Ddt And Its Degradation Products

The insecticidal effects of DDT were discovered by the Swiss chemist Paul Müller in 1940, and DDT was used extensively in World War II for the control of diseases spread by flies, mosquitoes, and other insects. Initially, it was very effective in killing the mosquitoes that carry the microorganism responsible for malaria. It was used directly on humans to control head lice without apparent toxic effects. In 1948 Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery.4 DDT was used in even greater amounts in the 1950s and 1960s to control insects that attack crops, in addition to its use for fly and mosquito control. There was a general feeling at that time that we would be able to conquer all insect pests with DDT and other pesticides.

4The initial beneficial effects of DDT are described in M. Gladwell, "The Mosquito Killer," The New Yorker, July 2, 2001, pp. 42-51.

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