DDT Use for Malarial Control
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane otherwise known as DDT was used worldwide for agricultural and public health purposes from the 1940s until the 1970s, when concern rose for its toxic effects on us humans and wildlife, its environmental persistence and its levels in the food supply led to restrictions and prohibitions on its use. Today DDT is now only used for vector control mainly in Africa and Asia. DDT is a potent insecticide used for Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), being sprayed inside people’s homes and in buildings for malarial control. IRS with DDT being used as its main insecticide has exposed humans to high levels of DDT and this high exposure has been linked to serious health affects for humans, these health affects even include some cancers. Due to DDT’s toxic effects not only on our environment but on humans themselves, DDT should be banned for use against malarial control because of the high levels humans are now exposed to causing great health risks. Since the 1940s when DDT was first introduced, humans all around the world have been heavily exposed to DDT but levels were then greatly reduced once restrictions were place in the 1970s making human exposure to the insecticide lower. However since DDT is still being used for malarial control in some countries, most humans are still extremely exposed and are still at
great health risks. If we could see that DDT was so toxic in the earlier stages and needed to have restrictions on its use, why is DDT still allowed to be used inside somebodies home? If DDT is so toxic that its use needed restrictions for obvious environmental and health reasons, then use of this insecticide should no longer persist anywhere in the world. It is an obvious fact that DDT is still being used as the main insecticide for IRS because of its good track record in controlling malaria, however introducing a toxic chemical into our environment and causing health problems for humans only makes another problem. Not only does it create another problem we need to fix but use of an insecticide only worsens the previous problem as well. While use an insecticide like DDT, malaria only adapts and comes back stronger and more frequent causing more epidemics of malaria. Then once adaptation occurs we know have to create a stronger insecticide which I could only imagine would worsen the health effects on humans. Linking the exposure of DDT to the health effects on humans is something that is quite difficult and maybe why DDT is still being used in certain countries. However even the slightest link to health risks like breast cancer, diabetes, impaired neurodevelopment in children and many more including other cancers as well, should be a big enough concern to completely rid of DDT as a whole. Especially, since not only humans who are exposed to the insecticide are harmed but infants who have never been exposed could still pick up traces of DDT through their mother’s breast milk. Meaning that although we may have been exposed to DDT at one point or another it still can persist in us just like it did in our food supply.
Due to DDT’s toxic effects not only on our environment but on humans themselves, DDT should be banned for use against malarial control because of the high levels humans are now exposed to causing great health risks. It is a battle between what we value as important, whether we care more about our economy and the present problem while creating problems for ourselves in the future, or whether we care more about our well-being and the planet we reside on, fixing current and future problems. We are well aware of alternatives that could help control malaria while still preserving our health and environment but we prefer to use DDT as it may seem easiest and more cost effective. So do we fix the current problem then deal with the consequences later or do we fix the current problem while still protecting our future but use alternative methods that may be more...
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