Date of this Version
Vol. 65 * FEBRUARY 24, 1950 * No. 8
Preliminary tests with DDT for the control of mosquitoes, forest insects, and agricultural pests demonstrated that it was toxic to a wide variety of animal life. Because there were indications that the new insecticide would be widely used, apprehension was expressed by some groups that its extensive or indiscriminate use would cause extensive harm to wildlife.
The desirability of carefully controlled use was early recognized by those in charge of extensive programs for the control of insects of public health importance. A joint statement of policy for the use of DDT issued early in 1945 (1) by the Army and the Public Health Service announced that widespread use of DDT would be delayed until studies could determine its effects on beneficial insects and higher forms of life. The Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, and the Public Health Service have conducted extensive cooperative investigations in several parts of the country. The first two agencies have studied the effects on wildlife of single treatments with large dosages of DDT. The Public Health Service has principally studied the consequences of using small dosages of DDT routinely over considerable periods. Methods of application and frequency of treatment were the same as those commonly used in regular malaria control larviciding programs in order to ascertain at what dosage, if any, and in what manner or physical state DDT might be used in regular malaria control operations without being significantly harmful to organisms of economic or recreational importance.