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FACT CHECK: DDT ban killed millions

From dKosopedia


The soundbite

There's a global ban on DDT, which caused malaria to kill millions. Scientists are worse than Hitler.

The truth

There's no global ban on DDT. DDT is still used today. Malaria is still around because DDT overuse bred DDT-resistent bugs.

In Detail

There was (and still is) no global ban on DDT; only agricultural use is banned. Places with deadly mosquito-borne illnesses still use DDT, and in some places excessive use has led to the development of DDT-resistant mosquitoes.56 In fact, the drastic reduction of DDT use in agriculture delayed the onset of resistance in mosquitoes. That means the ban on agricultural use of DDT has saved millions of lives, by slowing the arrival of DDT-resistant bugs.

From Wikipedia:

...widespread agricultural use led to resistant insect populations. In many areas, early victories partially or completely reversed, and in some cases rates of transmission even increased. The program was successful in eliminating malaria only in areas with "high socio-economic status, well-organized [read: SOCIALIZED] healthcare systems, and relatively less intensive or seasonal malaria transmission"...

DDT was less effective in tropical regions due to the continuous life cycle of mosquitoes and poor infrastructure [ie infrastructure left to the private sector, the way conservatives like it]. It was not applied at all in sub-Saharan Africa due to these perceived difficulties. Mortality rates in that area never declined to the same dramatic extent, and now constitute the bulk of malarial deaths worldwide, especially following the disease's resurgence as a result of resistance to drug treatments...The goal of eradication was abandoned in 1969, and attention was focused on controlling and treating the disease. Spraying programs (especially using DDT) were curtailed...mostly because mosquitoes were developing resistance to DDT. Efforts shifted from spraying to the use of bednets impregnated with insecticides and other interventions.'' [Paid for by foreign aid, which conservatives oppose].

More Wikipedia:

Resistance has greatly reduced DDT's effectiveness... Resistance is largely due to agricultural use, in much greater quantities than required for disease prevention. According to one study that attempted to quantify the lives saved by banning agricultural use and thereby slowing the spread of resistance, "it can be estimated that at current rates each kilo of insecticide added to the environment will generate 105 new cases of malaria."

Resistance was noted early in spray campaigns. Paul Russell, a former head of the Allied Anti-Malaria campaign, observed in 1956 that "resistance has appeared after six or seven years." DDT has lost much of its effectiveness in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Turkey and Central America...In many parts of India, DDT has also largely lost its effectiveness.

What happens instead of relying on sic-fi authors and chemical industry spokespeople, we actually ask the experts?

More Wikipedia:

These arguments have been dismissed as "outrageous" by former WHO scientist Socrates Litsios. May Berenbaum, University of Illinois entomologist, says, "to blame environmentalists who oppose DDT for more deaths than Hitler is worse than irresponsible."...

Criticisms of a DDT "ban" often specifically reference the 1972 US ban (with the erroneous implication that this constituted a worldwide ban and prohibited use of DDT in vector control). Reference is often made to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring even though she never pushed for a ban on DDT. John Quiggin and Tim Lambert wrote, "the most striking feature of the claim against Carson is the ease with which it can be refuted." Carson actually devoted a page of her book to considering the relationship between DDT and malaria, warning of the evolution of DDT resistance in mosquitoes and concluding:

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."''

What this lie tells us about conservatives

Even though republicans believe that millions are dying because of a treaty, none of them have done anything about changing it. No conservative politician has put it on their platform, there is no "movement to legalize DDT". Looks like the conservative elite knows they're lying, and the conservative rank and file don't care about millions of poor people dying. That's the conservative answer to almost every problem: blame somebody else, enflame as much hatred as possible, then do nothing. Conservatism is not about solving problems - it's about keeping ordinary people divided while the powerful laugh their way to the bank.

What kind of person just sits there while somebody "kills more people than Hitler" (to quote Michael Crichton). Conservatives. After all, their solution to the actual Hitler was also to do nothing.

Role of creationist science-denialism

Remember this when someone says "It doesn't matter if people don't believe in evolution".

Malaria kills millions because bugs evolved to beat DDT. Germs are also evolving to beat antibiotics because people carelessly overuse them. People ignore warnings from scientists because creationists tell them that the bugs and germs don't evolve. In short, if you allow Intelligent Design to be taught, you're helping spread malaria and create a post-antibiotic world. To see what that's like, look at how hellish life was in the pre-antibiotic era. Here's a google search for "disgusting infection". Click images and behold the future your children face under creationism.

How to solve the problem

This is proof that we need more funding for science, so we can invent new malaria-busters faster than the bugs can evolve immunities. We need to teach evolution, so people can understand how overuse of DDT and Antibiotics cause the evolution of DDT-resistant bugs and antibiotic-resistant germs.

Related concepts

Genetic commons.

External links

Retrieved from "http://localhost../../../d/d/t/FACT_CHECK%7E_DDT_ban_killed_millions_4aa4.html"

This page was last modified 14:09, 4 December 2013 by dKosopedia user PatriotismOverProfits. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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