The Mosquito Killer

What do you think of when someone mentions DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichlorethane)? Chances are that your mind immediately goes to the damage the use of this chemical has done to bird populations, Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring", and the effort to ban or control its use. There is another side to the story, however, and Malcolm Gladwell argues that DDT may have saved more human lives than any other chemical discovery of the twentieth century. Malaria remains a major public health problem in the tropics, and the story of this chemical is excellent grist for a chemistry course dealing with Science, Technology, Society (STS) issues.

Publication information
Pick Attribution: 

Malcolm Gladwell

Publication Date: 
Monday, July 2, 2001