Environment, Issues

With Zika in Miami, can we start spraying DDT on mosquitoes yet?

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The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has admitted that their strategy to combat Zika in Miami where infected mosquitoes have been found is not working. CDC Director Tom Drieden explained, “they’ve been applying both chemicals that kill larval mosquitoes and adult mosquitoes every day. It isn’t working as well as we had hoped.”

The CDC needs a new pesticide plan, and it already exists — with dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane (DDT), a gas banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1972.

As a result of the CDC and the EPA’s shuffling to find a solution, Zika has infected over 5,000 Puerto Ricans living on the island and has moved into Florida. If Florida follows Puerto Rico’s trend, as many as 50 pregnant women could be infected each day — with the risk of devastating birth defects.

The CDC has now advised travel restriction on pregnant women, mosquito bite prevention, testing for pregnant women, waiting periods to attempt pregnancy, and dozens of other warnings in an area of Miami in an attempt to contain the spread. What was once a foreign problem is now a domestic health crisis.

However, with no actual working method to counter the mosquitoes the CDC has little hope for reviving the Florida community and preventing the disease from spreading through the mainland United States.

That is, without DDT.

DDT has already proven its effectiveness and cost efficiency. In 1947 application of DDT began, by the end of 1949 more than 4 million homes were sprayed and total eradication of malaria in the U.S. was declared. In the U.S., DDT had successfully stopped the mosquitoes before the EPA ever had the opportunity to ban it.

This has not just been an effective strategy in the United States. In 2006 the World Health Organization (WHO) studied the use of DDT in homes to end the spread of malaria and recommended struggling countries across the world use targeted indoor residual spraying of DDT to contain disease spread.

WHO found the only cases of resurgence of the disease after spraying resulted from resistance gained from previous excessive, unregulated use of DDT as a pesticide, however thus far “DDT is the only insecticide which is used exclusively for public health, and, therefore, unlike with other insecticides, resistance development to it is no longer influenced by other uses such as in agriculture.”

The fact is, DDT is probably the most effective answer to the spreading health devastation here and now with Zika. This action is not a choice of the CDC though. It is the EPA that maintains an absolute ban on domestic use of the spray, stifling the chances of disease control. What are we waiting for?

In 1972, Congress enacted the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act, a far-reaching amendment that gave the EPA vast discretion to ban certain pesticides. The executive ban by the EPA on DDT from use completely was instituted that very year because the gas, primarily sprayed over livestock as a pesticide, was found to cause defects in the developments of animals exposed to the spray.

This unelected agency consistently prioritizes animal life over the welfare of American citizens, despite the findings from the WHO and clear need for a more effective mosquito spray from the CDC on the ground in Miami. The mosquitoes are not going to stop biting Americans and causing substantial birth defects in their children, but still the EPA cares more about the animals potentially being hurt by DDT.

Researchers admit use of the pesticide can be done carefully and controlled, but environmentalists maintain that the negative effects of DDT on the environment and possible effects on humans make it an unrealistic option. But as the WHO organization accounted for “Concerns over the safety of DDT have been comprehensively addressed in the framework of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)…. therefore, DDT can be used for [inside residual spraying] where it is indicated, provided that stringent measures are taken to avoid its misuse and leakage outside public health.”

For now, the EPA ban on DDT is being adhered to, but what will it take to be lifted? Perhaps when Zika reaches Washington, D.C. they’ll do something —like use  the gas that has the absolute best chance of ending the spread of the virus. If this does not occur the EPA will not only be responsible for the nearly 600 mainland Americans and over 900 Americans in US territories already infected, but the many more that this epidemic will eventually engulf.

This is a guest post by Natalia Castro contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.
  • RLTMLT

    Kudos to Kent Kellar ! As he mentioned above, in the 1950s DDT had all but ended the scourge of the planet, Malaria. But then another scourge, the environmentalists movement, stepped in and fear mongered it out of existence. When I was a young boy in the fifties my friends and I would get on our bikes and ride through the white cloud of DDT being sprayed by city trucks, we are all still alive and kicking in the Autumn of our lives. But we can’t totally blame Liberal Democrats, after the country chose a turn to the Right in 1968, Nixon rewarded the environmentalists with the creation of the EPA, a government agency that even Washington Democrats would not back. Forty five years later and the Environmentalist assault continues with the end result being a significant loss of funding for meaningful medical and scientific research, funding that is increasingly being funneled to a cult fantasy called ‘Global Warming’, sorry, that was changed to ‘Climate Change’, who knows what it’s going to be called next year after the general public regains control of it’s common sense !

