] have killed about 50 million people.”

Miranda Devine failed to correct her false claim that DDT had been banned or her false claim that environmentalists had killed 50 million people. The only correction she offered was this:

Last week I inadvertently misquoted Rachel Carson by repeating a mistake from The Age of January 29. In an article by Keith Lockitch of the Ayn Rand Institute, Carson was quoted: “We should seek not to eliminate malarial mosquitoes with pesticides, but to find instead a reasonable accommodation between the insect hordes and ourselves.”

But in Lockitch’s original, published in FrontPage Magazine, the quote was part paraphrase: “We should seek, Carson wrote, not to eliminate malarial mosquitoes with pesticides, but to find instead, ‘a reasonable accommodation between the insect hordes and ourselves’.” Apologies.

There are a couple of problems with Devine’s correction. First, if you search the Age’s archive, you’ll find that no article by Lockitch was published in the Age or any other Fairfax paper on January 29 or any other date. Nor has the quote appeared in any article in any Fairfax paper other than Devine’s. Just to be sure, I checked the microfilm version of January 29’s Age. No article on DDT by Lockitch or anyone else. It is wrong for Devine to blame the Age for her mistake. [Update: John Quiggin tracks down the source of the fake quote: it was in the tabloid Herald-Sun on Jan 13.]

Second, Lockitch has not paraphrased Carson at all. Here is the complete paragraph that the quote was drawn from:

Through all these new, imaginative, and creative approaches to the problem of sharing our earth with other creatures there runs a constant theme, the awareness that we are dealing with life — with living populations and all their pressures and counter pressures, their surges and recessions. Only by taking account of such life forces and by cautiously seeking to guide them into channels favorable to ourselves can we hope to achieve a reasonable accommodation between the insect hordes and ourselves

Carson does not mention malarial mosquitoes at all in that paragraph and by no stretch of the imagination can it be interpreted to mean that we should learn to live with malaria. Here’s what Carson actually wrote about malarial mosquitoes in an earlier chapter (my emphasis):

Although insect resistance is a matter of concern in agriculture and forestry, it is in the field of public health that the most serious apprehensions have been felt. The relation between various insects and many diseases of man is an ancient one Mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles may inject into the human bloodstream the single-celled organism of malaria. …

These are important problems and must be met. No responsible person contends that insect-borne disease should be ignored. The question that has now urgently presented itself is whether it is either wise or responsible to attack the problem by methods that are rapidly making it worse. The world has heard much of the triumphant war against disease through the control of insect vectors of infection, but it has heard little of the other side of the story - the defeats, the short-lived triumphs that now strongly support the alarming view that the insect enemy has been made actually stronger by our efforts. Even worse, we may have destroyed our very means of fighting.

A distinguished Canadian entomologist, Dr A. W. A. Brown, was engaged by the World Health Organization to make a comprehensive survey of the resistance problem. In the resulting monograph, published in 1958, Dr Brown has this to say: Barely a decade after the introduction of the potent synthetic insecticides in public health programmes, the main technical problem is the development of resistance to them by the insects they formerly controlled. In publishing his monograph, the World Health Organization warned that the vigorous offensive now being pursued against arthropod-borne diseases such as malaria, typhus fever, and plague risks a serious setback unless this new problem can be rapidly mastered.

What is the measure of this setback? The list of resistant species now includes practically all of the insect groups of medical importance. … Malaria programmes are threatened by resistance among mosquitoes. …

Probably the first medical use of modem insecticides occurred in Italy in 1943 when the Allied Military Government launched a successful attack on typhus by dusting enormous numbers of people with DDT. This was followed two years later by extensive application of residual sprays for the control of malaria mosquitoes. Only a year later the first signs of trouble appeared. Both houseflies and mosquitoes of the genus Culex began to show resistance to the sprays. In 1948 a new chemical, chlordane, was tried as a supplement to DDT. This time good control was obtained for two years, but by August of 1950 chlordane-resistant flies appeared, and by the end of that year all of the houseflies as well as the Culex mosquitoes seemed to be resistant to chlordane. As rapidly as new chemicals were brought into use, resistance developed. …

The first malaria mosquito to develop resistance to DDT was Anopheles sacharovi in Greece. Extensive spraying was begun in 1946 with early success, by 1949, however, observers noticed that adult mosquitoes were resting in large numbers under road bridges, although they were absent from houses and stables that had been treated. Soon this habit of outside resting was extended to caves, outbuildings, and culverts and to the foliage and trunks of orange trees. Apparently the adult mosquitoes had become sufficiently tolerant of DDT to escape from sprayed buildings and rest and recover in the open. A few months later they were able to remain in houses, where they were found resting on treated walls.

