Friday, March 04, 2011


DDT is not safe
Letter writer Don Adler misrepresents the environmental accomplishments of Rachel Carson and misinforms readers about the spread of malaria ("Blame Rachel," July 31). DDT, or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, is a neurotoxin that has been shown to kill animals and disrupt the food chain (thereby potentially increasing insect populations). It is still in use today but has failed to eradicate malaria in Africa.
One reason is that those who succumb to its effects are often poor and live in small shacks or huts near pools of stagnant water and lack access to sanitation and clean drinking water. The World Health Organization has also linked the malarial spread to "rapidly spreading resistance to antimalarial drugs, climatic changes and population movements."
The "DDT is safe" chorus has unfortunately found its way into some media outlets that choose to rehash the rantings of a few lone bloggers.
To control malaria, policies are needed to lift people out of poverty, provide immunizations and proper childhood nutrition, limit the effects of climate change and provide clean water sources to people regardless of their economic status. These are all causes of the modern environmental movement championed by Rachel Carson.
Thanks, Rachel!

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