The facts on DDT

Thanks to reader Jim Norton, who points to this letter to the Oz on DDT from parasitologist Dr Alan Lymbery, demolishing the nonsense peddled by Christopher Pearson (it’s on Keneth Miles site). My take on Pearson’s nonsense was here, with links to earlier pieces. I’m pleased to see it matches Lymbery almost point for point.

One fact Lymbery adds, of which I was not aware, is that Rachel Carson, who has been much maligned in the debate on this topic, explicitly noted, in relation to the growth of resistance arising from indiscriminate use of DDT

No responsible person contends that insect-borne disease should be ignored . . . The question that has now urgently presented itself is whether it is wise or responsible to attack the problem by methods that are rapidly making it worse

Lymbery concludes

Malaria is responsible for enormous suffering and death. The facts are readily available in the scientific literature. To blame a reduction in DDT usage for the death of 10-30 million people from malaria is not just simple-minded, it is demonstrably wrong. To blame a mythical, monolithic entity called the environmental lobby for the total reduction in DDT usage is not just paranoid, it is also demonstrably wrong. Your article is not only poor journalism, it is an insult to the people who work for the control of parasitic diseases that afflict developing nations.

The same could be said of the dozens of junk science sites in the blogosphere that have reproduced the same nonsense, usually with no attempt to check original sources.

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