Rachel Carson Kills Babies .org

From the people who gave you “CO2: We call it life“, we now have a website: “Rachel Carson: we call her a baby killer“. They have pictures of children they allege Carson killed on every single page of the site.

And while they have several pages and thousands of words on DDT and on malaria, nowhere do they mention that mosquitoes can evolve resistance to DDT. And they conceal what Carson wrote about DDT and malaria:

No responsible person contends that insect-borne disease should be ignored. The question that has now urgently presented itself is whether it is either wise or responsible to attack the problem by methods that are rapidly making it worse. The world has heard much of the triumphant war against disease through the control of insect vectors of infection, but it has heard little of the other side of the story – the defeats, the short-lived triumphs that now strongly support the alarming view that the insect enemy has been made actually stronger by our efforts. Even worse, we may have destroyed our very means of fighting. …

What is the measure of this setback? The list of resistant species now includes practically all of the insect groups of medical importance. … Malaria programmes are threatened by resistance among mosquitoes. …

Practical advice should be ‘Spray as little as you possibly can’ rather than ‘Spray to the limit of your capacity’ …, Pressure on the pest population should always be as slight as possible.

And she was right. Because DDT was widely used, mosquitoes evolved resistance. In Sri Lanka, for example, this lead to a worsening epidemic and hundreds of thousands of cases of malaria as DDT became ineffective. The ban on the agricultural use of DDT that Carson inspired saved lives by slowing the development of resistance.

In conjunction with their Carson hate-site the CEI are also offering their expert, Angela Logomasini (she has a degree in politics, not malariology) for interviews about Rachel Carson’s legacy. You just know that some lazy reporters will balance their stories about Carson by quoting an environmentalist about great Carson was and then quoting Logomasini screeching about how Carson killed millions of people. And you just know that they won’t check Logomasini’s claims for accuracy.

Meanwhile Senator Tom Coburn has blocked a resolution to honour Rachel Carson, accusing her of causing the death of millions of people. And CEI alumnus Ron Bailey joins the chorus with a post blaming Carson for the deaths of millions from insect-borne diseases like malaria. In his post and in his articles he links, nowhere does he mention insecticide resistance or what Carson wrote about it. What a surprise.

Comments

  1. #1 ben
    May 23, 2007

    She looks like an obvious baby killer to me.

    Honestly though, I used to be hoodwinked by the anti-Carson crowd, until I read some contrary views about her here. I looked into the matter more and was flabbergasted at how completely ignorant are her detractors about her work and the entire DDT/Malaria debate.

    A combination of outright dishonesty about her work, and knee-jerk reactions coupled with ignorance seems to have lead to this sorry state. Conservatives/libertarians need to rid themselves of such “supporters” as these.

  2. #2 Robert S.
    May 23, 2007

    I agree. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

  3. #3 LogicallySpeaking
    May 23, 2007

    What you fail to mention is that Rachel Carson also hates God and democracy.

  4. #4 MarkH
    May 23, 2007

    Freaking CEI man. Ugh. Absolute worst of the worst there.

    I’m proud to have them on the list.

  5. #5 Robert S.
    May 23, 2007

    I hear she eats them too.

  6. #6 Hank Roberts
    May 23, 2007

    > insecticide resistance

    Of course they can’t believe.

    A problem with selection pressure from DDT? That’s evolution. Can’t believe in that if you’re a fundamentalist. Can’t get it by offering money in the free market, so I presume you also can’t believe it if you’re a libertarian.

    I’m disappointed in _Reason_. Not surprised. But there have been flickers of hope from time to time that science teachers were getting information through the policy wall. Sad.

  7. #7 Ian Gould
    May 23, 2007

    Ben: “I looked into the matter more and was flabbergasted at how completely ignorant are her detractors about her work and the entire DDT/Malaria debate.’

    Many of them are undoubtedly ignorant (if wilfully so).

    It seems though that the people propounding the lie are being deliberately dishonest.

