Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is a pesticide that has had its heyday between 1940 and 1970. It was distributed to protect people (soldiers during the second world war or African farmers... today) from illnesses transmitted by mosquitoes, including malaria (or paludism). Due to its toxicity, DDT was responsible for ecological catastrophes, including the disappearance of animal species such as the bald eagle or other predatory birds.
The WHO 2011 global report on malaria indicates that in spite of the progress made in fighting this disease, the number of death is estimated at 655,000 persons for the year 2010.
It is for this reason that the international community is still authorising through the Stockholm Convention, the production and use of DTT, so long as there do not exist other products that are less toxic, within reach and available on the spot.
The monitoring and usage of DTT is however very strict and is recorded. The international community is responsible for checking every three years whether this use is still indispensable, in accordance with the scientific progress and access to alternatives.
The Global Alliance for the development and deployment of products, methods and strategies as alternatives to DDT in fighting against pathogen vectors was created in 2009. Presently, around twenty countries still use DDT to fight malaria whereas several other countries, including Belgium, have prohibited its use since the 1970s.