I do find it regrettable that DDT has been suppressed from use in regions where malaria is a huge problem, though it does have some pretty bad effects in the food chain. What it really highlights though, is just how devastating some pesticides can be on the environment, and just how accessible these chemicals are.Jackass wrote:I have an old can of DDT that says to saturate mattresses and bedding weekly for bedbugs on the back of the can, I wonder what kind of side effects that would cause for the occupant. Can't be good...they outlawed this stuff for a reason
See that other chemical on that can? I've reattached the image here:
That's pyrethrum, a derivative from some plants in the the Chrysanthemum genus. It's a natural pesticide that acts like a neurotoxin on mostly cold-blooded animals. That can must be pretty old. Wanting to improve on the properties, a synthetic derivative of the chemical, permethrin, was also been developed. It is an excellent insecticide for soaking your clothing and other stuff in to kill mosquitoes on contact, and lasts about 6-weeks or through 6x washings. Mosquitoes die on contact. Great stuff for putting on your camping gear, and it also isn't toxic to humans in the concentrations that you'll use (0.5%), and the way you'll use it (i.e. it won't harm you through contact).
The downside to the chemical is that it is extremely toxic to aquatic life and invertebrates. Dump some of that insecticide -- that you can get on Amazon.com -- into the water supply and watch it wreak havoc on the ecosystem, killing fish, bugs, and all kinds of water-life. Oh, and it'll kill your cats too, especially because they'll ingest it while grooming. I got some of that stuff for a now-cancelled trip to a very bug-infested region, and have been at pains to make sure that my friends make use, and dispose, of it improperly.
So also be aware of the non-outlawed stuff. We have access to very potent, even if not notorious, chemicals that can devastate ecosystems if misused.