Friday, July 27, 2007

Impressions from China - Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane

Or DDT, for short.

Apparently they still use this here, in the land of tainted toothpaste, dubious dog food & contaminated cough syrup. Naive person that I am, I was shocked when my ayi told me to warn the kids not to touch the leaves of the trees in our front yard as the gardener had just sprayed DDT.

Yikes, I thought.

DDT has been banned in countries like the USA, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland for some time now. But it's still being used here although China did ratify the Stockholm Convention back in 2004 whose aim is to eliminate persistent organic pollutants. It has 5 years to stop production & use of such pollutants.

DDT had its uses in reducing insect-borne diseases like malaria & yellow fever. Problem is, DDT persists in the environment, and is stored & accumulated in animal fat. There has been some controversy over whether it should be banned in the first place, & whether there is any link between DDT & cancer.

Who to believe? Tough call.

Meantime, I think I will stick to organic tea leaves & washing my fresh fruits & veges with detergent before consumption. Can't take things for granted here...

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