    • Susan P

      I, too, played on clouds of DDT as a child. I am 70 years old and in great health; one of the few my age who has no need for any prescription drugs at all.

      • Paul Smith

        That is irrelevant to the (possible) issue with honey bees.

        • RLTMLT

          Yes we saw your similar posts above and we understand the Bee’s importance in the pollination of crops but the spraying of DDT was almost exclusively accomplished in highly populated areas where human life abounds, it would be a terrible waste of resources and tax Dollars to spray it in undeveloped rural areas where the Bees and food crops are primarily located ! There is an excellent NOVA presentation on PBS now that explains the origins of the Ebola and Zika Viruses and scientific advances that various country’s have made in developing strains of male Mosquitoes that will impregnate their wild female counterparts producing offspring that will die almost immediately after their birth eliminating to a large extent the need for any insecticides. Not much science going on in this country any more and those projects that hold the greatest potential for benefitting mankind are being underfunded as the bulk of that money is being funneled to a Malthusian fantasy referred to as Climate Change ! Most respected scientists and researchers applying for grants to fund their important work are being bypassed as private funding and Government tax Dollars are increasingly being directed toward this boondoggle !

          • Paul Smith

            I agree with every word of your post. So long as DDT can be isolated from bee populations, we’re good.

          • RLTMLT

            Thanks, there’s no limit to what we can achieve as long as we respect each other’s views ! Your concerns are just as important as mine !

        • Susan P

          Neonicotinoids are far more dangerous to bees than is/was DDT

      • RLTMLT

        Read you post above, it’s unusual how similar our experiences were but I’ll bet a lot of kids from our era did the same thing ! More kids dying now from illegal drug overdoses than ever died from DDT exposure !

  • bookworm

    Ever notice when the EPA screws up, the American people are the ones bitten on the ass, and now it’s literal? Are the millions dead from malaria chasing Rachel Carson forever in the afterlife???

    • RLTMLT

      The sound of that Silent Spring is driving them to exact revenge in the after life !

      • bookworm

        Exactly! It never became “silent” here, and the roar from the malaria dead should be deafening! Visiting my grandfather in the 50s and 60s, we’d sit on the porch after dinner and twice a week the DDT spray trucks went through the small, northeast Georgia town: By 1958 the nearby Hartwell Dam had been completed on the Savannah River and they were making certain that no mosquitoes would take advantage of the resulting Lake Hartwell. Like your family, my mother and her sisters all died in their 80s and 90s, the one who lived with my grandfather died at 101, and my grandfather was 88. Like the Dept of Ed., the EPA should be abolished: If you can think of any more destructive gov’t bureaucracies than these two, let me know!

  • Paul Smith

    Depends. . .what will DDT do to the remnants of our Bee populations? I don’t like Malaria or Zika or Encephalitis or any of the other nasties that go with mosquitoes but I also like to eat.

    • bookworm

      Actually there’s a good chance it might help the bee population since the devastation of beehives was found to be a tiny mite insect.

      • Paul Smith

        Possibly but I think some research needs to be done before we make a bad situation worse.

  • Susan P

    I can remember visiting family on a Marine base in the mid-1950s and playing with the children living in base housing. I was about 10 years old at the time. Late in the afternoons a truck would come through spraying clouds of DDT throughout the area to kill off the mosquitoes. We kids ran through the fog of DDT laughing and playing. I certainly suffered no bad effects of that and I don’t remember ever hearing that any child was injured by it. Far better to use DDT to kill off disease causing mosquitoes than to allow the zika virus to spread.

    The EPA is an unconstitutional agency we would be better off without as they frequently go too far and do more damage than good to the health of humans.

    • Paul Smith

      I agree if and only if it does not harm our bee colonies.

  • bdcorvette

    Should have sprayed the Dumbocrat convention if we want to kill undesirables.

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