  8. #8 Hank Roberts
    May 23, 2007

    Ya know, if there’s something in this universe that is hostile, and that attacks any species that’s starting to develop enough science and sense to get off their own planet — it’s found us and it’s attacking us.

  9. #9 Adam
    May 24, 2007

    “It seems though that the people propounding the lie are being deliberately dishonest.”

    This is where their real stupidity lies, it’s so fundamental that they can’t see that they have nothing to gain by being deliberately dishonest about it – even if they can be clever about how they go about it.

    http://www.neophilia.de/onlinehome/calvin/intelligent_life.gif

  10. #10 JB
    May 24, 2007

    I used to think the people at CEI were clever and dishonest.

    After the “CO2 is Life” add, I was forced to drop one of the adjectives.

  11. #11 Paul G
    May 24, 2007

    These ongoing posts about DDT and Rachel Carson ignore the true debate. Yes, Rachel Carson was nuanced in her arguement concerning the use of chemicals. But that’s not the question.

    The question remains, how, and why did numerous environmental organizations for decades ignore Rachel Carson’s sensible advice and instead work on crippling third world access and funding for indoor DDT spraying?

    Regards,

  12. #12 guthrie
    May 24, 2007

    Paul, given that most of this happened before I was able to formulate any kind of rational thought, perhaps you might have some evidence regarding lobbying against DDT?

  13. #13 Thom
    May 24, 2007

    Guthrie, you’re asking the exact same question of Paul G. that I asked three posts and many weeks ago. The fact is that Paul G. has no answer to that question.

  14. #14 dhogaza
    May 24, 2007

    Guthrie, you’re asking the exact same question of Paul G. that I asked three posts and many weeks ago. The fact is that Paul G. has no answer to that question.

    Psst … I’m a bird nerd and, ummm, take it from me …

    Parrots don’t really understand what they’re saying, if you catch my drift …

  15. #15 Eli Rabett
    May 24, 2007

    dhogaza, we call that an artificial stupidity machine.

  16. #16 Paul G
    May 25, 2007

    Guthrie, on this web site, you will find only silence about the role of environmentalists on their role in restricting the use of DDT so severely that it affected the wellbeing of people in poor countries.

    While Rachel Carson advocated for a cautious balance in the use of chemicals such as DDT, many environmentalists dropped the rationality that Carson espoused, and demonized DDT to such an extent that people’s lives were affected.

    This is the third post concerning DDT on this blog recently, and you will never hear a comment concerning environmentalist’s position on DDT in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. It appears those decades do not exist.

    Regards,

  17. #17 Tim Lambert
    May 25, 2007

    Gee Paul, despite being challenged repeatedly, you have failed to provide any evidence in support of your claims.

  18. #18 dhogaza
    May 25, 2007

    Gee Paul, despite being challenged repeatedly, you have failed to provide any evidence in support of your claims.

    Well, Mr. Rabbit corrected me and Paul’s not a parrot, but rather an “artificial stupidity machine”.

    Parrot or machine, the second word applies :)

  19. #19 Ian Gould
    May 25, 2007

    Paul G,

    Just so you understand how it works.

    If I say “I heard somewhere that Paul G cheats at golf.”, it is incumbent on me to prove that you do indeed cheat at golf.

    In the absence of any proof, you are under no compulsion to go out and find your old golf partners and produce depositions from them saying you don’t cheat.

  20. #20 Meyrick Kirby
    May 25, 2007

    Oh come on Ian! Everyone knows that at the WWF council’s winter escape, they like nothing more than to throw a few babies onto the fire to keep warm.

  21. #21 Ian Gould
    May 25, 2007

    I just realised where this idea that the WWF wanted to ban DDT came from.

    It’s a simple error – they actually wanted to ban the piledriver.

    It was the WCW who wanted to ban the DDT.

