Environment: Verdict on DDT

When DDT first appeared in the U.S. in 1942, it seemed almost like a miracle drug. Cheap and efficient, it destroyed pests, reduced such insect-borne diseases as malaria, and brought bumper harvests. But over the years scientists found disturbing evidence, first publicized in Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, that DDT was harmful to animals too, and might threaten man as well.

After 17 months of weighing the evidence pro and con, Environmental Protection Administrator William D. Ruckelshaus announced his verdict last week: "DDT is an uncontrollable, durable chemical that persists in the aquatic and terrestrial environments." Because it lasts so long, it can...

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