South Africa has nearly disposed of intestinal sickness thanks to some extent to the questionable synthetic indoor showering utilizing DDT.
Yesterday the University of Pretoria’s acting head of the Faculty of Health, Tiaan de Jager, said data from his ongoing studies suggest that the use of the chemical indoors may be linked to fertility problems in women in Limpopo and poor semen quality in young men in the area.
His statement called for the dangers of DDT to be communicated to people whose houses are sprayed.
However, malaria control experts warn that negative statements on DDT must be viewed with caution as there is no proof the chemical is what is actually responsible for reproductive problems or birth defects. But there is proof that using it has saved thousands of lives.
Head of South Africa’s Malaria Control programme, Lucille Blumberg, said “the programme, which included indoor spraying of DDT, had dropped the number of infections in KwaZulu-Natal from 42400 in 1999 to 550 in 2011”.
DDT was used because of the mosquitoes’ resistance to other insecticides, De Jager said.
He said: “There have been reports of poor reproductive health in the Vhembe area, which is why we chose this region and its community for our research.”
Blumberg said: “DDT is only used indoors so it doesn’t damage the environment.
“It is long-lasting and is only used once a season.”
She also said “studies to date linking DDT to urogenital abnormalities and hormone problems have major limitations and flaws”.
One report showed that rats exposed to DDT gave birth to young with unusual organ problems. But then other scientists revealed that the rats had been exposed to bigger dosages of DDT than a human would ever be.