DDT WARS: Misinformation, Disinformation and Mythology of the DDT Issue

Published on Jun 12, 2020
Presented by Charles F. Wurster, Ph.D.

"DDT Wars" is the inside story of the decade-long scientific, legal and strategic campaign that culminated in the national ban of the insecticide DDT in 1972. DDT contamination had become worldwide, concentrating up food chains and causing birds to lay thin-shelled eggs that broke in the nests. Populations of many species of predatory and fish-eating birds collapsed. Their numbers recovered spectacularly in the decades following the ban. This campaign to ban DDT was led by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), founded in 1967 by ten citizens, most of them scientists and volunteers without special political connections or financial resources. Their strategy was to take environmental problems to court. There were many setbacks along the way in this exciting and entertaining story. Author Charles Wurster was one of the leaders of the campaign. The first six years of EDF history are described as it struggled to survive.

Charles F. Wurster is a founding member of the Environmental Defense Fund and a Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the Marine Sciences Research Center at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He received his Bachelor of Science degree at Haverford College. He earned a Master of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Stanford University. Subsequently Wurster spent a year in Innsbruck, Austria, as a Fulbright Fellow. From 1959 to 1962, he worked as a research chemist at the Monsanto Research Corporation.

Views expressed in this video are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Capital Area Skeptics.


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