  22. #22 guthrie
    May 25, 2007

    I’m willing to set the bar for evidence fairly low. After all, the 70’s and 80’s and early 90’s were before the internet, so stuff cant just be saved and brought up years later. Nevertheless for his assertion to have some force will require quotes from some arguments somewhere. Perhaps he could start looking in newspaper archives?

  23. #23 Anonymous
    May 25, 2007

    > Guthrie, on this web site, you will find only silence about the role of environmentalists on their role in restricting the use of DDT so severely that it affected the wellbeing of people in poor countries.

    This silence apparently includes yourself, too, as you seem very reluctant to post any actual information about it.

  24. #24 Hank Roberts
    May 25, 2007

    Ecol Dis. 1982;1(4):243-55. Links
    The scope and limitations of insecticide spraying in rural vector control programmes in the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in India.

    * Barai D,
    * Hyma B,
    * Ramesh A.

    The resurgence of malaria in India began in 1966 and the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were no exception to this phenomenon. In both states the peak occurrence came in 1976. Malaria was largely confined to highly vulnerable and receptive areas. The problem of increased incidence was particularly associated with the development of several irrigation and hydro-electric schemes. Improperly maintained irrigation systems and reservoirs provided ideal breeding grounds. The present paper examines the scope and limitations of a major anti-malaria activity, namely residual insecticide spraying as adopted and practised in rural vector control programmes in irrigation development project areas. Past experiences (as during the National Malaria Eradication programme, 1958-1965) and current practices are reviewed on the basis of selected examples. Eradication programme, 1958-1965) and current practices are reviewed on the basis of selected examples.

    In view of the current re-emergence of the disease, the states are faced with new obstacles to residual insecticide spraying such as

    (a) the development of resistance of malaria vectors to DDT and other alternative compounds like BHC (benzene hexachloride),

    [b] changing vector behaviour with avoidance of contact with indoor insecticide deposits on walls,

    (c) environmental contamination (risks of chemicals),

    (d) extensive use of insecticides and pesticides for crop protection under an expanding green revolution agricultural technology, particularly in irrigated areas and

    (e) the existence of outdoor resting populations of the major vector Anopheles culicifacies and their role in extra-domiciliary transmission, making residual insecticide spray less effective.

    Spraying operations are also hindered by the persistence of certain social and cultural factors. The custom of mud plastering, white-washing and rethatching rural houses, for example, results in the loss of insecticide-treated surfaces.

    Other outdoor rural activities persist as obstacles in attempts to break the transmission cycle; washing, bathing and sleeping outdoors; illegal fishing and woodcutting at night; poorly constructed make-shift structures;housing project labourers near water sources; cattle grazing in nearby forests and human population movements related to seasonal migrants. The chain and extent of the transmission is dependent upon the malaria parasite carriers in the community (both indigenous and imported types) and the degree of contact of the community with those sites where people carry on the above activities, and on the effectiveness of surveillance operations.

    PMID: 6206995 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    ———————-

    Med Parazitol (Mosk). 2001 Jan-Mar;(1):24-33. Links
    [Current malaria situation in the Republic of Kazakhstan]
    [Article in Russian]

    * Bismil’din FB,
    * Shapieva ZhZh,
    * Anpilova EN.

