Thirty years without DDT

Thirty years ago, on 14 June 1972, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drastically restricted the production and use of DDT. The American Council on Science and Health points out that in the two decades before it was restricted, this "miracle pesticide" saved as many as 100 million lives in Africa, Asia and South America by repelling mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects.

  • But the World Health Organisation reckons that following restrictions on DDT some 30 million to 60 million have been killed by malaria.

  • Despite the fact that its effects on humans remains largely unproven, and the case against it is largely confined to assertions that it is toxic to migrating birds and fish, and results in thin eggshells, DDT opponents want to further restrict its manufacture and use.

  • The U.S. Senate is considering legislation -- introduced by Vermont Independent Jim Jeffords – to further restrict the global use of DDT and place what amounts to a total ban on its manufacture for export.

    Critics warn that if it is passed, the legislation would amount to a virtual death sentence for tens of millions more people in poor countries.

    Source: Editorial, The Life and Death of DDT, Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2002.

    For text (WSJ subscribers),,SB102401685060876920,00.htm
    For more on Pesticides

    FMF Policy Bulletin\18 June 2002
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