This was a portent of the extremely serious situation that has now developed. Resistance to insecticides by mosquitoes of the anopheline group has surged upwards at an astounding rate, being created by the thoroughness of the very house-spraying programmes designed to eliminate malaria. In 1956, only 5 species of these mosquitoes displayed resistance; by early 1960 the number had risen from 5 to 28! The number includes very dangerous malaria vectors in West Africa, the Middle East, Central America, Indonesia, and the eastern European region. …

The consequences of resistance in terms of malaria and other diseases are indicated by reports from many parts of the world. An outbreak of yellow fever in Trinidad in 1954 followed failure to control the vector mosquito because of resistance. There has been a flare-up of malaria in Indonesia and Iran. …

Some malaria mosquitoes have a habit that so reduces their exposure to DDT as to make them virtually immune. Irritated by the spray, they leave the huts and survive outside. …

It is more sensible in some cases to take a small amount of damage in preference to having none for a time but paying for it in the long run by losing the very means of fighting [is the advice given in Holland by Dr Briejer in his capacity as director of the Plant Protection Service]. Practical advice should be ‘Spray as little as you possibly can’ rather than Spray to the limit of your capacity’…, Pressure on the pest population should always be as slight as possible.

Dr Briejer says:

It is more than clear that we are travelling a dangerous road. We are going to have to do some very energetic research on other control measures, measures that will have to be biological, not chemical. Our aim should be to guide natural processes as cautiously as possible in the desired direction rather than to use brute force….

It’s clear from this that our current policy of reserving DDT for public health use is the sort of DDT use that Carson would have approved. But don’t expect the Miranda Devines of this world to ever admit that.
http://timlambert.org/2005/06/ddt10/

Now, it's just some guy's blog, so while it seems very well-written and supported, who knows if he's being entirely truthful with the facts. Anybody who wants to follow the link can click through to his links and let us know whether he has taken any liberties.
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Old 10-28-05, 12:57 PM
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Thanks movielib -- it seems that there is broad agreement amongst the educated (on both sides of the issue) that DDT is an important and potent wepaon in the fight against malaria. The issues seem to be 1) should it be used more broadly in agricultural applications, and 2) are politicians pandering to relatively uneducated people (and who themselves may be relatively uneducated) by placing overbroad limits on the use of DDT?
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Old 10-28-05, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
In other words, the indiscriminate use of DDT just leads to a situation in which DDT is useless (or significantly less useful) in combatting disease-bearing insects. Indeed, years before Silent Spring was published, we were seeign a reduction in the usefulness of DDT as an antimalarial measure due to developing resistances.
Yes, indiscriminate use is stupid and there is no doubt farmers, as well as some cities, oversprayed in the 40s, 50s and 60s. But DDT remains extremely effective against the malaria mosquito to the present day and should remain so if it is used wisely for this purpose.
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Old 10-28-05, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
Thanks movielib -- it seems that there is broad agreement amongst the educated (on both sides of the issue) that DDT is an important and potent wepaon in the fight against malaria. The issues seem to be 1) should it be used more broadly in agricultural applications, and 2) are politicians pandering to relatively uneducated people (and who themselves may be relatively uneducated) by placing overbroad limits on the use of DDT?
It's really not needed any more in agriculture at all. If it were not still by far the best weapon against malaria the whole issue would be moot.

