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Debating Ddt

Ramesh Ponnuru points to a response by Roger Bate to the Prospect's piece on DDT, which we discussed a few weeks ago, and asks us to take note. Okay, duly noted, although I don't think I'd change a word of my original post. It's still true that DDT has not been banned globally for anti-malarial use, as is often alleged; and it's still true that the obsessive focus of many conservatives on DDT obscures a lot of important nuances in the debate over how best to fight malaria. Bate, who has played a key role for the right in this debate, concedes the first point, ignores the second, and then goes on to argue about how closely he actually worked with Philip Morris and the rest.

For longer rebuttals to Bate's rebuttal, see both John Quiggin and Tim Lambert, the latter of whom isn't going to let Bate distance himself from his past work for tobacco companies that easily. It's also true that the extent to which pro-DDT forces did or did not coordinate with Big Tobacco back in the 1990s is fairly irrelevant to the merits of the larger argument. But click on all the links if you're interested, and I probably won't post the replies to the replies to the replies, etc. unless something truly noteworthy appears.

--Bradford Plumer