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DDT and the Environment 2 DDT and The Environment The Effects on the Ecosystem As earths population grows so does the demand for food and the use of pesticides has become essential in meeting this demand The first important synthetic organic pesticide was a chlorinated hydrocarbon dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane or DDT DDT was discovered in 1939 by Swiss chemist Paul Meller In its early days DDT was a popular pesticide because it was toxic to a wide range of insect pests yet it appeared to have low toxicity to mammals DDT was also persistent which meant the pesticide didnt break down rapidly in the environment and therefore did not need to be reapplied often and since DDT was insoluble it did not wash off by rain or other weather conditions Although gradually throughout time it was discovered that many insects had developed resistance to DDT and it was discovered that DDT did in fact pose to be harmful to the ecosystem This discovery created wide public interest and made people aware that chemicals were polluting the environment As a result DDT was banned for use in North America and other countries in the early 1970s Though pesticides such as DDT may decrease the number of insects throughout history it has been proven that there is a detrimental effect upon the environment animals and humans as a result DDT is a colourless chemical pesticide also known as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane whose purpose is to eradicate disease-carrying and crop-eating insects It was first isolated in Germany in 1874 but not until 1939 did the Swiss Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Meller recognize it as a potent nerve poison on insects Thus DDT was first used heavily in World War II for preinvasion spraying DDT was disseminated in great quantities thereafter throughout the world to combat yellow fever typhus elephantiasis and other insect-vectored diseases In India DDT reduced malaria from 75 million cases to fewer than 5
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