No doubt you’ve heard of DDT and envision a small crop dusting plane spraying poison on plants as it flies over America’s farms. Although DDT is in fact a poison that has damaged the environment, it has also saved many lives during WWI by preventing the spread of insect-borne diseases. Here are more interesting facts about DDT.
Fact 1: DDT is an insecticide. Its full name is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane.
Fact 2: DDT was discovered in 1874.
Fact 3: DDT was once referred to as the ‘œSavior of Mankind’ because it helps prevent the insect borne diseases malaria and typhus, caused by the mosquito and flea, respectively.
Fact 4: Between 1945 and 1955, the use of DDT increased from 125 million pounds to 600 million pounds.
Fact 5: DDT was widely used in agriculture across the United States.
Fact 6: During DDT’s widespread use in the United States, it was endorsed by the Public Health Department and the United States Government.
Fact 7: DDT remains in its toxic state for many years.
Fact 8: In 1962, Rachel Carson published a book called Silent Spring. This book revealed the devastating effects of DDT on wildlife, particularly birds of prey. The use of DDT nearly destroyed the Eagle population, which is still recovering today. Other birds affected were the peregrine falcon, the brown pelican, and the osprey.
Fact 9: In humans, exposure to DDT can cause reproductive problems, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, and breast cancer.
Fact 10: DDT was banned in the United States in 1972.
Fact 11: In 2001, the Stockholm Convention banned DDT worldwide.
Fact 12: Although malaria kills about 2 million people a year, the use of DDT is banned throughout most of the world.
Fact 13: Today the only countries that still produce and use DDT are China, North Korea, and India.