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<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Washington, D.C., August 26, 2005—A new article in the recent edition of British scientific journal The Lancet (August 27, 2005) threatens to undermine the battle against malaria around the world. Authors suggest public health officials should rethink the use of DDT for malaria control—discouraging use of the most vital tool in an effort to save millions of lives.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The Lancet authors concluded that there is “evidence now indicating that DDT might have adverse effects on human health,” and that it would be “prudent” to rethink DDT use to better assess risks and benefits.
Yet the truly prudent approach would be to ignore this dangerous advice. “An estimated 2 million people die and 400 million suffer annually from malaria,” said Angela Logomasini, CEI’s Director of Risk and Environmental Policy. “The importance of DDT in this battle is widely acknowledged,” she continued, “which is why more than 400 public health advocates ranging from physicians to infectious disease experts signed an open letter in 1999 supporting DDT use for public health purposes.”
The Lancet authors’ own literature review confirms that the human health impacts of DDT are small to nonexistent. Nonetheless, new research, the authors maintain, reveals associations between DDT and certain health effects. They admit these studies fail to show cause and effect—which means they prove nothing. Yet the authors make the preposterous suggestion that these studies should affect DDT policy because they “are not so flawed” that they can be dismissed.
“What’s really flawed,” said Logomasini, “is these researchers’ utter disregard for the fact that thousands of people—mostly children—die every day from malaria.”
For more information, contact Richard Morrison at (202) 331-2273