I must admit I have never actually read Silent Spring. I have held (perhaps falsely) the perception that Carson was very much anti-DDT. If she wasn't so much (although there is no doubt she exaggerated the dangers of DDT, perhaps out of the relative ignorance of the time) then it is some of her followers and Ruckelshaus who are really responsible for the state of affairs. Also, I am aware that DDT has never been banned worldwide or banned from the use of fighting malaria. However, the U.S. ban on domestic use has been and remains a serious obstacle (at least psychologically) to its being used as much as it should be and U.S. policy still discourages its use.
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Old 11-07-05, 07:27 AM
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http://www.cei.org/gencon/004,04937.cfm

DDT Saves Lives in Fight against Malaria
by Roger Bate and Richard Tren
November 1, 2005

The President's decision in June to spend an additional $1.2 billion over five years to halve the cases of malaria around the world was very welcome. Sadly, this noble gesture may be worth less than it should be, due to excessive reliance on bad advice and continued trust in an agency with a poor record on malaria control.

It is the current fashion in international public health to attempt malaria control with insecticide-treated bednets. However, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which has been put in charge of the project, buys very few nets. In the recent past, while USAID has spent over $400 million on malaria control, analysis of the 2004 budget shows less than 10 percent of this was spent on actual commodities that save lives. USAID considers that its area of expertise is to provide technical assistance and this is consistent with why 81 percent of its 2004 budget never left the United States. While USAID advises people to sleep under bednets and doctors to buy drugs, it regards the provision of these essentials to be somebody else's job. USAID is reticent about publishing data on its projects, but in the few cases that have been detailed it was shown that, while this advice had been dispensed, neither bednets nor drugs were available. [1]

Net Distribution is not Disease Prevention. Nevertheless, USAID touts its policy as a success and hopes to apply the model in Angola . According to its own reports: “[T]he distribution of free ITNs [insecticide treated nets] to mothers at the time they bring their children for immunizations has been very successful in both Togo and Zambia .” Ninety percent of mothers went away with bednets. But distribution is not protection; unfortunately USAID considers distribution a successful end-point. This is a fatally flawed assumption for several reasons. [2] [3]

In the rural areas, after six months, only 72 percent of households had even bothered to hang up the nets. iv Donald Roberts, Professor of Tropical Diseases at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, analyzed USAID's papers for Africa Fighting Malaria—the organization that we head—and said that: “A review of data on use of insecticide treated nets in Zambia and Togo show that even when nets are provided free of charge, less than 56 percent of children possessing nets actually sleep under them. Net usage in urban areas is considerably less than the 56 percent usage in rural areas.” [3][4]

Only one net per household is distributed. Since children under five are at greatest risk of death, the youngest child is often allowed the protection, but what if there are several children under five in the house? [4] What about other family members? Many malaria l mosquitoes enter houses at sunset and feed most aggressively in the early hours of darkness, so unless a child is actually in bed under the net at nightfall he is at risk. If the protected child cannot sleep and wants to get into bed with Mom and Dad, stay up late, or get up early he is at risk.

Furthermore, the insecticide—usually synthetic pyrethroids—in the net wears off after several months and, unless USAID is planning to buy long lasting insecticide nets, the net has to be taken for re-treatment. It is unclear from the reports from Zambia and Togo how many nets were brought back for re-treatment. Additionally, nets can be torn easily and subsequently offer very little protection. USAID cannot claim success in net distribution when it doesn't even know if the nets have been re-treated.

None of these problems were measured in USAID-backed reports to estimate real efficacy, and, far more importantly, there was no effort to measure impact on morbidity or mortality from malaria .

The Solution: Indoor Residual Spraying. Fortunately, there are highly effective alternatives. Several southern African states have initiated their own programs using a proven prevention method along with new treatment drugs to successfully control malaria . The only problem with this method is that it is politically unpopular in the developed world, and, most dismaying, it is shunned on environmental grounds that have no relationship to usage in malaria control.

The best method of protection against malaria, in use for 50 years, is indoor residual spraying (IRS), which consists simply of spraying insecticide on the interior walls of houses. And the most effective, safest, cheapest, longest-lasting insecticide for this job is DDT—it crucially deters mosquitoes from entering a building where it has been sprayed. DDT eradicated malaria from the U.S. and Europe and its careful use led to dramatic declines in many other parts of the world. But over the last four decades environmental activists have persuaded public health professionals against using insecticide sprays, especially DDT.

