As early as the 1940s, scientists in the U.S. had begun expressing concern over possible hazards associated with DDT, and in the 1950s the government began tightening some of the regulations governing its use. However, these early events received little attention, and it was not until 1957, when the New York Times reported an unsuccessful struggle to restrict DDT use in Nassau County, New York, that the issue came to the attention of the popular naturalist-author, Rachel Carson. William Shawn, editor of The New Yorker, urged her to write a piece on the subject, which developed into her famous book Silent Spring, published in 1962. The book argued that pesticides, including DDT, were poisoning both wildlife and the environment and were also endangering human health.
Scientists have continued to monitor those effects on human health and various studies have shown that regular exposure to DDT can be linked to diabetes, interference with proper thyroid function, a fivefold increase in breast cancer incidence for women who were exposed to DDT earlier in life, damage to the reproductive system and reduction of reproductive success, and reproductive toxicity which causes developmental problems for children that include decreased cognitive skills and retarded psychomotor development.
In this advert, the makers of TRIMZ DDT Wallpaper declare their product ‘Non-Hazardous’ and ‘guaranteed effective’ for one year – noting that ‘actual tests have proven the insect-killing properties still effective after 2 years of use.’ Among the named household pests killed ‘after contact’ we find that bedbugs are included. From the sound of it, that’s some pretty strong exposure for the children whose rooms were enclosed with this dangerous pesticide.
It would have been an interesting study to trace the effects on the children and households who lived for years with this product in their homes.