NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 28, 2005

The recent tsunami devastation is dwarfed by a long-term problem that developing countries must fight: pestilence. But the most effective life-saving remedies for diseases such as cholera and malaria are opposed by environmental groups, says Michael Fumento of the Hudson Institute.

According to Fumento:

  • Contaminated water can carry more than 50 diseases, including cholera, one of the biggest killers; yet chlorine, opposed by environmental groups, is most effective at killing the disease-causing organisms.
  • Malaria, carried by mosquitoes, puts 40 percent of the world's population at risk; but the most effective mosquito killer, the pesticide DDT, is demonized based on questionable accusations about its impact on the environment.
  • Typhus, spread by fleas and lice, can also be prevented with a dusting of DDT on individuals; it was first used as a preventive measure on war refugees in 1943.

On the up side, the World Health Organization confirms that there is no evidence that corpses spread diseases to tsunami survivors (except if cholera was the cause of death).

Author Paul Driessen, a former member of the Sierra Club, says that, "We need to ignore the environmentalists and concentrate on immediate health dangers."

Source: Michael Fumento, "Lives Left to Save," National Review Online, January 3, 2005.

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