United States supports DDT use in Africa

May 3, 2006 at 12:02 PM

WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is reportedly ignoring objections from environmentalists in endorsing and funding the use of DDT in sub-Saharan Africa.

Some scientists believe DDT -- the first modern pesticide -- is the best weapon for fighting mosquitoes that spread malaria. The chemical was developed specifically to control the spread of malaria, typhus and other diseases among military and civilian populations early during World War II. It was also used as an agricultural insecticide.

But DDT was outlawed in the United States in 1972 and is banned in most nations because of environmental concerns and fears it can harm humans, The Washington Times reported Wednesday.

Malaria is the African continent's deadliest disease, taking the lives of approximately 1 million people each year.

Michael Miller, deputy assistant administrator of the Bureau of Global Health within the U.S. Agency for International Development, told the Times his organization this year will begin using DDT as part of malaria-control efforts in three nations -- Mozambique, Ethiopia and Zambia. He said DDT may be used in Uganda next year.

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