DDT a problem of 30-50 years ago?

Joel joelrobertlyons at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 3 21:26:10 EDT 2000

Good question, Roger ...

DDT is still being manufactured in China and India and used
in more than two dozen Third World countries in Africa and

China is the source of most of the green tea imported into
the United States.  DDT has been found in tea imported
from China.

DDT is caught in the atmosphere and can be redeposited
far from its use site - that is one of the arguments for the
global treaty on persistent organic pollutants.

Because DDT persists in the environment for decades
it is everywhere and in everybody.  The average level
of the pesticide in human fat is seven parts per million.
DDT and its metabolite, DDE, have been found in
every sample of breast milk tested, from the Arctic
to South Africa - where children receive DDT in their
mother's milk at rates five to 18 times higher than
recommended by the World Health Organization.

Even crops grown in the United States, where DDT
use stopped almost 30 years ago, continue to show
DDT contamination.  Squash and root crops like
carrots are a particular concern.

The situation is worse with imported food.
Countries which export foods to the United States
need not, except in the case of meat and poultry,
have monitoring systems equivalent to ours, and
U. S. agencies often lack information on chemicals
used by exporting countries.

Aude Scire
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