Free Essay About Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichlorethane (Ddt): Then And Now
Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane or more commonly known as DDT was first synthesized by Zeidler Later in 1874, although first modern synthesized version came around 1940. It was originally used to eradicate insect-borne diseases such as malaria and typhus for both civilian and military populations. From 400,000 in 1946, malaria cases dramatically decreased to zero reported case in 1950 (National Information Pesticide Center, 2000). Another use of the insecticide was for insect control in livelihood productions, such as livestock and crops, institutions, homes and gardens. Majority of its production took place in United States and Italy (EPA, 2015).
DDT is a nonpoint-source pollutant because when the substance comes in contact with the air, gets deposited in water and soil, that’s when it causes the pollution.
In 1962 Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring that discussed the consequence of the use of DDT, its harmful effect to environment, animals and possible harm to human health (Pesticide Action Network, n.d.). According to EPA, DDT is considered as B2 carcinogenic, meaning to say it was said to cause cancer to laboratory animals but with no direct evidence for humans (NPIC, 2000). Children exposed to DDT at an early age are five times more likely to have breast & other cancers in the middle age. Other than it was also said to cause male infertility, miscarriages & low birth weight, developmental delay, nervous system & liver damage to human (PAN, n.d.). This happens because the pesticide stores itself in the fat tissues in human and animal bodies. During starvation, when the fat cells with DDT are used, its breakdown product is being transported by the blood all over the body causing different side effects (NPIC, 2000).
As for animals, the said pesticide was also linked to the severe decline of American Bald Eagle (PAN, n.d.). In Japan, fifty percent of their quail fed moderate doses of it died while the survivors decreased fertility. It also has effect on the fishes, frogs, and invertebrates which led to developmental and mortality problems of the exposed animals (NPIC, 2000).
When the use of DDT was banned, recovery of bald eagles dramatically recovered (PAN, n.d.). This goes to show that truly, the pesticide has a very negative effect to living things. That is why aside from the treaty and negotiations on the usage of DDT that is happening between countries; different activities should still be done. One example could be, production of DDT should also be limited and religiously checked by corresponding officials to avoid overproduction which can lead to smuggling or illegal distribution of pesticide in different countries. This is also to avoid the contact of workers/producers to the harmful chemicals. Studies on the remaining lasting effect of DDT should also be continued as well to prevent further destruction of land or crops and animals. Alternative less harmful solutions for diseases like malaria should also be promoted so that the usage off DDT will be more lessened.
Environmental Protection Agency. (2015). DDT - A Brief History and Status. Retrieved from <http://www2.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/ddt-brief-history-and-status>.
National Information Pesticide Center. (2000). DDT (Technical Fact Sheet). Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.
Pesticide Action Network. (n.d.).The DDT Story.