The lengthy front-page article, "Malaria shrugs off effects of powerful drugs," by Margie Mason and Martha Mendoza (Dec. 28) was interesting, but it addressed problems associated with fighting the disease rather than killing the insect that carries it. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) wasn't mentioned even once.
Malaria kills over a million people each year, mostly in Africa and Southeast Asia. Nine million died between 1999 and 2002, 8.5 million of those pregnant women and children under the age of 5. There are 300-500 million new cases occur each year.
It's estimated that at least 60 million people have died of this mosquito-borne illness since 1972, the year DDT was banned by the EPA. That ban was mostly a result of the often-discredited 1962 Rachel Carson book, "Silent Spring."
Al Gore claimed that "Silent Spring" led him to write his first book on the environment. He now praises Carson, who is regarded as the "mother of the environmental movement."
It's ironic that her work was based upon faulty science -- just as Gore's anthropogenic global warming movement is today.
Google "The Lies of Rachel Carson," by the late entomologist J. Gordon Edwards. He and other scientists testified at hearings in 1971 when an EPA judge concluded, "DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard" nor a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man ... and does not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife."
Yet the EPA -- the same agency that recently declared CO2 is a dangerous pollutant -- banned it anyway.
Roy Innis of CORE and others denounce the ban in noteviljustwrong.com.
Eradicating malaria worldwide is possible with an effort like that undertaken here, especially during the '40s and '50s. Heavy use of DDT over 30 years did the job.
The 1972 ban was imposed because many thought it harmed birds and caused cancer. It did neither. The former was disproved by Cornell University researchers (and others) and the latter by the National Cancer Institute. No species was ever harmed.
In 1986, William Bowers, head entomologist at the University of Arizona said that DDT is the most significant discovery of all time and "in malaria control alone it saved almost 3 billion lives."
Mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria, West Nile fever, Yellow fever and dengue may well return as a significant problem in the U.S. Shouldn't we reconsider the ban on DDT and save lives?