2014 is the anniversary of Rachel Carson´ s death. She was biologist, zoologist and writer of scientific divulgation books such as “The Edge of the Sea” or “Silent Spring”. She fought on behalf of Environment and achieved the important goal: get rid of DDT.
“But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”
― Rachel Carson
Carson was attacked by the chemical industry and some in government as an alarmist, but courageously spoke out to remind us that we are a vulnerable part of the natural world subject to the same damage as the rest of the ecosystem.
Although it was a milestone in the history, we have learned nothing. DDT continues being threat for nature in the world.
DDT was created by Paul Müller, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1948, and was banned in 1972 because of damage to wildlife. But it is still used in some countries especially in areas with endemic malaria. We are unable to figure out what is happening yet.
Large amounts of DDT were released into the air and on soil or water when it was sprayed on crops and forests to control insects. DDT and other forms, DDE and DDD, may also enter the air when they evaporate from contaminated water and soil.
It persists in the soil for hundreds of years. DDT disappears faster when the soil is flooded or wet than when it is dry.
In surface water, DDT will bind to particles in the water, settle, and be deposited in the sediment. DDT is taken up by small organisms and fish in the water. It accumulates to high levels in fish and marine mammals (such as seals and whales), reaching levels many thousands of times higher than in water.
You are exposed to DDT, DDE, and DDD mainly by eating foods containing small amounts of these compounds. Unusually, exposure to DDT could also occur through inhalation during the handling or application of DDT.
“Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons, a home in insipid surroundings, a circle of acquaintances who are not quite our enemies, the noise of motors with just enough relief to prevent insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal?”
― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
DDT is included in the Stockholm convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution protocol on POPs (CLRTAP-POP).