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A Place For DDT

Mosquito



For many who are environmentally-minded, the mere mention of DDT sets them on edge. After all, it disrupted ecosystems around the globe crashing bird populations and nearly eliminating our national symbol -- the bald eagle -- from wild places including California's Channel Islands.

Yet, like so many environmental issues, there is another side.

According to US AID, there are 1.2 million mosquito-related malaria deaths each year. And for countries struggling to manage diseases like malaria, DDT can be an inexpensive and efficient insecticide that, when combined with other mosquito eliminating measures, can save lives.

The World Health Organization recommends that in countries like Africa, where malaria is taking a great human toll, DDT should be applied to the inside walls of homes once a year. It not only kills mosquitoes when they come into contact with it, but they are also repelled.

This recommendation is a very different scenario than what happened in the 1940s. In those days, DDT was sprayed by crop dusters over thousands of acres and waterways. With proper training for users and careful application, residue in the environment could be minimized while saving human lives -- one household at a time.

Script by Pat Florez