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Pesticide eggs

Posted August. 12, 2017 07:15,   

Updated August. 12, 2017 07:26


The March 8, 1946 edition of the Dong-A Ilbo carried a short article on the public health authorities having students line up on school playgrounds and showered them with white powder, which was a type of insecticide called Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT).

Many faded black-and-white photos documenting Korea around the times of national liberation and the Korean War showed children covered in white powder. In 1942, a Swiss chemist named Paul Müller discovered that the substance DDT was effective in killing insects such as lice and fleas. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1948 for his contribution to enhancing public health. Although DDT was hailed as a pesticide that significantly contributed to fighting contagious diseases and increasing farm products, it came downhill 30 years later. After "Silent Spring" written by Rachel Carson (1907∼1964) in 1962 criticized DDT for its environmental havoc, it was discovered that the pesticide was also harmful to the human body. Many countries started to ban the use of DDT in the 1970s. Korea prohibited the chemical in 1979.

An insecticide scandal is putting the entire Europe into panic. After eggs containing large amounts of the insecticide Fipronil were found in the Netherlands and Belgium, the chemical was also found in eggs produced in about 10 egg-exporting countries including Romania and Denmark. Fipronil is a highly toxic insecticide that kills fleas and mites. Its use on chickens and other meat animals is banned.

How has the world become a place where people cannot enjoy fried eggs without concerns? A Belgian company manufactured a pesticide with the toxic chemical. A Dutch disinfectant company used the pesticide to kill chicken mites. It is surprising to see such a backward disaster occurring in advanced Europe. Although there has been no human casualty caused by the pesticide eggs, millions of chickens will be culled. Eggs, the cheapest and most convenient source of protein, will likely be feared on the dinner tables in Europe for the time being.