    According to data going back many years, there has been a significant increase in the number of mosquitoes at some observation posts in Almaty, East Kazakhstan and Kyzlorda oblasts. There is a tendency everywhere for the numbers of imagos detected in residential buildings to increase, which presents a definite epidemiological risk that indigenous malaria will re-emerge if the disease is imported into Kazakhstan from countries which suffer from it. If we consider the species of mosquito present in the country and the temperature factor (the number of days in the year when the average daily temperature is over 16 degrees C), the country can be divided, on the basis of incomplete 1999 data, into zones at very high risk of re-emergence of malaria (Almaty, Zhambyl and South Kazakhstan oblasts), high risk (Karaganda oblasts and Almaty city), medium risk (Aktyubinsk and Akmolinsk oblasts), and low risk (Kostanay oblast). The malaria risk of the other oblasts has been calculated using data from earlier years (map attached) [Translator’s Note: map missing]. Preventive malaria control measures in Kazakhstan are divided into three categories to suit three different groups of communities. One hundred and seventy-nine communities have been allocated to the first group, at high risk of malaria resurgence; 1377 communities to the second group, at medium risk; and the remainder to the third group, at little or no risk of malaria resurgence. The following factors were used to categorize communities according to the risk that malaria might become reestablished if the disease should be imported from elsewhere: species of malarial mosquito present; changes in mosquito numbers and in the area of water susceptible to population by Anopheles; temperature conditions and, consequently, the length of the malaria transmission season and the season of effective susceptibility of the mosquito to infection; population migration; quality of laboratory testing for the diagnosis of malaria. Measures aimed at the destruction of mosquitoes are intended to reduce the numbers of Anopheles in the communities most at risk of malaria resurgence, i.e. those in group 1 above and the actual foci of malaria infection. Because of the economic crisis and financial difficulties, fewer areas have been treated in recent years. In 1999, 1387 hectares of water and 450,000 square metres of buildings were treated (see Fig. 2). Measures to control biting flies in health establishments, recreation areas, etc. Certainly also help to protect people from malarial mosquitoes. In 1999, 12,501 hectares of water and land were treated from the ground or the air (see Fig. 3). In the present situation, the main reasons for the difficulties affecting the malaria control and prevention campaign are as follows. Staff numbers in the Republic’s parasitology service have been unjustifiably reduced. For example, the number of entomologists and entomology assistants employed is 58% and 48%, respectively, of the number laid down in Ministry of Health directives. At the health epidemiology posts, the number of disinfectors has been reduced to a minimum, and practically all engineer/water engineer posts have been abolished. The country does not possess the necessary education base for initial training or continuing education of staff for the parasitology service. The lack of basic scientific information about the problems of malaria control and prevention and parasitology in general. There is no research to test or introduce the most effective, safe and low-cost malaria control products and insecticides. The methodological literature required to use certain modern insecticides is not available. Entomologists are not provided with specialist insect control equipment. Entomological surveys are left incomplete because of shortages of transport and fuel at the health epidemiology posts. Because of the economic crisis and the high cost of the radical water engineering measures necessary to combat malaria, these measures cannot be implemented on the scale required. The equipment and materials stocks of the parasitology laboratories are highly inadequate: there is a lack of modern laboratory equipment, as well as a lack of opportunities for high-level professional training for staff. The exchange of information between the CIS countries is unsatisfactory, and there is no common information space: nor is there any systematic data available from other foreign countries. In the period 2000-2003, Kazakhstan plans to carry out malaria control activities (mosquito destruction) over an area of 2000 hectares of water and 1.5 million square metres of buildings.

    PMID: 11548308 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    =================================================
    Yep. Clearly it’s all the work of that Carson woman. If we can discreditd her, we’ll end malaria.
    Like if we can discredit Darwin, we’lll end evolution. And if we can discredit Hansen, we’ll end hockey.

    This sort of thinking from the Stocky Hick brigade sure makes a lot of sense, if you don’t think.

  25. #25 trrll
    May 25, 2007

    While Rachel Carson advocated for a cautious balance in the use of chemicals such as DDT, many environmentalists dropped the rationality that Carson espoused, and demonized DDT to such an extent that people’s lives were affected.

    I am certainly willing to believe, even in the absence of any evidence, that there must have been some environmentalists, somewhere, who opposed all use of DDT whatsoever. On the other hand, I’d need to see some real evidence to be convinced that such radical environmentalists had so much influence that they were able to override rational voices such as Rachel Carson’s to the extent that it had a major impact on human health.

  26. #26 z
    May 25, 2007

    “On the other hand, I’d need to see some real evidence to be convinced that such radical environmentalists had so much influence that they were able to override rational voices such as Rachel Carson’s to the extent that it had a major impact on human health.”

