Last year I posted about The Great DDT Hoax, the fake story of how DDT had all but eliminated malaria in Sri Lanka until evil enviros banned its use. Most of the people repeating this hoax were just part of the disinformation cycle and were merely guilty of lazy and sloppy research. But some of them had certainly read accurate accounts of what happened and were deliberately deceiving their readers.
I can add Julian Simon to the list of dishonest ones. In the Ultimate Resource 2 Page 261 he writes about “environmental scares”:
DDT, sensationalized by Rachel Carson in 1962. Said to cause hepatitis.
Discontinued in U.S. in 1972. Known then to be safe to humans (caused death only if
eaten like pancakes). Some damage to wildlife under special conditions.
With the aid of DDT, “India had brought the number of malaria cases down from the estimated 75 million in 1951 to about 50,000 in 1961. Sri Lanka reduced malaria from about three million cases after World War II to just 29 in 1964.” Then as the use of DDT went down, “Endemic malaria returned to India like the turnaround of a tide.” By 1977 “the number of cases reached at least 30 million and perhaps 50 million.”
And pages 462-463
Also, “Sri Lanka … reduced malaria from about three million cases after World War II to just 29 in 1964.” But then DDT was banned. And due to the evolution of pesticide-resistant strains of carrier insects and the concomitant damage to the insects’ natural predators, pesticides soon lose their effectiveness. The disease has returned in force; by 1970 Sri Lanka may have had a million cases of malaria per year.
Now Simon’s four quotes all come from Gordon Harrison’s Mosquitoes, malaria, and man. Trouble is, if you read Harrison’s account of the resurgence of malaria in Sri Lanka and India (I have a copy here), you find out that DDT was not banned and environmentalists had nothing to do with it. It is true that DDT shortages were partly responsible for the resurgence, but that was because they were trying to increase DDT spraying in response to the malaria epidemic. So Simon must have read Harrison’s account, copied the quotations from it and then decided to blame environmentalist scare tactics for the resurgence, even though he knew it wasn’t their fault.