RESOLUTION 61-02, 2004: Legalizing DDT to Fight Malaria in Tropical Countries
WHEREAS: malaria has killed more people than any other infectious disease in history and is still epidemic in tropical countries – infecting 300,000,000 people and killing more than 1,000,000 every year, most of them pregnant women and children under five in sub-Saharan Africa; and
WHEREAS: more than 50 million people have died from malaria since EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus arbitrarily banned DDT in 1972, contrary to expert testimony and a decision by Judge Edmund Sweeney that the pesticide was not harmful to humans, animals or the environment – a position subsequently affirmed by the World Health Organization and many other experts; and
WHEREAS: the WHO-UN-World Bank “Roll Back Malaria” campaign to cut malaria rates in half by 2010 has relied entirely on bed nets and drug therapies, and refused to consider the use of pesticides, even as the rate of malaria increased by more than 15% during the program’s six-year existence, killing millions, leaving others too sick to work, and perpetuating poverty in many nations; and
WHEREAS: mosquitoes are much less likely to develop resistance to DDT because it is no longer used in agriculture, and spraying tiny amounts of this pesticide on the walls of traditional huts repels mosquitoes and kills them on contact for six months or more, without contaminating the environment; and
WHEREAS: South Africa successfully used DDT to reduce malaria by more than 90% in three years, by using DDT to spray huts and in combination with artemisinin-based drugs and other strategies – a program that many poor countries want to emulate, but are prevented from doing so by threats from donor agencies and activist groups that continue to oppose the use of DDT under any circumstances;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT: the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons supports efforts to insist or require that agencies of the United States and United Nations permit, encourage, and fund the use of DDT in tropical countries where malaria is prevalent and health ministries wish to use it to save lives.