Business, no environmentalists, oppose DDT in Africa

Steve Milloy and an entire host of DDT denialists hope you never read any newspaper from Africa.  Your ignorance is their best argument.

If you don’t read African newspapers, they can continue to blame environmentalists for any case of malaria that occurs in Africa.  They’ll claim, though it’s not true, that environmentalists urged a complete ban on the use of DDT.  They’ll argue, falsely, that African governments were bullied into not using DDT by environmentalists, ignoring the fact that some African nations have just never been able to get their kit together to conduct an anti-malaria campaign, while other nations discovered DDT was ineffective — and most of the nations have no love for environmentalists anyway (Idi Amin?  Jomo Kenyatta?  Who does Milloy think he’s kidding?).

If you don’t read African newspapers, you’ll miss stories like this one, from the Daily Times in Malawi, that say it’s Milloy’s old friends in the tobacco business who stand in the way of modest use of DDT.

If you don’t read African newspapers, you’ll miss stories like this one, from New Vision in Kampala, Uganda, that say it’s the cotton farmers who stand in the way of modest use of DDT.

If Steven Milloy wanted to get DDT used against malaria in Africa, in indoor residual spraying (IRS) campaigns, all he has to do is pick up the phone and ask his friends to allow it to be done. 

Someone who will lie to you about their friends’ misdeeds, and try to pin it on a nice old lady like Rachel Carson, will go Charles Colson one better:  They’ll walk over your grandmother to do what they want to do.  In fact, they’ll go out of their way to walk over your grandmother.

The New Republic seems to have come around to get the story straight.  Truth wins in a fair fight — it’s a fight to make sure the fight is fair, though.

John Stossel?  Your company doesn’t get tobacco money any more.  What’s your excuse?  Do you really believe the Bush administration is beholden to environmentalists on this one issue?  How long have you been covering politics?

(Texts of news stories below the fold.)

In Malawi:

Tobacco industry stands firm on DDT

17:10:22 – 15 May 2008This follows Ministry of Health interest in 2006 to bring back DDT which is one of the known synthetic pesticides to be used in the country to halt reproduction of mosquitoes which spread the killer disease.

During a media briefing in Salima on Sunday Executive Director for Agricultural Research and Extension Trust (Aret) Ibrahim Phiri said chances for DDT contamination to tobacco remain very high in rural areas where tobacco is mostly grown.

“As an industry we have been consulted on the use of DDT especially in rural areas where malaria is wrecking havoc but there is a conflict here as health officials are trying to protect us from this killer disease while we are looking at protecting the country’s major forex earner from being shunned on the international market,” said Phiri.

He added that Malawi’s tobacco may be threatened if the country accepts DDT re-introduction as there would be scepticism on whether the leaf is pure.

However General Manager for Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) Godfrey Chapola said despite the wide consultations government has not made a decision on whether to use the chemical or not.

Statistics indicate that tobacco earns the country over US$400 million (about K56 billion) annually.

International health organizations say the banning of DDT domestic use led to its diminished production in the United States and less availability of DDT for the developing world which culminated to deaths of at least 2 million people from malaria each year.

This, the say, is especially tragic since there was hope of eradicating the disease altogether when DDT was first introduced and its potential was recognized 30 years ago.

Copyright @ 2005 BNL Limited, Malawi
Major players in the tobacco industry in the country have stressed that the re-introduction of Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) by the health sector to curb malaria would threaten sales of tobacco on the global market.
In Uganda:

Patrick Okino

Lira, Amolatar and Dokolo districts have protested the planned spray of DDT in their area, saying it would affect the production of organic cotton.

Johnson Engole, the chairman of Lango Cooperative Union, told the parliamentary committee on tourism, trade and industry last week that the use of DDT in Oyam and Apac districts was expected to reduce the volume of organic cotton this year.

“We are urging people in these areas (Oyam and Apac) to grow conventional cotton, not organic, because of the DDT that was sprayed,” Engole told the committee headed by Rose Munyira Wabwire at Ngetta ginnery.

DDT was sprayed in the districts last month to fight malaria. The MPs were touring cotton ginneries and historical places in Bugisu, Teso and Lango


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