Earth Day s Shameful Legacy

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An editorial in the Wall Street Journal points out the unfortunate connection between last week s Earth Day and yesterday s World Malaria Day.

Today, malaria still claims about one million lives every year mostly women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. There's no evidence that spraying [DDT] inside homes in the amounts needed to combat the disease harms humans, animals or the environment. Yet DDT remains severely underutilized in the fight against malaria because the intellectual descendants of [Earth Day founder Senator Gaylord Nelson] continue to hold sway at the World Health Organization and other United Nations agencies.

The Earth Day leaders are partly responsible for these malaria deaths since they were so instrumental in banning DDT, says Stier. With World Malaria Day yesterday, there was a visible campaign on Twitter to raise money for bed nets. As I tweeted, we re all for bed nets since they re helpful, but if you really want to end malaria, you should use DDT. Kudos to the Wall Street Journal for pointing this out.

Dr. Ross sees the Journal s editorial as somewhat ironic: The same newspaper actually published an op-ed by William Ruckelshaus, the EPA administrator who banned DDT in 1972, as part of last week s commemoration of Earth Day. I found that offensive, given his role in eliminating the use of this chemical to prevent the ravages of malaria in Africa.