    Crap, they fought for years just to end the practice of spraying vast quantities of DDT in the cotton plantations; but somehow, they were able to shut down the minute quantities used for public health with no problem.

  27. #27 J F Beck
    May 25, 2007

    Tim Lambert says: “Gee Paul, despite being challenged repeatedly, you have failed to provide any evidence in support of your claims.”

    In his post Lambert links to an old post in which he quotes approvingly from Mosquito: A Natural History of Our Most Persistent and Deadly Foe. The book is indeed a good read. It describes how Silent Spring led to the US DDT ban and the flow-on to the rest of the world (my bold):

    DDT’s supporters continue to argue that, despite the application of 1.3 billion pounds of the chemical in the United States, not one human death can be attributed to its use. But this argument could not stand against the perceived long-term danger. And with the chemical banned in America, the prospect for its use overseas dimmed as well. How many leaders abroad would be able to assure their citizens that a pesticide that Americans no longer produced, and feared using themselves, was actually safe?

    Thus a de facto DDT ban evolved. The evidence is overwhelming.

    10:08 AWST

  28. #28 Jeff Harvey
    May 26, 2007

    What I love from the usual pseudo-scientific scribes who contribute here is the perpetration of the myth that ‘environmental extremists’ – whoever the hell they are – played and continue to play a big role in determining US government regulatory policy. No evidence needs to be presented, just bombastic assertions that lack any kind of empirical basis. The assertions themselves tend to originate from corporate-funded think tanks, astroturf lobbying groups and public relations firms. They’ve used books, the internet and the media to disseminate all kinds of enviro-extremist conspiracy theories, and there are clearly those writing here who gobble up this disinformation. I am sure that E. Bruce Harrison, the supposed father of anti-environmental PR, would smile broadly reading some of the vacuous comments here. His greenwashing tactics have definitely been taken up by a lot of people.

    Yet the amounts of money spent by envrionmental NGO’s pales in comparison with the multi-million dollar budgets of the corporate lobby. Who is pulling the strings in plutocracies like the US? Who exerts more influence over public policy? I think that the answer should be patently obvious. What is disturbing is that it isn’t to many of those attacking the legacy of Rachel Carson.

    For the millionth time, the corporate flaks who are wrenching their collective hearts over the effects of malaria are doing so not because they give a damn about human life, but because they see pesticide controls as a flagship form of evil government regulation that limits the profit making capacities of the industries who fund them. I am sure that many of these think tanks and PR firms are funded by a coterie of arms manufacturers who are raking in big bucks making and selling WMD at home and to vile regimes broad which are killing hundreds of thousands of similarly precious lives. Let’s be honest for once: In the pursuit of power and profit, 80% of humanity is forever expendable. The DDT/pesticide issue is one of the most vile, cynical abuses of propoganda I have ever seen by those advocating evisceration of government reglations in the pursuit of private profit.

    Rachel Carson was a incredibly compassionate woman who was well ahead of her time as a scientist. When she wrote Silent Spring, ecology was a science in its relative infancy. She realized that humans are not exempt from the laws of nature, and that saturation use of pesticides – as well as other forms of rapid anthropogenic change – would rebound on civilization.

  29. #29 winston
    May 26, 2007

    Nice reference to Bruce Harrison there Jeff, viewers may enjoy watching an antienvironmentalist loon of that name as he flummoxes Scott Adams (Dilbert), even as you speak: http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/05/global_warming_.html#comments

  30. #30 trrll
    May 26, 2007

    “And with the chemical banned in America, the prospect for its use overseas dimmed as well. How many leaders abroad would be able to assure their citizens that a pesticide that Americans no longer produced, and feared using themselves, was actually safe?” Thus a de facto DDT ban evolved. The evidence is overwhelming.

