WASHINGTON - The World Health Organization on Friday called on more developing countries, particularly in Africa, to begin spraying the controversial pesticide DDT to fight malaria.It is about time that DDT be used again in the fight against malaria. The ban has been mostly about misinformation rather than the facts. Millions will be saved, mostly children. As to the chemical's toxicity, its never been proven to cause cancer. As like any pesticide, it has an effect on the enviorment. I will take the millions of lives saved.
The difference: DDT, longed banned in the United States because of environmental damage, is no longer sprayed outdoors. Instead it's used to coat the inside walls of mud huts or other dwellings and kill mosquitoes waiting to bite families as they sleep.
A small number of malaria-plagued countries already use DDT, backed by a 2001 United Nations treaty that set out strict rules to prevent environmental contamination. But the influential WHO's long-awaited announcement makes clear that it will push indoor spraying with a number of insecticides — and that DDT will be a top choice because when used properly it's safe, effective and cheap.
"We must take a position based on the science and the data," said Dr. Arata Kochi, the WHO's malaria chief. "One of the best tools we have against malaria is indoor residual house spraying. Of the dozen insecticides WHO has approved as safe for house spraying, the most effective is DDT."
"It's a big change," said biologist Amir Attaran of Canada's University of Ottawa, who has long pushed for the guidelines and described a recent draft. "There has been a lot of resistance to using insecticides to control malaria, and one insecticide especially. ... That will have to be re-evaluated by a lot of people."
The U.S. government already has decided to pay for DDT and other indoor insecticide use as part of President Bush's $1.2 billion, five-year initiative to control malaria in Africa.
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