Malaria Groups' Silence Enables Fatal Idiocy

Roger Bate | 10 May 2007
Wall Street Journal

In your excellent April 28 editorial "Dr. Conyers, I Presume," you highlight radical environmentalists' continuing opposition to DDT's life-saving role in malaria control. What remains unsaid, however, is how such groups can continue to lie publically and repeatedly about DDT and its impacts.

Although the World Health Organisation and the U.S. government have repeatedly explained that when sprayed in small amounts in homes it is safe to inhabitants, and saves thousands of lives, the self-interest of many within the malaria control community to promote bed nets means they say nothing to defend DDT. Indeed, one net seller, Vestergaard Frantzen, which has 75% of the net market, trashes DDT on its Web site and in public meetings in the same biased and unscientific way; and makes a tidy profit in so doing.

The malaria community must do more to combat the attacks on DDT -- at the moment their silence enables fatal idiocy.

Roger Bate
Resident Fellow
American Enterprise Institute
Washington