Where this dubious advice has been followed, malaria rates have risen proportionately to the reduction in spraying. But fortunately, those countries that did not have to rely on foreign funding for malaria protection—and could therefore afford to make their own public health decisions—went back to using DDT. A private initiative by a mining company in Zambia, covering over 360,000 of its workers, their families, and surrounding villages, reduced malaria incidence by 50 percent in just one year. [5] After South Africa suffered its worst ever malaria outbreak, it decided to risk Western displeasure and revert to the old methods. In one year, incidence of malaria was reduced by 80 percent. [6] Uganda is currently considering a return to DDT but is being threatened by the European Union (EU) with sanctions against agricultural products. The EU claims that DDT bought for public health protection could be corruptly sold to farmers and that residues would end up in produce.

USAID's Wrong Approach. USAID's initial plans for spending the new funds grudgingly include some indoor residual spraying in Angola and Uganda , but only in very limited ways. USAID has no plans to procure DDT for Uganda and while the Global Fund may be procuring DDT, USAID is not actively supporting this decision even though it is the desire of Uganda 's government. Uganda 's Minister of Health, Jim Muhwezi noted recently that, “ DDT has been proven, over and over again, to be the most effective and least expensive method of fighting malaria .” [7] Were USAID not to support the use of DDT, they would be failing the citizens of Uganda and would be opposing that sovereign government's wishes.

Unfortunately USAID also considers, mistakenly, that IRS cannot be used in rural areas of the country because of logistical obstacles. Several other countries such as South Africa and Zambia are using IRS effectively in rural areas, and Uganda can too.

If one describes success as merely distributing bed nets, costs can be kept low, but as explained above distribution is not disease protection. Furthermore, given the agency's history of preferring to fund workshops and consultants rather than malaria -prevention commodities, these plans should be viewed with some skepticism. In addition, it has been Uganda 's stated policy for some time to use DDT in malaria control, yet USAID considers that DDT can only be purchased as a last resort. The reality is that USAID officials have never been sufficiently convinced that we have reached that last resort, despite the fact that more than a million people die of malaria in Africa every year and that DDT is currently saving many thousands of lives in numerous different countries.

Finally, aside from these technical issues, your goal of “halving” malaria cases will remain meaningless in the absence of reliable baseline data on malaria cases. Right now there are none. Halving an unknown quantity is an impossibility. Unlike most bednet dependent malaria programs, most of the IRS programs in Africa carefully monitor changes in death and disease and adapt their programs so that they are as effective as possible. Tragically for millions of African children, the World Health Organization and its partners in the Roll Back Malaria program—including UNICEF, USAID, and the World Bank—never bothered to measure baseline malaria rates in 1998 when the program started. This did not deter the Roll Back Malaria partners from pledging to halve the burden of malaria by 2010; a patently dishonest and insulting promise. Meanwhile, the estimates that do exist show a probable increase in malaria cases and deaths over the past decade.

Concluding his analysis of bednet distribution programs in Togo and Zambia and USAID's favored approach, Professor Roberts says: “These data show the fatal flaw of placing total reliance on use of insecticide treated nets for malaria prevention. Additionally, the costs, planning, and infrastructure required for net use are far greater and more demanding of scarce public health resources than proponents are willing to admit.”

Conclusion. President Bush has shown great foresight and compassion in determining to control malaria , and has consistently mentioned the need for IRS. But by setting a target that is not measurable, and using USAID, which grudgingly accepts moderate coverage of IRS, as implementing organization, little good will come. Yet it is not too late. If the Bush Administration shifts USAID to buying malaria-preventing commodities, especially DDT, and assesses performance on actual cases and deaths rather than simple bednet distribution, real success is possible.
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Old 01-10-06, 08:32 AM
  #20  
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http://www.dcexaminer.com/articles/2...8oped9bate.txt

Fighting malaria - the right way
January 9 '06
By Roger Bate
Published: Monday, January 9, 2006 9:30 AM EST

The fight against malaria has scored a major victory. The U.S. Agency for International Development has elected to use nearly half of its budget to buy proven interventions against the disease, which affects 500 million people and kills more than a million children around the world each year. USAID has promised $15 million expressly for insecticides, recognizing their unique effectiveness in reducing the burden of malaria. The agency has opted to streamline more funding to fewer countries in order to improve accountability and focus on results.

