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  • 11/13/2015 WhyDDTWasBannedFoodAdditivesInfo| Allaboutfoodadditivesorfoodsafetyandanyimpactforourhealthandfoodanalysisinfoincludetestkitor...

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    Homefoodadditives foodsafetyhealthinfohealthtips tes tkitWhyDDT Was Banned

    Why DDT Was BannedThe abbreviation DDT stands for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. DDT is a synthetic chemicalcompoundonceusedwidelyintheUnitedStatesandthroughouttheworldasapesticide(achemicalsubstanceusedtokillweeds,insects,rodents,orotherpests).Itisprobablybestknownforitsdualnature: although remarkably effective indestroying certain living things that areharmful toplantsandanimals,itcanalsobeextremelydangeroustohumansandtheenvironment.Atthetimepeoplewhere afraid of getting malaria from mosquitoes. People thought DDT did not hurt any animalsbecause it did not affect humans, but they were wrong as it affected many animals other thanmosquitoes.Thebirdsatetheinsects,smallbirdsandfishthatcontainedDDT.

    DDTwasfirstproducedinthelaboratoryin1873.Formorethanhalfacentury,itwaslittlemorethanalaboratorycuriosityacomplicatedsynthetic(producedbyscientists)compoundwithnoapparentuse.Then,in1939,SwisschemistPaulHermannMller(18991965)discoveredthatDDTwashighlypoisonous to insects. The discovery was very important because of its potential for use in killinginsectsthatcausediseaseandeatagriculturalcrops.Forhiswork,MllerwasawardedtheNobelPrizeinmedicinein1948.

    During and after World War II (193945), DDT became extremely popular among public healthworkers,farmers,andforesters.Peakproductionofthecompoundreached386millionpounds(175millionkilograms)globallyin1970.Between1950and1970,22,204tons(20,000metrictons)ofDDTwasusedannuallyintheformerSovietUnion.ThegreatestuseofDDTintheUnitedStatesoccurredin1959,when79millionpounds(36millionkilograms)ofthechemicalweresprayed.

    Bytheearly1970s,however,seriousquestionswerebeingraisedabouttheenvironmentaleffectsofDDT. Reports indicated that harmless insects, fish, birds, and other animals were being killed orharmedasa result of exposure toDDT.CalciumCarbonate is anessential chemical in egg shells.WhenmotherbirdsatetheanimalsexposedtoDDT,itconcentratedoraccumulatedinherbodyandcausedtheeggshelltobeformedwithaverythinshell.Also,sincetheirshellswheretoothintheeasesgotoverheatedwhen incubatedor theeggshellswouldcrackbefore thechickswere fullydeveloped.Thepesticidewasevenblamedforthenearextinctionofatleastonebird,theperegrinefalcon. Convinced that the environmental damage from DDT was greater than the compound'spossible benefits, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of DDT in the UnitedStatesin1973.Itsuseincertainothercountrieshascontinued,however,sincesomenationsfacehealthandenvironmentalproblemsquitedifferentfromthoseoftheUnitedStates.

    DDT's environmental problems arise because of two important properties: persistence and lipidsolubility.ThetermpersistencereferstothefactthatDDTdoesnotbreakdownveryeasily.Oncethepesticidehasbeenusedinanarea,itislikelytoremainthereformanyyears.Inaddition,DDTdoesnotdissolveinwater,althoughitdoesdissolveinfattyoroilyliquids.(Thetermlipidsolubilityisusedbecausefatsandoilsaremembersoftheorganicfamilyknownaslipids.)SinceDDTisnotsolubleinwater,itisnotwashedawaybytherain,addingtoitspersistenceinthe

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