Who really is looking out for you?

DDT-Household-Pests-USDA-Mar47cThis ad ran in Time Magazine (June 30, 1947). That’s right, the headline reads DDT is Good for Me

When I make jokes about this, I’ve actually had someone respond with “well yes, but the benefits of DDT in Africa can’t be argued with.”


I understand that Malaria is a horrible affliction, but if you’re going to keep score, then put everything up on the board. According to research published in the Journal Science, The Lancet and other peer-reviewed publications, those same people who are being “saved” by DDT are going to also have to deal with the following:

  • Disruption in semen quality, menstruation, gestational length, and duration of lactation
  • Premature births
  • Reduced birth rate
  • Diabetes
  • Neurological disorders
  • Asthma
  • Cancers
    • Liver
    • Pancreas
    • Breast
    • Blood
    • Testis
    • Lymphatic System

This doesn’t even begin to cover the effects on the rest of the ecosystem. You can look that up for yourself.

With Malaria resulting in over 800,000 annual deaths, it’s obviously a major issue and it needs serious attention. However, just because DDT is easy and cheap to manufacture in massive quantities does not automatically make it the right solution.

Once DDT is in the ecosystem, it runs its way through all forms of life. Studies indicate that its impact is felt by anything made of living cells.

That’s, like, everything, right?

Which leads us back to the DDT is Good for Me ad. Perhaps you’re looking at the copy of the ad and thinking how silly it is. Aren’t you lucky that no one is spraying DDT in your backyard? Think again. With the way this stuff moves through the ecosystem, any yard is your backyard.

If an ad ran like this today, would you simply accept what it said? Would you just assume that some government agency, with its highly-compensated staff, is running its own studies to make sure every line of such a series of claims is true?

Who really is looking out for you?


  1. mewilsonboggs on January 29, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Interesting thoughts, but I would say that saying “some government agency, with its highly-compensated staff,” is suspect.

    Who in our US government gets paid anywhere near the drug and chemical corporations? The corporations are the ones with the real money to create these types of crazy ads everywhere.

    • Dave Saunders on January 29, 2010 at 4:40 pm

      Yeah, that was a “tongue in cheek” comment. 😉

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