This announcement follows USAID chief Andrew Natsios' resignation and marks an ideological shift in the agency's approach to malaria control. Since it joined the World Health Organization's global effort to roll back the disease in 1998, it has devoted most of its budget to U.S. consultants whose technical advice emphasized mosquito nets and largely ignored indoor residual spraying. This has proved a losing strategy. Recent estimates of malaria rates show they have increased substantially over the past decade.

Holding USAID to account has proven difficult because malaria primarily affects African children and public interest in the U.S. is limited. It has taken much pressure from malaria experts to ensure the policy shift. There is still room for improvement since its unclear how transparent the new effort will be, but hope is running high within the community. The "Kill Malarial Mosquitoes Now!" coalition, which has presented USAID with a declaration calling for two thirds of the agency's budget to be used to buy life-saving commodities (namely the historically maligned but singularly effective insecticide DDT) has played a part in the recent shift. Signatories to the declaration include Nobel Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dr. Norman Borlaug, as well as doctors, lawyers, public health experts, business professionals and civil society group leaders from diverse backgrounds.

The "Kill Malarial Mosquitoes Now!" coalition has welcomed the announcement by USAID but believes that the agency must go further in fighting the disease. There is no guarantee that the money USAID has committed toward indoor residual spraying will be used to buy DDT. This chemical is the cheapest and most effective insecticide available for IRS. It brought malaria rates down by 75 percent in both Zambia and South Africa. A spokesman said USAID has previously followed environmentalists' ideology in avoiding the chemical, pointing to exaggerated and often unfounded accounts of its harmful effect on humans. Yet the science remains on the side of using DDT. Marginal side effects do not prevent the use of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. to treat far less devastating diseases than malaria. If asked, an African mother would rather risk a few squirts of DDT on the wall to save her child's life or to prevent an average of 300 mosquito bites a night during the rainy season.

USAID also needs to avoid fudging numbers, a situation most donors are guilty of at some stage. The agency must establish clear, scientifically sound baseline figures for malaria rates in the countries where it operates. This should be a high priority in their move to concentrate more money in fewer programs; it is the only way progress can be judged. How else will the president know that malaria deaths have been halved, if there is no baseline from which to judge it? In the past, the agency has borrowed inaccurate or incomplete figures from the World Health Organization. Additionally, USAID has fudged its efficacy data for insecticide-treated mosquito nets by assuming that they are used appropriately and consistently. It is hoped that this will no longer be tolerated in the new USAID.

President Bush and USAID must be commended for being the first leader and aid agency to explicitly mention funding spraying programs (and although there is no guarantee, there is the mention of using DDT as well). Hopefully they will be copied around the world, especially in Europe. Millions of lives are at stake and the tools to protect them are at our fingertips.
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Old 01-10-06, 08:51 AM
  #21  
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There was a nice little segment on DDT/malaria on 20/20 either last week or the week before.
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Old 01-17-06, 08:14 AM
  #22  
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This article is not brand new but I saw it when it was reprinted on another website.

The EU has taken an unconscionable position. Bayer's support for the EU position, which it admits is due to economic reasons, is cynically evil.

http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=17983

Uganda Fighting for Right to Eradicate Malaria
EU pressure means 70,000 Ugandans die every year without DDT, U.S. Senate told
Written By: Paul Driessen
Published In: Environment News
Publication Date: November 1, 2005
Publisher: The Heartland Institute

Environmental activists are callously denying the citizens of Uganda, where 70,000 people die every year due to malaria, the right to use DDT to eradicate the disease, the U.S. Senate was told on September 28.


EU Threatens Uganda

Earlier this year, the European Union's charge d'affairs for Uganda threatened that country over its intention to resume using DDT to control the continuing malaria epidemic that kills up to 100,000 Ugandans every year--half of them children. He warned that if Uganda used DDT to save lives, the EU would ban the import of any flowers, food, or other agricultural products grown in the sub-Saharan country.

Now German chemical giant Bayer Crop Sciences, a leading manufacturer of insecticides more expensive and less effective than DDT, has issued a statement proclaiming its support for the EU position. Senior Bayer management is seeking to deny Ugandans the use of DDT.

