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Prevention rivals the disease for health risk

June 06, 2006

Re "Malaria's Toll Fuels the Case for DDT Use in Africa," May 29

Malaria is a devastating health problem in Africa that is finally getting the international attention it deserves. Unfortunately, some want to bring back widespread use of DDT for malaria control -- a "silver bullet" approach that saved lives in the 1950s and '60s but stopped working as mosquitoes became resistant to the pesticide.

Like most Africans, I do not want a toxic chemical known to cause cancer and low birth weights sprayed on my walls and contaminating the home where my children play. Those promoting DDT are putting current and future generations of Africans at risk.

There are better ways to control malaria without risking our health.

The new U.S. promotion of DDT for malaria control directly undermines the Stockholm Convention, a global treaty with 123 participating countries, which allows short-term use of DDT in countries where it is needed but calls for its eventual elimination.


Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Katima is co-chair of the International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network.

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