Chapter 3: DDT and Other Chlorinated Insecticides
Published:19 Jan 2012
The use of organochlorine insecticides such as DDT, lindane and cyclodieneshas declined markedly worldwide over the last decades. Most are now banned or not used. At an acute toxicity level they have been relatively safe in use for humans. However, the greatest concerns are their persistence in people, wildlife and the environment due to their slow metabolism. Although their carcinogenicity for humans has not been supported by strong epidemiological evidence, their potential to be modulators of endocrine and immune function at levels remaining in the environment or associated with residual spraying of DDT continue to be of concern. At present, DDT is still allowed by the United Nations for combating malaria, with continual monitoring and assessment where possible. The toxicological consequences of exposure of animals and people to DDT is discussed as well as some analogues and other insecticides such as lindane, dieldrin and chlordecone that, although little used, continue to persist in surroundings and people. Because of circumstances of world health brought about by climate change or human activities that have yet to develop, there may come a time when the importance of some may re-emerge.