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October 5, 1970

The DDT Muddlement

JAMA. 1970;214(1):149. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180010089029

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To the editor.—  In the editorial "The DDT Muddlement" (212:1058, 1970) there are a few statements which are misleading and, therefore, are deserving of clarification.Reference is made to the organophosphate insecticides as a class of compounds which are highly toxic to humans. While it is true that many members of this particular class of compounds are highly toxic, some are only slightly or moderately so. An outstanding example of this is malathion, which in the eyes of many is probably the safest organophosphate known and which has been used for many years without untoward incident. For example, in August of 1966, some 800 sq miles covering 26 Dallas County, Texas, communities were treated at a rate of 3 fl oz of 95% malathion per acre over large urban areas to control the mosquito vectors of encephalitis. In 1966, an aggregate of some 3,600,000 acres in south Texas were