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The Impact Of Chemical Ddt On Human Health

1976 words - 8 pages


As of 2013, there were 97 countries with sustained malaria transmission, and 7 countries in prevention of the reintroduction phase, making a total of 104 countries where malaria is presently considered endemic 1,3,10,15,24. It is estimated that 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria and WHO estimates that 207 million cases of malaria occurred globally with 627,000 deaths in 20121,3,10,15,24. 80% of cases occurred in Africa and most deaths (77%) occurred in children under the age of 5 3,7,10,15,23,24. The burden faced in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be a challenge for national governments. Increasing resistance to drugs and pesticides, the lack of capacity to implement ...view middle of the document...

DDT has been widely banned as an agricultural pesticide because of its persistence and bioaccumulation in food chains, which causes both negative environmental and human health effects 1,20,23. It was banned in most industrialized countries around 1970s, mainly because of its effects on wildlife 13,16,18. The best-known toxic effect of DDT on wildlife is eggshell thinning among birds, especially birds of prey 13,16,18,20. DDT accumulates in fatty tissue and is slowly released in humans 13,16,18,20. Several global assessments have been made on health risks involving the usage of DDT. The studies mostly focused on subjects in North America and Europe who have generally been exposed to levels somewhat lower than those reported from areas with IRS (indoor residual spraying), however health effect reported are: pregnancy loss, preterm birth, decreased lactation, fertility loss, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, neuro-developmental deficits, diabetes and breast cancer 5,6,10,11,12,13,16,17,18,20,21,22.

In 2004, the pesticide was globally regulated under the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which is currently only 1 of 12 on their list 18,20. Under the convention, the only accepted use of DDT is IRS for disease-vector control.

IRS is a major intervention for malaria control. There are currently only 12 insecticides recommended for IRS, this list includes DDT 23. Despite all of the possible side effects the chemical may cause to human health why is DDT still recommended by WHO? Even though the insecticide DDT is very efficacious and cost efficient, the chemical should not be considered to be used even if WHO recommends it within its 12 IRS agents. Because the potential health risk involved with long-term chronic exposures significantly outweigh the short-term benefits the chemical may produce.


PubMed, Google Scholar were used to retrieve articles for this manuscript. The search terms used these include but not limited to phrases such as “Chemical-ddt”, “DDT-toxicity”, “Epidemiological studies of DDT”, “ Cancer and DDT”, “What is DDT”, “Malaria control”, “WHO and Malaria”, and “WHO and DDT”. In order to narrow down the initial results, only free full texts journals articles were utilized in this manuscript.

Inclusion criteria used for this manuscript-included journal articles written within the last 10 years, finding journal articles that were large-scale randomized control trials, systematic reviews of the literature, and large scale epidemiological studies were all taken into account when choosing which journals/reviews would be used in this manuscript.

The exclusion criteria included published material before the 10-year cut-off (except for any relevant data that may have been used for back ground knowledge or filling in material that was necessary for the manuscript), articles published in non-peer-reviewed journals, and unpublished articles.

To analyze the data obtained from the peer-reviewed...

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