Why was DDT banned?

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DDT stands for Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. DDT is used for killing the rodents and the pests that destroy the plants. But, it was also found to be very much dangerous to the humans and the environment. People used to spray DDT on the mosquitoes which were the causal agents for Malaria. DDT was known to be harmful to the animals other than mosquitoes. It was observed to have affected the birds which ate insects, small birds and fish which were filled with DDT.

DDT was manufactured for the first time in a science laboratory in 1873. For about 50 years it remained as just a laboratory chemical without having any application in the society. Later Paul Hermann Muller in 1939 discovered that DDT was a poisonous chemical to the insects. This discovery led the agriculturists to be very happy to use DDT for their crop lands. The insects that were destroying the agricultural crops were controlled properly using DDT. Muller was awarded Nobel Prize in medicine in 1948. DDT became very popular during World War II and even after it among the farmers, public health workers, and foresters. In 1970, this compound was produced abundantly all over the globe. Quite a large quantity of DDT was used in US and Soviet Union in 1950s.

In 1970s the drastic effects of DDT and its bad environmental effect was raised. Several reports showed that many birds, insects, fish and other animals were killed due to DDT exposure. The mother hen ate the animals exposed to DDT; the essential calcium carbonate chemical in the egg shell is formed very thin. The eggs were breaking out before the chicks developed properly. The consumption of DDT by a bird called Peregrine falcon made it to become extinct. The scientists realized that the damage caused by this chemical was more than the benefits it was giving. Hence, U.S. environmental protection agency has banned the DDT usage in U.S. in 1973. The damage causing ability of DDT was found to be due to its properties like lipid solubility and persistence. As it is not soluble in water, it gets retained in the environment and will not get washed away by the rain. DDT that was used in an area gets retained there for a long time. So, DDT was banned.

Author: Lyndon J

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