It is hard to overstate the damage done by Rachel Carson. Her book Silent Spring made DDT — which is arguably the most effective insecticide for preventing malaria and other diseases — a dirty word. Unfortunately, bad ideas have consequences, in this case death by malaria for millions around the world.
Thankfully, some people are working tirelessly to rehabilitate DDT and save lives. Tomorrow, Africa Fighting Malaria’s president, Richard Tren, will launch a new book called The Excellent Powder: DDT’s Political and Scientific History.
As the book title suggests, it debunks many of the unfounded beliefs about DDT that “persist in spite of broad underlying evidence proving DDT was not a source of harm to wildlife and numerous studies that fail to show that DDT is a cause of harm to human health. DDT remains a vital part of many malaria control programs, yet widespread and entrenched misunderstanding about how DDT actually functions undermines current and future malaria control.
The event is at the National Press Club tomorrow, April 21, at 9 a.m. in the Zenger Room. Two of the authors, Tren and Prof. Donald Roberts, will explain how the well-funded, well-organized, earnest, and misguided anti-insecticide campaigns against DDT have imposed devastating costs on malaria-endemic countries and may blight future prospects for malaria control.