NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 10, 2005

Two environmental groups, Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, have admitted that the pesticide DDT may be necessary to combat malaria, according to attorney James Hoare.

Since the global ban on DDT 30 years ago, malaria has surged in developing countries, despite the use of insecticide-treated bed nets and medicines.

  • Malaria kills an estimated 2 million to 3 million people per year, or about one needless premature death every 12 seconds.
  • Pregnant women and children account for the majority of deaths from malaria.

Furthermore, studies and experiments do not support the environmental and carcinogenic arguments against DDT, according to researchers Steven Milloy and J. Gordon Edwards:

  • Claims that DDT thins the egg shells of bald eagles are not substantiated; in fact, DDT levels would need to be 100 times greater than would ever be encountered in the wild.
  • DDT has not been proven to increase the risk of breast cancer, non-Hodgins lymphoma and other cancers among humans.
  • Furthermore, actual exposure levels in the 1960s were far less than the "acceptable" daily intake established by the World Health Organization.

However, the United Nations and donor agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, have avoided funding DDT programs due to "bureaucratic caution and inertia," according to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

Source: James Hoare, "Greenpeace and WWF Repudiate Anti-DDT Agenda," Heartland Institute, April 2005; and Steven Milloy and J. Gordon Edwards, "100 Things You Should Know About DDT,", 1999.


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