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Zika virus threat renews interest in DDT insecticide




Members prepare insecticide for a helicopter equipped for pesticide spreading.
Members prepare insecticide for a helicopter equipped for pesticide spreading.
RIJASOLO/AFP/Getty Images

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Without a vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus, experts are debating aggressive campaigns for mosquito elimination including the use of DDT (long banned in the U.S.).

Critics of the ban on DDT say people suffering from the Zika health emergency do not have the luxury of worrying about the environmental impact of the insecticide. Some entomologists argue newer insecticides are likely as effective as DDT on Zika-carrying mosquito species, plus some research has found DDT-resistant mosquito populations.

Is the resurgent interest in DDT based on its efficacy?

Guests:

Robert Zubrin, author, "Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism;" Zubrin wrote “Will the EPA cause a Zika Pandemic” for the National Review; Aerospace Engineer by trade

Dina Fonseca, Ph.D., Professor of Entomology, Rutgers University; Fonseca studies invasive mosquitoes and insecticide efficacy; 2014 study published in PLoS One "Insecticide Resistance Status of United States Populations of Aedes albopictus and Mechanisms Involved"