Nevertheless, contrary to expert testimony that DDT was not harmful to humans, animals or the environment, in a raw exercise of arbitrary power in 1972 the Environmental Protection Agency banned DDT, and it has continued to be banned in most of the world. Since then, more than 50 million people have died from malaria.
The death toll from mosquitoes breeding in the contaminated water left by the tsunami that struck Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and many more countries on the Indian Ocean could be more deadly than the tsunami itself.
DDT is cheap, easy to use, long lasting, does the job, and could save literally millions of African, Asian and Central American lives every year. Wealthy countries like the United States can afford alternate anti-mosquito repellents that you and I can buy at any supermarket, but the epidemic of malaria in poor countries makes anything other than DDT impractical.
DDT alternatives are less effective and five to 10 times more expensive.
Africans and Asians threatened by hundreds of thousands of cases of the killer disease are far more worried about malaria than about any tiny theoretical threat from DDT.
Despite the obvious value of DDT in saving lives, environmentalist campaigns continue to prevent its use.
Due to the large influx of illegal immigrants who, of course, are not tested for disease, as are legal immigrants, mosquito-caused diseases are re-emerging as a U.S. health problem. Malaria has popped up in Texas, and dengue fever, another mosquito-borne disease, had a virulent outbreak in a Texas county on our southern border.
Another mosquito-borne disease, West Nile virus, which was unheard of in the United States prior to 1998, has come to our country from Africa. It now infects tens of thousands of people in 21 states, and many have died.
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch have just discovered that mosquitoes can pass West Nile virus to each other much faster than previously thought. This is what caused the disease to spread rapidly across North America despite earlier predictions that it would spread more slowly or even die out.
The U.S. Agency for International Development and World Bank anti-DDT policy that saves mosquitoes instead of humans has stymied African countries' economic growth and is now forcing U.S. taxpayers to bail out a mountain of bad debt. When will Americans wake up to the high costs of junk environmentalism?
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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