- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I am surprised that The Washington Times would publish such an inaccurate and biased account of what DDT really is about (“The environmentalists’ epidemic,” Editorial, Sunday). Any attack on Rachel Carson’s achievements and reputation is uncalled for and unfair. After all, the dead cannot defend themselves.

True, DDT is still claimed to be a highly effective weapon in the fight against malaria, but at what cost? This insecticide was banned because government agencies both in the United States and internationally had sufficient evidence to classify it as an agent likely to cause cancer and nerve damage in humans.

This insecticide and its metabolites have been identified as endocrine disrupters. Endocrine disruption is a very serious result of exposure to DDT. DDT acts as an estrogen mimic that seriously damages biological systems, causing severe damage to human organisms when they are exposed to very small amounts during the vulnerable stages of life.

DDT use is often ineffective. Resistance to DDT was identified in Africa as early as 1955, according to a study conducted for the World Health Organization. DDT appears to have the greatest effect in the formative years of life, predisposing children to development of cancer upon reaching adulthood.

K. JEAN COTTAM

Ottawa, Canada

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