Thursday, March 8, 2012

Protect your children

 Disney themed DDT impregnated wallpaper sold in the US in 1947.

Because of evidence of environmental damage DDT was banned in the US in 1972 and was subsequently banned for agricultural use worldwide under the Stockholm Convention. It still has a limited use for vector control but there are some who would like to see this use greatly expanded -

WHO Backs Use of DDT Against Malaria: The World Health Organization today announced a major policy change. It's actively backing the controversial pesticide DDT as a way to control malaria. 
NPR - September 2006

It's an interesting and fairly complex issue. Here's another NPR article from 2009 that addresses the same issue but with a specific program in Uganda. It addresses both the consequences for organic farmers:

 Many farmers feared the DDT could ruin their livelihoods. A lot of farmers here grew organic cotton and sold it -- at a premium -- to the international market. After harvesting, they stored the crops in their homes -- in the very same space where the DDT was to be sprayed.

and how fear of DDT was being used for political gain by others:

Public health experts generally believe that if DDT poses potential health risks, they're far smaller than the known risks posed by malaria. But the Ugandan government didn't paint this nuanced picture of risks verses benefits.
As public concern grew, it wasn't long before politicians stepped into the fray.
"Your President wants to kill you all in broad daylight. I say this because DDT is a highly toxic chemical," said Ken Lukyamuzi.
Lukyamuzi is the charismatic leader of the conservative party -- a small but vocal opposition party in parliament. 

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