Like Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, Rachel Carson is still wrong

CEI’s Angela Logomasini gives kudos to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Olka.) for his stand against honoring the 100th birthday of environmentalist icon Rachel Carson. Here’s why.

Carson used explosive rhetoric and junk science to advance an anti-technology agenda that turned many people against using all man-made chemicals.

Most seriously, Carson inspired enough fear to prompt nations to discontinue using the pesticide DDT, even for malaria control. Before Carson completed her book, DDT played a vitally important role in the eradication of mosquitoes carrying malaria in Western nations and was making progress in other nations around the globe.

This success was so great that DDT’s discoverer, Paul Herman Muller, earned a Nobel Prize in Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences declared in 1970: “To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. … DDT has prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable.”

Today, hundreds of millions of people — mostly African children under 5 — become seriously ill and more than a million die every year from malaria in large measure because so many nations stopped using DDT following publication of Carson’s book.

Last September, Dr. Arata Kochi, director of the World Health Organization’s Global Malaria Program, called on the environmental community to “help save African babies as you are helping to save the environment.” Kochi’s plea was part of an announcement that the WHO would seek increased use of DDT to fight malaria.

Rather than answer his call, two activist groups, the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA) and Beyond Pesticides, prefer to carry on the Carson legacy. They are shamelessly working to undermine the WHO’s endorsement of DDT by spreading misinformation about DDT risks.

For more on Rachel Carson’s deadly legacy, check out, as well as Jermy Lott and Erin Wildermuth’s Baltimore Sun op ed from Sunday.