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Stefano Mirtis

Blueberries
DDT Wars
094/388
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I do not believe that the men who served in
uniform in Vietnam have been given the credit
they deserve. It was a difficult war against an
unorthodox enemy.

~ William Westmoreland
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1939
Paul Hermann Mller, DDT
DDT (from its trivial name,
dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane)
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Paul Hermann Mller, DDT
First synthesized in 1874, DDT's insecticidal
properties were not discovered until 1939, and it
was used with great success in the second half of
World War II to control malaria and typhus among
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civilians and troops. The Swiss chemist Paul
Hermann Mller was awarded the Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine in 1948 "for his discovery of
the high efficiency of DDT as a contact poison
against several arthropods." After the war, DDT
was made available for use as an agricultural
insecticide, and soon its production and use
skyrocketed.
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Stefanos Blueberries DDT Wars 094/388
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National Archives/U.S. Army Signal Corps - DDT,
the powerful synthetic pesiticide once thought to
be harmless unless ingested, was used liberally on
boll weevils and humans alike. Typhus outbreaks in
the countries entered by the United States armies
during World War II were stopped cold by DDT,
sprayed directly on people, clothing and bedding -
even sprayed by air over entire cities.
Going west into France, being dusted with DDT at
the border control stations, 1944.
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Stefanos Blueberries DDT Wars 094/388
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When I was a child, I used to go to my
grandparents for the summer holiday. They lived
in southern Italy, quite different from Turin, in the
north. My grand-mother she had an obsession on
flies. Everyday she would spend an incredible
amount of energy to fight flies. DDT was her
weapon. Anwway I was never allowed to spray.
Only to watch. And to smell (DDT had an
incredibly peculiar smell). I never understood the
hidden reasons of this holy war. Anyway, it was a
great fun.
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-application of DDT residual spray in the interior of
a rural home-
Children Playing in the DDT Fog
-photo by George Silk//Time Life Pictures/Getty
Images-
Children playing in the DDT fog left behind by the
TIFA truck.