DT - To Spray or Ban? An Historical Ethical Dilemma
August 14, 2010
Malaria is a blood disease caused by the bite of a mosquito. In South Africa, it caused over 2.7 million deaths a year (Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, 2010).
There is no known vaccine that can cure malaria. The only solution is to eradicate the cause- the mosquito.
A scientist named Dr. Paul Herman Muller made an insecticide-DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) in 1939. Although he was not the first to invent the chemical, he was the first to use it as an insecticide, when he realized it killed bug and insects (Davis, 1971). DDT was used to kill insects causing diseases such as body lice, malaria, and typhoid fever. The use of the insecticide dropped the cases of malaria in the United States, South Africa and other countries. By 1951, The United Stated considered malaria eradicated because of the use of DDT. In most countries malaria was under control and wiped out.
Opponent of DDT
In 1962 Rachel Carson, an aquatic biologist brought awareness to the public about the dangers and use of DDT with her book Silent Spring. She wrote about
dangers the chemical will have on the environment, stating it will have a negative effect on the birds and fish. She reported DDT was poisoning the bald eagles, fish and other small animals(Davis, 1971) . Other environmentalist started to speak out against the use of DDT. In 1967 several organizations filed a suit to restrict DDT's usage. By 1969 DDT's usage was reduced. The EPA (environmental protection agency) was established in the 1970's and in 1972 EPA placed a ban on DDT (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1975). This was a direct response to Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring. It made an argument DDT was killing the wildlife and caused cancer in children. This was later found to be false and reports and statistics have shown to be the reverse (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1975)....
References: Dart, A. K. (2010). DDT and Other Pesticide Scares. Retrieved from http://www.akdart.com/enviro7.html
Davis, A. S. (1971). The Deadly Dust: The Unhappy History of DDT. American Heritage Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.americanheritage.com
Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory. (2010). Microworlds. Retrieved from http://www.lbl.gov/MicroWorlds/xfiles/malariawhatis.html
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