Ugandans consider the eradication of malaria to be of immense importance. "The Ugandan government has indicated it may soon begin spraying of DDT in people's homes to reduce the infection rate of malaria which now kills an estimated 70,000 people, mainly children under five, a year," reported the February 2 issue of EU Business. In mosquito-control efforts such as these, small amounts of DDT are sprayed on the inside walls of dwellings in carefully controlled programs.


Bayer Blasted in Senate

"DDT helped eradicate malaria from Europe and the United States in the 1950s, and was used to eradicate malaria in many other countries," Richard Tren, South African director of Africa Fighting Malaria, told the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on September 28.

Explained Tren in written remarks submitted to the committee, "DDT is safe for human use, and there has never been a peer-reviewed replicated study showing any human harm from the chemical, even though billions have been exposed to it (hundreds of millions in moderate to high doses).

"It's utterly disgraceful for a powerful company like Bayer not only to put commercial interests above human life, but also to lie in the process," Tren said. "We fear that commercial entities such as Bayer ... are using bad science and fear about DDT in order to advance their own particular interests.

"Ultimately it is poor children in Africa that pay for these policy failures, based on abused science," added Tren. "We urge the U.S. government to insist that years of scaremongering and bad science be reversed and to take a strong stance against the EU and Bayer Crop Sciences."


Bayer Fears Sales Loss

Bayer sees things differently. "We fully support [the EU's decision] to ban imports of agricultural products coming from countries using DDT," Bayer vector control manager Gerhard Hesse said in an email exchange with malaria scientists. He admitted "DDT use is for us a commercial threat."

Bayer Crop Sciences reported sales of more than $7 billion in 2004. In a potential conflict of interest, Hesse sits on the board of the World Health Organization's Roll Back Malaria (RBM) coalition. The group has overseen an increase in disease and death rates from malaria, due in part to policies that shun DDT. RBM has been characterized as "a failing public health program" by the British Medical Journal.


Uganda Fighting Back

Until now, Uganda has bowed to outside pressure, but Health Minister Jim Muhwezi is determined to use DDT. Speaking at a World Malaria Day commemoration in April 2005, Muhwezi noted, "DDT has been proven, over and over again, to be the most effective and least expensive method of fighting malaria."

Many countries with a high incidence of malaria rely on international aid to fund their malaria-control programs and thus are forced to adopt policies that aid agencies and the European Union prefer.

Don Roberts, professor of Tropical Public Health at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, noted "there is overwhelming evidence that malarious countries are being pressed by rich countries not to use DDT. It is a chilling thought that rich and powerful countries are willing to trade the lives of poor rural people for reasons that have no basis in science."

"The aggressive European opposition to DDT use in Africa is a disaster," said Sterling Burnett, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis. "For all the time they spend talking about assisting Africa, European governments do far more harm than good.

"As Ugandan Health Minister Muhwezi points out, the best thing Europe can do for Africa is stop arm-twisting them into foregoing the use of DDT," said Burnett. "Do Europeans care about African lives? If they do, they must turn their backs on the politically correct rhetoric of environmental activist groups and allow DDT to start saving lives. European Greens are killing innocent Africans."
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Old 06-19-06, 08:23 AM
  #23  
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It looks like using DDT is really going to happen in Uganda.

http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/504691

NEMA okays DDT use against Malaria
Sunday, 18th June, 2006

By Charles Ariko

ENVIRONMENT watchdog NEMA has approved DDT for indoor residual spraying to fight malaria.

Dr. Sam Okware, the acting director in-charge of clinical and community health, yesterday said a NEMA [Uganda's National Environment Management Authority] Environment Impact Assessment found out that indoor DDT spraying had no negative impact on the environment. “We have been cleared by NEMA. What is remaining is the resources for us to buy DDT and we start spraying immediately,” Okware said.

“DDT is not readily on the market. We have to make an order with either China or South Africa, which are still manufacturing DDT,” Okware said. He said spraying would be conducted from community to community under the World Health Organisation’s guidelines. He said some southwestern districts were spraying a chemical known as ICON (Lambda cyhalothrin) as an alternative to DDT.

Makerere University scientists recently said there were no dangerous effects found on people from Kigezi where DDT was sprayed 40 years ago in a study carried out earlier this year.

