Ideology vs. Health

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You are correct about the heartbreaking disgrace of the purge of DDT (“How to combat malaria,” Editorial, Jan. 18), the most effective, affordable protection against the rampant killer malaria. Yet the story is about to take an even more cruel turn, with the active assistance of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />United States. The Bush administration has agreed to eliminate or further restrict the use of and trade in a “dirty dozen” chemicals, including DDT, through the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs treaty).

POPs supporters claim it does not expressly forbid the use of DDT to control malaria. Still, they cannot hide from the obvious further impediments POPs places on DDT's use at the very time that science and experience dictate reversal of the ideologically driven stranglehold placed on its use because of unfounded environmental fears.

It gets worse. The Senate has yet to ratify POPs. However, time constraints, not constitutional niceties, are responsible for preventing the full Senate from moving last year on the administration's request to pass legislation implementing the treaty.

Such a bill requires just a majority of those voting, while ratification demands a far more difficult two-thirds of the vote. Completing its abdication of the constitutionally established role for the Senate in approving any international agreement binding on the United States, the legislation would for the first time allow a mere agency to expand the scope—that is, modify the terms of—a treaty.

Limiting the use of DDT kills. Our elected representatives are poised to allow unelected bureaucrats to scheme with pressure groups and chemo-phobic nations and, through unaccountable bureaucratic means, bypass the protection against such dangerous powers demanded by our Founding Fathers.


Senior fellow

Competitive Enterprise Institute