Description Of DDT and the Problems it Causes
DDT is a pesticide that has greatly influenced the
world. DDT stands for Dichloro-dipheny-trichloroethane and was developed in 1939
by the Swiss scientist Paul Hermann Muller. It was first recognized in World
War II where it was used to kill malaria–causing insects that were biting U.S. troops in the South
Pacific Islands. In 1945, DDT became available to civilians and was soon known was the “wonder pesticide.” When applied to crops, the pesticide could kill a variety of insects for many months. No one thought to question the pesticide and what affects it had on the environment
but, in 1958, renowned nature author and former marine biologist, Rachel Carson, received a letter from a friend in Massachusetts about a large bird killed as a result of DDT spraying. Carson decided to
research the matter and with her findings she wrote the book, Silent Spring.
The book revealed that the pesticide was being absorbed into the soil of the crops and was then entering the food chain. From there, DDT was infecting many plants and animal species. A more noticeable specie was the bald eagle. DDT was causing
the bird’s eggshells to have thinner layers, which led to egg breakage. The
bald eagle almost became extinct because of the low reproduction rates. The book
caught the attention of the people and in 1963, President John F. Kennedy ordered the President’s Science Advisory Committee
to examine the matter. As a result, DDT came under government supervision and
was eventually banned in 1972 by the EPA.
Despite the banning of DDT in the Untied States, the
pesticide was manufactured and exported from the U.S. and used in Third World countries. The pesticide is still used to today
and has a usage rate roughly equal to that prior to the banning. More research
about DDT occurred and it revealed that it has some affects on humans as well. For
instance, DDT can cause liver cancer, temporary nervous system damage, and low reproductive success. If DDT is not taken care of soon it could lead to another possible specie extinction or more serious side
affects to humans. A possible resolution would be to use a less harmful pesticide
or use a smaller amount of DDT. So, in conclusion, DDT has influenced the world for better and worse but will only become more harmful the longer we use it.
|Plane Crop Dusting with DDT