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Title:THE STORY OF DDT : DICHLOR DIPHENYL TRICHLORETHANE [Main Title]
Film Number:CVN 238
Summary: The development and applications of DDT as an insecticide.
Description: (Reel 1) Insects are one of the most dangerous enemies during wartime; a way to kill them is important. DDT was discovered in the 19th century by Othmar Zeider but its potential as an insecticide had not been realised. During WW2, supplies of derris and quinine dried up since they came from the far east, now occupied by the Japanese. A new alternative needed to be found. DDT, made in Switzerland, was tested at University College Hospital; experiments on lice, flies, bedbugs shown. Testing on mosquitos of spray containing DDT and pyrethium. The pyrethium knocks the insect out, the DDT kills it. Tests on mosquito larvae in water, both in lab and in the field. Tests for tolerance on rabbits: force-fed with pure DDT, then killed and autopsied to find effects. Encouraging results lead to tests on human guinea pigs by the RAMC's Army School of Hygiene. Volunteers: half given shirts impregnated with DDT, half given normal shirts, all wear them continuously for a month (free beer as part of experiment); sweating tests. Experiment is deemed a success. (Reel 2) Production in large scale commences; scenes of DDT being produced as white powder in various forms mixed with talcum powder to kill lice, mixed with oil to kill mosquitos. Shirts made for D-Day contained one per cent of weight in DDT: as a result, less than 1 man in 1000 was infested with lice. Special DDT sprays made available. Mobile laundries re-impregnate shirts. (Reel 3) Developments for far east theatre: atomising spray using sparklets bulb, high speed aircraft with spray tanks for spraying jungle. Malaria control units set up, while individual soldiers have the sprays. Peacetime use of DDT - curbing typhus epidemic in liberated Naples in January 1944: over a million people treated with powder at 43 delousing stations, and by mid-February the epidemic had been checked. "The battle is not over."
Production Details: War Office (Production sponsor)
Directorate of Army Kinematography (Production company)
Army Kinematograph Service (Production company)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: Zeider, Othmar (person)
British Army (regiment/service)
British Army, Royal Army Medical Corps, School of Hygiene (regiment/service)
Keywords: medical, British military - prevention: DDT (object name)
sciences, British - chemistry: DDT (object name)
society, British military - hygiene (object name)
equipment, British military - general: insecticide spray (object name)
University College Hospital, London, England, UK (geography)
Italy & Naples, Campania (geography)
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W
Sound format: Sound
Soundtrack language: English
Title language: English
Subtitle language: None
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 3
Footage: 1975 ft; Running time: 22 mins
Notes: Credits: caption states that film is "a War Office Production supervised by a medical officer appointed by the Director-General of Army Medical Services".