Two more lazy and ignorant pundits have been spotted spreading the hoax about a non-existant DDT ban. In the New York Times Nicholas Kristof writes
Environmentalists were right about DDT’s threat to bald eagles, for example, but blocking all spraying in the third world has led to hundreds of thousands of malaria deaths.
There is no ban on the the use of DDT against malaria. It is still used for that purpose. This fact is not a secret. Kristof just hasn’t bothered to find out the truth.
Writing in London’s Daily Telegraph, Dick Taverne perpetrates this howler:
DDT is another good example of a chemical that saved millions of lives by eliminating malarial mosquitoes yet was banned after environmentalists – including Rachel Carson, author of The Silent Spring – accused it of causing cancers. Yet not a single study shows that exposure to DDT damages the health of human beings. In Sri Lanka alone, the reported number of malaria cases rose from just 17 in 1963 to more than a million in 1968 after DDT was banned.
DDT was not banned in Sri Lanka in 1963. Nor did malaria increase to more than a million cases there in 1968. Some studies have found links between DDT and cancer (though more studies have found no link). The title “Silent Spring” does not refer to cancer, but the possibility that song birds could be wiped out by DDT.
Kristof at least has the excuse that he has to bang out a column a week and doesn’t have the time to properly research them. Taverne does not have that excuse since since his column is an extract from what would seem to be a rather poorly researched book.