Pollution Management - DDT

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  • DDT dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane
    • USES
      • during World War II
        • control the lice that spread typhus
        • control the mosquitoes that spread malaria
      • insecticide in farming - production soared
    • restrictions of use
      • (1970-1980) - agricultural use of ddt = banned in MEDC countries
      • despite worldwide ban on agricultural use of DDT, its use in disease control continued in India and North Korea
    • environmental impacts
      • DDT is soluble in lipids (fats) = build up in fatty tissue
        • loss and degradation occur through run-off, volatilization, photolysis, biodegredation
      • bioaccumulation
        • retention/build-up of non-biodegradable or slowly biodegradable chemicals in the body = produces body-burden of the substance
      • biomagnification / biological amplification
        • process whereby the concentration of a chemical increases at each trophic level
          • end result = top predator may have concentration of a chemical several million times higher than the same chemical's concentration in water/primary producers
    • effects on human health
      • farmers exposed to DDT had an increase of asthma and/or diabetes
      • higher risk of liver / breast / pancreatic cancer
      • risk factor for:
        • early pregnancy loss
        • premature birth
        • low birth weight
  • led to huge decrease in both diseases
    • control the mosquitoes that spread malaria
    • control the lice that spread typhus


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