DDT with Elena Conis

Episode 102 - January 6, 2023
How to sell a poison - book cover

Elena Conis joins the Infectious Historians to discuss her recent book on the history of DDT and its use. The conversation begins with a brief overview of the early history of DDT up to and around its entry into mass production in the 1940s and 1950s. In parallel to the discussion of the commercial and industrial aspects of its use, Elena points out some of the cultural reasons why DDT was so popular. The next part of the conversation examines the changing attitude to DDT and its eventual decline, centered around Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) although earlier voices had similarly critiqued DDT and its massive use. The discussion covers the period until the 21st century, as DDT remains in use, albeit limited, today. 

Our Guest

Elena Conis

Professor in the School of Journalism, UC Berkeley

Elena Conis