DDT - 1939


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Paul Hermann Muller (January 12, 1899 - October 12, 1965), a Swiss Scientist, was awarded the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for recognizing DDT as useful in the control of certain vector born diseases including malaria and yellow fever. He went on to patent DDT in in Switzerland, the U.S., and Australia. In 1948 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his 1939 discovery of insecticidal qualities and use of DDT in the control of vector diseases such as malaria and yellow fever.

Toxicological Perspective


Muller recognized that DDT was a useful insecticide. It is very useful in eliminating mosquitoes and consequently in controlling the spread of malaria, typhus, and other vector-borne diseases. It was used heavily in World War II and up until the early 1960s, until 1962 when American biologist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring which alleged that DDT caused Cancer and harmed reproduction in birds.


Paul Hermann Muller was born January 12, 1899 in Oltum/Solothum, Switzerland. He received his doctorate in 1925 and went to work for JR Geigy AG. It is here where he discovered DDT as an insecticide which proved to be useful in controlling many vector-borne diseases including malaria and yellow fever. He patented the pesticide in Switzerland (1940), the US (1942), and Australia (1943). He died in 1965 in Basel, Germany.