    Wow! Is that really the best you can do? No use statistics, no quotes from “overseas leaders” confirming that they abolished use of DDT due to local fears resulting from restrictions on its use within the US? Not even a real assertion that this actually was the case, just somebody asking a question that vaguely speculates that it might have been a factor?

    And you call this “overwhelming’ evidence?

  31. #31 z
    May 26, 2007

    “And with the chemical banned in America, the prospect for its use overseas dimmed as well. How many leaders abroad would be able to assure their citizens that a pesticide that Americans no longer produced, and feared using themselves, was actually safe?” Thus a de facto DDT ban evolved. The evidence is overwhelming.”

    The US imports huge quantities of food grown in other countries, using pesticides banned in America; some banned for use, some even banned for both use and manufacture. Random analyses of produce imported into the US by various labs at various times are remarkably consistent in their findings that around 4% of such produce contains detectable residues of pesticides banned in America.

    And yet, those leaders abroad manage to twist the arms of their farmers, forcing them to use a product which Americans fear using themselves. “No no, I don’t want to use this deadly poison” “You must!!! I am your leader!”” Boggles the mind, yet it’s true!!

  32. #32 Ian Gould
    May 26, 2007

    Interesting isn’t it how the EU’s bans on GM crops and growth hormones in beef haven’t forced “foreign leaders” to ban these goods.

  33. #33 Paul G
    May 28, 2007

    == Post # 28 Jeff Harvey says: ==
    =”Rachel Carson was a incredibly compassionate woman who was well ahead of her time as a scientist. When she wrote Silent Spring, ecology was a science in its relative infancy. She realized that humans are not exempt from the laws of nature, and that saturation use of pesticides – as well as other forms of rapid anthropogenic change – would rebound on civilization.”=

    And interesting how preventing dirt poor countries from effectively fighting malaria rebounded on their civilizations.

  34. #34 Ian Gould
    May 28, 2007

    That’s right Paul G., just chant the magic words “DDT” and malaria will instantly disappear.

    Tim’s provided a list of the countries currently using DDT, I wonder how come those countries all still have a major malaria problem

    Personally I think the evil greenies must be poisoning wells in those countries as part of their world-wide conspiracy to exterminate non-whites.

    After all, its the only reasonable explanation.

  35. #35 Ian Gould
    May 28, 2007

    In OPPOSING the then-current proposal to ban DDT%, the Malaria Foundation International had this to say about the relative cost-effectiveness of DDT and other insecticides:

    http://www.malaria.org/DDT_open.html

    “At this time, there is reason to be enthusiastic about the pyrethroids. Like DDT, pyrethroids require little protective equipment and are safe in ordinary use. There is, however, controversy as to their cost-effectiveness. Although pyrethroids cost very much more per kilo than DDT, one uses less of them to spray a house. Taking this into account, a recent World Health Organization study estimated pyrethroids cost over three times as much as DDT in actual use. On the other hand, one study from Brazil suggests that pyrethroids can equal or surpass DDT for cost-effectiveness in house spraying. All in all, the evidence is unclear.”

    Got that Paul G.? Even while arguing for the continued use of DDT in appropriate circumstances, the Malaria Foundation admitted that in some cases pyrethroids could be equally or more cost-effective.

  36. #36 Ian Gould
    May 28, 2007

    “The cost-effectiveness of lambdacyhalothrin-treated nets in comparison with conventional DDT spraying for malaria control among migrant populations was evaluated in a malaria hyperendemic area along the Thai-Myanmar border. Ten hamlets of 243 houses with 948 inhabitants were given only treated nets. Twelve hamlets of 294 houses and 1,315 population were in the DDT area, and another 6 hamlets with 171 houses and 695 inhabitants were in the non-DDT-treated area. The impregnated net program was most cost-effective (US$1.54 per 1 case of prevented malaria). Spraying with DDT was more cost-effective than malaria surveillance alone ($1.87 versus $2.50 per 1 case of prevented malaria). These data suggest that personal protection measures with insecticide-impregnated mosquito net are justified in their use to control malaria in highly malaria-endemic areas in western Thailand.”

    http://www.ajtmh.org/cgi/reprint/65/4/279.pdf

    So if bednets are more cost-effective than DDT IRS spraying why are right-wingers promoting DDT over bed-nets.

