The Regulation of DDT: A Choice between Evils
DDT has the potential for great benefit and great harm. It is currently the most efficient method for controlling malaria, particularly for those countries the disease affects most. However, it also causes global pollution and damages the health of humans and wildlife. These characteristics of DDT make regulating DDT difficult because they create a need for the continued use of DDT to prevent the debilitating effects of malaria, but also a need to ban the use of DDT in order to prevent its negative environmental and health effects. These conflicting needs correlate to diverging interests of developing and developed countries. The Stockholm Convention is an international attempt to regulate DDT use while recognizing this tension. It permits DDT use for public health purposes, though ultimately pursues an objective of total elimination of the chemical. After examining malaria, DDT, and the Convention in some detail, this Note suggests several reforms to the Stockholm Convention in order to more effectively reconcile the need for DDT with the need to eliminate DDT from manufacture or use.