DDT in the United States

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The use of DDT in the United States is banned, except for a limited exemption for public health uses. The ban is due in a large part to Rachael Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring. DDT is still used in 22 countries.[citation needed]

Initial concerns about DDT[edit]

As early as the 1940s, scientists had begun expressing concern over possible hazards associated with DDT, and in the 1950s the government began tightening some of the regulations governing its use.[1] However, these early events received little attention, and it was not until 1957 when the New York Times reported an unsuccessful effort to restrict DDT use in Nassau County, New York that the issue came to the attention of the popular naturalist-author, Rachel Carson. William Shawn, editor of The New Yorker, urged her to write a piece on the subject, which developed into her famous book Silent Spring, published in 1962. The book argued that pesticides, including DDT, were poisoning both wildlife and the environment and were also endangering human health.[2]

Bald eagle[edit]

Along with the passage of the Endangered Species Act, the US ban on DDT is cited by scientists as a major factor in the comeback of the bald eagle in the contiguous United States.[3]

Continued use of DDT[edit]

According to Environmental Protection Agency, some uses of DDT continued under the public health exemption, for emergency agricultural use.[4] The federal regimen to regulate pesticides was restructured under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in October 1972. Under authority to control pesticide use granted in that Act, EPA approved DDT use against the pea leaf weevil in Washington and Idaho, in 1973, and against the tussock moth epidemic in Douglas fir in forests in the Northwest in 1974. In a health-related example, in June 1979, the California Department of Health Services was permitted to use DDT to suppress flea vectors of bubonic plague.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ DDT Regulatory History: A Brief Survey (to 1975), U.S. EPA, July 1975.
  2. ^ Lear, Linda (1997). Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature. New York: Henry Hoyten.[page needed]
  3. ^ Stokstad, Erik (2007). "Can the Bald Eagle Still Soar After It Is Delisted?". Science. 316 (5832): 1689–90. PMID 17588911. doi:10.1126/science.316.5832.1689. 
  4. ^ "DDT Regulatory History: A Brief Survey (to 1975)". 
  5. ^ Bate, Roger (November 5, 2007). "The Rise, Fall, Rise, and Imminent Fall of DDT". American Enterprise Institute. 

External links[edit]