Elliot GriffinEnvironmental Science Final Opinion Paper Should DDT Be Banned Worldwide? First synthesized in 1874, DDT’s insecticidal properties were not discovered until 1939. In the second half of World War II, it was used with great effect among both military and civilian populations to control mosquitoes spreading malaria and lice transmitting typhus, resulting in dramatic reductions in the incidence of both diseases. The Swiss chemist Hermann Muller of Geigy Pharmaceutical was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1948 “for his discovery of the high efficiency of DDT as a contact poison against several arthropods.
After the war, DDT was made available for use as an agricultural insecticide, and soon its production and use skyrocketed. During the 1940’s and 1950’s DDT was extensivly used by the Allied powers to control typhus nearly eliminating the disease in the western parts of Europe. In 1955 the world health organization comercialized a program that was designed to target and destroy the disease malaria, The program relied heavily on the insectisidal properties of DDT. At the beginnings of the program is was sucessful in elimintaing the disease in much of the carribean and the balkans and a large part of northern africa.Order now
However resistance soon emerged in many insect populations as a consequence of widespread agricultural use of DDT. In many areas, early victories against malaria were partially or completely reversed, and in some cases rates of transmission even increased. The program was successful in eliminating malaria only in areas with “high socio-economic status, well-organized healthcare systems, and relatively less intensive or seasonal malaria transmission”. DDT was less effective in tropical regions due to the continuous life cycle of mosquitoes and poor infrastructure.
It was not pursued at all in sub-Saharan Africa due to these perceived difficulties, with the result that mortality rates in the area were never reduced to the same dramatic extent, and now constitute the bulk of malarial deaths worldwide, especially following the resurgence of the disease as a result of microbe resistance to drug treatments and the spread of the deadly malarial variant caused by Plasmodium falciparum. The goal of eradication was abandoned in 1969, and attention was focused on controlling and treating the disease.
Spraying programs (especially using DDT) were curtailed due to concerns over safety and environmental effects, as well as problems in administrative, managerial and financial implementation, but mostly because mosquitoes were developing resistance to DDT. Efforts were shifted from spraying to the use of bednets impregnated with insecticides and other interventions. DDT has also been a problem for the thinning of birds shells. Rare birds like the bald eagle, peregrine falcon and brown pelecans have been dying out at an accelerated rate due to the DDT de-calcifying the eggs shells making them soft and weak.
As with most scientific theories there are skeptics that think the thinning of birdshells is a process of evolution or a change in the birds diet. There is not extensive enough research being done, Blamed on the lack of funding. The United States is among other countries that have banned DDT. Countries like Mexico still spray the deadly pesticide unrestrictedly on their crops. Which wouldn’t pose to much of a problem to the United States except for the food we buy from there. Crops get shipped all over the world and unless there is a worldwide ban on DDT, We will continue to expierence the effects of the chemical.