    Obviously it’s because they hate poor people and want them to die.

    What other reasonable explanation could there be?

  37. #37 Ian Gould
    May 28, 2007

    It occurs to me too that where there is a cost advantage in favor of DDT fro malaria control, it might just have something to do with an oversupply of DDT manufacturing capacity following its withdrawal from agricultural use.

    For which we can thank Rachel Carson.

  38. #38 Hank Roberts
    May 28, 2007

    Stumbled across this by accident. http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4643
    Ewww. Concentrated.

    There’s something scary about how not believing in evolution correlates with the ability to make large amounts of money really fast. I’d guess it prevents any awareness of selection pressure and longterm consequence of human behavior changing the world, because if these people had any ability to recognize the consequences of what they do, they’d have to be heartless ubermenschen to be doing it.

    Look again at the list from the India program. —- evolution in action, driven by selection pressure from widespread and inappropriate overuse of DDT:
    ———- excerpt——–
    In view of the current re-emergence of the disease, the states are faced with new obstacles to residual insecticide spraying such as
    (a) the development of resistance of malaria vectors to DDT and other alternative compounds like BHC (benzene hexachloride),
    [b] changing vector behaviour with avoidance of contact with indoor insecticide deposits on walls,

    (d) extensive use of insecticides and pesticides for crop protection under an expanding green revolution agricultural technology, particularly in irrigated areas and
    (e) the existence of outdoor resting populations of the major vector Anopheles culicifacies and their role in extra-domiciliary transmission, making residual insecticide spray less effective.
    ——end excerpt——–

    What kind of people would do that?

  39. #39 Hugh
    May 28, 2007

    I’m sure I’m late with this news but this year’s BBC Reith Lectures were quite thought provoking.
    In the first (I think) Prof Jeffrey Sachs pointed out that if the ~$165 million which apparently represents a single days US defence budget was reorientated toward the purchase of bednets then every bed site in Africa could be protected from mozzies for up to 5 years.

    Just a question of priorites then?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2007/

  40. #40 Eli Rabett
    May 28, 2007

    Ian, DDT is so easy and cheap to make that capacity is infinitely elastic.

  41. #41 Ian Gould
    May 28, 2007

    Eli, fair enough.

  42. #42 J4zonian
    October 31, 2007

    “Prof Jeffrey Sachs pointed out that if the ~$165 million which apparently represents a single days US defence budget was reorientated toward the purchase of bednets then every bed site in Africa could be protected from mozzies for up to 5 years.”

    Hugh,
    The 2007 defense budget is $132.8 billion, not including nuclear weapons research, maintenance and production, Veterans Affairs or the ‘wars’ in Iraq and Afghanistan (which are largely funded through extra-budgetary supplements, e.g. $120 Billion in 2007). So that’s actually considerably more than $693 million a day. (I included the occupations, because it would be remiss of us to allow sleight-of-hand bookkeeping to obscure the facts.) For next year, Bush is asking for $481.4 billion plus $171.7 billion for the occupations, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/05/AR2007020501552.html (assuming that’s not the usual lowballing to be made up later in another request). That’s a total of $1.7 billion per day, not including those other pesky military expenditures not in the DOD figures. Shall we just guess at 2 bill a day? Math is not my strong point so you should check it yourself, but any way, I’d say that would buy a lot of bednets. (Or even some other non-toxic anti-malarial measures.) Heck, for that kind of money we could fly anyone who contracted malaria in Africa to the US, put them up in a nice hotel for a month and treat them in the best hospital before sending them home. With a nice 4 poster bed, net attached. Whaddya think?
    Senator Dirksen, where are you when we need you? A billion here…

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