It was interesting to read Jerome K. Stephens’ letter concerning DDT and Rachel Carson (With DDT use, comes resistant insects, July 5, 2007). He was more concerned about possible resistant mosquitoes than the million people who die every year of malaria. That is a lot of people who have died since 1972, not counting the millions who get sick every year.
In the June 12, 2007, Wall Street Journal, Dr. Sam Zaramba, who is the director of health services for the Republic of Uganda, wrote an editorial on Rachel Carson and DDT.
In his country, 100,000 women and children die every year of malaria, and 10 million become infected. Think of the health care cost to this small country. In the 1960s, DDT was tested in Uganda, and it reduced malaria by 98 percent, but they lacked the resources to sustain the program.
In 1960, the United States and Europe eradicated malaria, largely with use of DDT. The U.S. banned DDT in 1972 after Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring.
Misguided environmentalists should acknowledge the mistakes Carson made and balance the hypothetical risks of DDT with the devastating consequences of malaria in the world.
Keith D. Burgett