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Expert Group Recommends Continued Use of DDT for Vector-Borne Disease Control

January 2013: The DDT Expert Group has assessed the continued need for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and recognized its continued need in specific settings where safe alternatives are lacking.

The Expert Group held its fourth meeting from 3-5 December 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland, and considered issues related to: insecticide resistance to DDT and alternatives; new alternative products, covering the work of the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Review Committee; the transition from DDT in disease vector control; and a decision support tool for vector control.

The DDT Expert Group recognized a continued need for DDT in specific settings for disease vector control where effective or safer alternatives are lacking. The Group recommended that DDT in Indoor Residual Spray should be limited only to the most appropriate situations based on operational feasibility, epidemiological impact of disease transmission, entomological data and insecticide resistance management. It also recommended that countries undertake further research and implementation of non-chemical methods and strategies for disease vector control to supplement reduced reliance on DDT.

The Stockholm Convention on POPs, under the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO), allows the use of the insecticide DDT in disease vector control to protect public health. DDT is listed in Annex B of the Convention, which restricts its production and use except for parties that have notified the Secretariat of their intention to produce and/or use it for disease vector control.

The findings of the DDT Expert Group will be presented at the sixth meeting of the Stockholm Conference of the Parties (COP 6), being held back-to-back with the meetings of the Rotterdam and Basel COPs, taking place from 28 April-10 May 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland. [Stockholm Convention Press Release] [Website of Fourth Expert Group Meeting on DDT] [Stockholm Convention Decisions on DDT]