Monday, September 25, 2006

WHO backs controversial chemical for malaria control - SciDev.Net

WHO backs controversial chemical for malaria control - SciDev.Net:

"The controversial insecticide DDT — which most nations have banned — is back on the menu for malaria control after the World Health Organization reversed a 30-year old policy on Friday (15 September).

The move puts annual indoor spraying of DDT alongside drugs and bednets as one of the three main tools for controlling the disease."

I have never understood why spraying DDT on the inside walls of houses in endemic and hyperendemic malaria zones would be controversial. There is danger to indoor animals, such as pets, from spraying and it has to be done carefully. But spraying inside houses is not likely to cause the environmental problems that agricultural uses of DDT caused -- and those were the reason that DDT was banned. Eliminating a weapon in the fight against a disease that kills so many children, causes so much illness, and has such grave economic consequences in Africa and other regions has just seemed wrong!

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