• picture
  • picture
PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Living On Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of July 11, 1997

Facts about... It was 25 years ago this summer, that the Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of the pesticide D-D-T.

Transcript

RUDOLPH: In her landmark book Silent Spring, Rachel Carson called the chemical DDT "a grim spectre that has crept upon us almost unnoticed." Twenty-five years ago this summer the Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of DDT. First used as a pesticide in the late 1930s, it quickly became the weapon of choice to fight malaria, cholera, and other insect-borne diseases. But DDT has an insidious nature. It's highly poisonous to birds, other animals, and humans. DDT was banned in the United States after years of scientific debate. Since then, many affected species are back in record numbers. There are now more than 5,000 pairs of bald eagles, a 10-fold increase since 1962. Peregrine falcons, which numbered less than 100 in the mid-1970s, have shown a 20-fold increase. And once-threatened populations of ospreys, brown pelicans, and sea lions, are rebounding dramatically. But DDT is not a distant memory. Because the chemical decomposes slowly, traces of it still exist in soil and water. And the ban did not stop US companies from exporting DDT to other countries, where it continues to be used to fight malaria. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.

 

 

Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Newsletter
Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Major funding for Living on Earth is provided by the National Science Foundation.

Committed to healthy food, healthy people, a healthy planet, and healthy business.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live.

Kendeda Fund, furthering the values that contribute to a healthy planet.

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.