Prof. Gabriel S. Bimenya’s team said Kigezi residents had not suffered any negative side-effects from the DDT used in the 1960s.

The researchers tested people’s urine and blood and also earthworms, soils, fish, beef and beans but found no negative effects.

The report was presented to President Yoweri Museveni recently. Opening the 8th Parliament recently, Museveni said the Cabinet would study the report.
Meanwhile:

http://allafrica.com/stories/200606060141.html

Uganda: Exporters Petition Govt Against DDT Use

The East African (Nairobi)

June 6, 2006
Posted to the web June 6, 2006

Bamuturaki Musinguzi, Special Correspondent
Nairobi

Uganda's agricultural exporters have petitioned President Yoweri Museveni to stop the government's planned use of DDT in the fight against malaria.

The exporters are arguing that the controversial chemical will turn buyers against their products.

In an open letter to the president dated April 25, the exporters argue that a government plan to spray DDT only indoors to ensure that it does not get into the food chain, is not enough to assuage the fears of consumers in the West.

"There is no such thing as 'controlled' indoor spraying; DDT effluents will at some point enter the food chain and negatively impact on Uganda's export market," the petition says. The stigma that will then attach to Uganda's export products will affect all sectors. "Already, some importers of Ugandan products in Europe have threatened to stop buying our products once the spraying starts," adds the petition, which was signed by representatives of traditional and non-traditional exports organisations from the dairy, honey, coffee, tea, fish, textile, organic and horticultural produce sectors.

Uganda's non-traditional agricultural exports have outstripped traditional crops such as coffee, tea, tobacco and cotton.

Non-traditional agricultural exports grew to $408 million in 2004 from $182 million in 1998, while traditional exports dropped to $245 million in 2004 from $353 million in 1998.

In 2004, the non-traditional sector contributed 63 per cent to total export earnings, compared with 62 per cent in 2003. Fish exports increased to $103 million in 2004 from $87.4 million in 2003, a 18.2 per cent increase.

The petition follows a warning by the European Union mission in Uganda that DDT use could lead to the country's agricultural exports being locked out of the Union.

Tom Vens, the head of the Eco-nomic, Trade and Social Sectors desk at the EU Delegation to Uganda, said, "We have advised the government that it is taking a risk by going ahead with DDT use."

He said there will be no official EU ban on the country if it uses DDT according to laid down international conventions, but consumer organisations are free to react anyway they choose to.

Mr Vens said, "If the strict controls that should be put in place when DDT is used are not fully adhered to, and there is a risk of contamination of the food chain, it will not automatically lead to a ban on food products, but it will mean that that particular consignment cannot be sent to Europe."

However, outgoing Health Minister Jim Muhwezi, in response to the EU, said the country will go ahead with DDT use.

"Our plans are within the agreed framework of the World Health Organisation and there is nothing new in this," said Mr Muhwezi. "We shall use indoor residual spraying and this means it will not come into contact with the food chain."

He said the government does not plan mass spraying outside buildings and is educating the public on the use of the pesticide.

Eugene Nsereko, vice chairman of the Uganda Coffee Trade Federation, said the country risks losing its specialty coffee markets if the spraying goes ahead. "One may argue that it will be indoor spraying, but harvested coffee is kept in farmers' houses where definitely it will become contaminated."

DDT was used extensively in the 1950s and early 1960s to fight malaria and other pests across the world but was stopped after scientists expressed fears about its ability to accumulate in organisms, and its effects on humans - although no fatalities were reported.
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Old 06-19-06, 09:54 AM
  #24  
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We lose a LOT of birds to West Nile every year. I wonder if controlling the mosquitos with DDT would save more birds (due to West Nile) than it would kill.

I have no data either way, I'm just pondering the question.
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Old 06-19-06, 10:06 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by OldDude
We lose a LOT of birds to West Nile every year. I wonder if controlling the mosquitos with DDT would save more birds (due to West Nile) than it would kill.

I have no data either way, I'm just pondering the question.
The DDT will be used only indoors so it probably won't affect the birds much either way.

It may kill some of the mosquitos that venture indoors but it will also cause some mosquitos to simply not come indoors (there is a big mosquito avoidance factor from DDT) and keep more of them outdoors so probably kind of a wash.

Just my speculation.
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