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Reason Foundation

DDT Saves Lives

Leonard Gilroy
January 9, 2005, 10:24am

The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof hits the nail on the head regarding the need to reconsider the ban on DDT in developing countries: While there is ample evidence refuting Kristof's claim that DDT nearly wiped out the bald eagle, his larger point is right on target: the risks to humans from exposure to DDT are far less than the risks posed by exposure to malaria. Worldwide, hundreds of millions of people contract malaria every year, resulting in over a million deaths. It's particularly nice to see such a prominent call for reconsidering the DDT ban in a media outlet that often falls in step with the environmental activist party line. Rachel Carson, whose anti-DDT book Silent Spring helped launch the modern environmental movement in the 1960's, would have been aghast. For more facts on DDT, check out JunkScience.com's 100 Things You Should Know About DDT. Also, check out this NCPA paper, which hammers home the point that the application of the "precautionary principle" to justify the ban on DDT has actually had the counterproductive effect of increasing risks to human health.

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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