Saturday, October 15, 2005

Blogging spree! (DDT Lies)

Via Crooked Timber I find this link to a page debunking yet another common anti-liberal myth. This one claims that liberals and environmentalists made DDT illegal and thus contributed to malaria world-wide.

What about the ban on using DDT to fight malaria? There is no such ban. DDT is banned from agricultural use (and rightly so because of environmental damage) but can still be used for disease prevention. JTFCSS pretends that there is a ban so they can hang malaria deaths around the neck of environmentalists.

Yes, the mosquitoes in Sri Lanka have evolved resistance to DDT. It doesn’t work any more. In fact, that is the reason why they stopped using DDT in Sri Lanka. It wasn’t because of any ban—it was because it stopped being effective. [Members of The World Health Organization] are sending malathion, which will actually be able to kill the mosquitoes there.

This slur plays right to the biases that conservatives have. Namely, it’s the common conservative belief that environmentalists want us to choose between the environment and man. As this story proves, the opposite is true: Environmentalists (like me) want to use our resources wisely so as to not squander long term economic health for short term gain. Environmentalists helped phase out the use of DDT as an agricultural pesticide in the developing world because the environmental damage it caused was unnecessary and so its use as an anti-malarial pesticide could be maintained.

It’s a pity that, having failed to find true arguments, anti-environmentalists have to resort to fake ones. Or maybe it’s not.


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