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DDT and Malaria: The Misanthropes Strike Back!

The recent decision by the World Health Organization to recommend selective indoor spraying to control malaria seemed to signal a recognition on the part of environmentalists that “small” environmental risks could be accepted when the human gains were great. Sigh — it appears that this is not to be. The internet is abuzz with attacks on the WHO reforms, arguing that bed nets are a superior solution, a solution not requiring rethinking the relative risks of DDT. They raise the issue of mosquitoes becoming resistant to DDT — less of a problem than they think since the major impact of DDT is to deter mosquitoes from residing in the sprayed room, not killing them. Not sure how resistant builds up in these cases. Also, bed nets require significant behavioral changes. People must arrange their lives to sleep enclosed, the nets must be cared for (torn nets don't protest), and they do nothing for mosquito bites prior to bedtime. Millions more are likely to die before the Greens abandon their worship of St. Carson and allow mankind to once again defend themselves against disease.