Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, September 15, 2006

Greenies Lose A Big One

One of the most cynical behaviors of western environmentalists -- generally a well fed, good-living bunch -- is their imposition of controls on third world countries that eliminate the opportunity for poorer people to enjoy the health and comforts of the West.

They attack dams that would bring electricity to impoverished regions. The fight factories and mines that could bring economic vitality to people who hunger.

They say they do this because we have to protect the health of the planet and all its inhabitants, including people, yet their policies damn poor people in third world nations to poverty and early death.

Nowhere is this more true than Africa, where the environmentalist's infiltration of the World Health Organization has led to the deaths of millions. WHO has discouraged or disallowed the use of DDT in its war on malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria kills a child around the world every 30 seconds, and is Africa's second most deadly disease, just behind AIDS.

Malaria afflicts 300 million to 500 million people and claims 2 million to 3 million lives per year; and the United Nations estimates that it cuts Africa's economic growth by 1.3 percent yearly.

Finally giving in to reason and compassion for these people, WHO has changed its DDT policy:

Nearly thirty years after phasing out the widespread use of indoor spraying with DDT and other insecticides to control malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) today announced that this intervention will once again play a major role in its efforts to fight the disease. WHO is now recommending the use of indoor residual spraying (IRS) not only in epidemic areas but also in areas with constant and high malaria transmission, including throughout Africa.

WHO actively promoted indoor residual spraying for malaria control until the early 1980s when increased health and environmental concerns surrounding DDT caused the organization to stop promoting its use and to focus instead on other means of prevention. Extensive research and testing has since demonstrated that well-managed indoor residual spraying programmes using DDT pose no harm to wildlife or to humans.

"We must take a position based on the science and the data," said Dr Arata Kochi, Director of WHO’s Global Malaria Programme. “One of the best tools we have against malaria is indoor residual house spraying. Of the dozen insecticides WHO has approved as safe for house spraying, the most effective is DDT.”

Leading the charge to pressure a WHO change in policy was the Bush administration, and it got kudos in the WHO release:

“I anticipate that all 15 of the country programs of President Bush’s $1.2 billion commitment to cut malaria deaths in half will include substantial indoor residual spraying activities, including many that will use DDT,” said Admiral R. Timothy Ziemer, Coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative. “Because it is relatively inexpensive and very effective, USAID supports the spraying of homes with insecticides as a part of a balanced, comprehensive malaria prevention and treatment program. “

Programmatic evidence shows that correct and timely use of indoor residual spraying can reduce malaria transmission by up to 90 percent.

Previously, WHO recommended mosquito nets, so this is a great leap forward -- but unfortunately WHO's change of policy doesn't go far enough, since it still does not allow the outdoor application of DDT. Careful application of DDT to specific breeding areas -- not aerial spraying of massive amounts over the landscape -- is needed and will not cause environmental chaos.

But the greenies are inflamed even at the modest modification in policy. Here's a quote from WSJ's story:

Wider use of DDT "is shortsighted and doesn't recognize the long-term problems and hazards," said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, a Washington group pushing for the elimination of toxic pesticides. "It behooves us to advocate the phase-out of this chemical around the world and find solutions to malaria that go to the cause of infestation." He says officials need to focus more on eliminating mosquito breeding grounds, such as standing pools of water.

Does he really think people havn't been trying since DDT's ban in the 1970s to find something else that works as well? Trying more is his big idea while people die? Besides, his screed, like so many green screeds, avoids the facts.

"In the case of thin egg shells, it is a phenomenon that predates use of DDT. It has been known for decades. There are many causes: diets low in calcium or Vitamin D, fright, high nocturnal temperatures, various toxic substances, and diseases such as Newcastle's disease. Experiments designed to show a toxic effect from eating DDT failed, even though the experimenters fed their birds (pheasant and quail) from 6,000 to 20,000 times more DDT than the 0.3 parts per million residue of DDT found in food." (From Dixie Lee Ray's Trashing the Planet)

Yeah, but who cares? One of the fears expressed by African nations about lifting the ban is that European nations would reject their crops due to strict bans on DDT-sprayed crops. Never mind that the WHO rules still don't allow spraying. Never mind that DDT is not a carcinogen and there would be no risk to the Europeans. Just continue to punish Africa so you can feel pure.

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