View Full Version : DDT - Friend or Foe
There is a debate going on currently on another forum about DDT. Some people feel that the ban on DDT is substantiated and they cite articles in Science and other peer reviewed magazines as well as the EPA.
Other's feel that the ban on DDT is unjustified, caused mainly by oversensationalization of effects that had nothing to do with the pesticide itself and cite articles in peer reviewed journals and from scientists who have experimented on themselves by eating DDT on a daily basis with no ill effects.
What do folks over here feel about this?
For those who are not familiar with the story of DDT - it is a pesticide reported to have caused egg shell thinning in raptors, among other ecological troubles, and cancer in humans. It is also responsible for controlling the spread of malaria in areas with high populations of malarial mosquitos.
Appearently no one has answered so here is a little background that might start it off.
This comes from
American Council on Science and Health
DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was first synthesized in 1877,1 but it was not until 1940 that a Swiss chemist discovered that it could be sprayed on walls and would cause any insect to die within the next six months, without any apparent toxicity to humans.2 DDT’s effectiveness, persistence, and low cost (only 17 cents per pound) resulted in its being used in antimalarial efforts worldwide. It was introduced into widespread use during World War II and became the single most important pesticide responsible for maintaining human health through the next two decades. The scientist who discovered the insecticidal properties of DDT, Dr. Paul Müller, was awarded the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.3
In 1962 Rachel Carson’s lyrical yet scientifically flawed book Silent Spring was released. The book argued eloquently but erroneously that pesticides, and especially DDT, were poisoning both wildlife and the environment and also endangering human health. The emotional public reaction to Silent Spring launched the modern environmental movement.4 DDT became the prime target of the growing anti-chemical and anti-pesticide movements during the 1960s. Reasoned scientific discussion and sound data on the favorable human health effects of DDT were brushed aside by environmental alarmists who discounted DDT’s enormous benefits to world health with two allegations: (1) DDT was a carcinogen, and (2) it endangered the environment, particularly for certain birds.
In 1969 a study found a higher incidence of leukemia and liver tumors in mice fed DDT than in unexposed mice.5 Soon, too, environmentalists were blaming the decline in populations of such wild bird species as the osprey and peregrine falcon on the contamination by DDT of their environment. A number of states moved to ban DDT, and in 1970 the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a plan to phase out all but essential uses.6
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