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Washington, D.C., June 13, 2002—The U.S. Senate will soon vote on a treaty that could contribute to millions of deaths around the world. The treaty would restrict access to the pesticide DDT and possibly lead to its complete ban. Ironically, Senate deliberations coincide with the 30th anniversary of the U.S. ban of the pesticide, which occurred June 14, 1972. Many developing nations followed suit, leading to millions of annual deaths because communities could not control malaria without DDT. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
“DDT is still the best available tool for controlling the spread of malaria-carrying mosquitoes,” said Angela Logomasini, director of risk and environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “Public health authorities spray DDT on the interior walls of buildings, which deters mosquitoes from entering the homes. In addition, DDT is much more affordable than other pesticides, which is critically important for people in developing nations.”
The American Council on Science and Health (www.acsh.org ), non-profit group of physicians and health experts, is also urging that DDT be made available to combat malaria in the new study The DDT Ban Turns Thirty. The study explains that contrary to popular suspicions, the small, targeted doses sprayed near homes in areas where malaria is epidemic do not harm wildlife, and human exposure to even large quantities of DDT has been shown to have no negative health effects.
“Many Senators don’t realize that millions of lives may be in their hands when they cast this vote,” said Logomasini. A large number of Senators support the treaty because they think that provisions allowing limited use of DDT for public health reasons are sufficient. “In reality,” says Logomasini, “regulations in the treaty will jeopardize access to DDT, which is why the death toll might continue to grow if the Senate ratifies,” Logomasini noted.
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