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To Spray or Not to Spray

A Debate Over Malaria and DDT


Author(s)

Frank J. Dinan
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Canisius College
dinan@canisius.edu
Joseph Bieron
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Canisius College
bieron@canisius.edu

Abstract

In this case study, students grapple with the complex issues surrounding the use of DDT to control malaria in the developing world. In their examination of the issue, students consider risk/benefit analysis and the precautionary principle, two techniques used when making policy decisions involving the impact of science and technology on society. The case has been used in a senior honors seminar for both majors and non-majors dealing with the nature and impact of science and technology on society as well as in an organic chemistry course for science majors.


Objectives

  • To explore the controversy and uncertainty that often arise in the interaction of science and technology with society.
  • To introduce the major concepts of risk/benefit analysis and the precautionary principle and explore their strengths and weaknesses.
  • To raise awareness of the ethical and moral implications that often underlying taking or avoiding technological risks.

Keywords

Malaria; DDT; dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane; chemical insecticide; pesticide; disease vector control; risk benefit analysis; precautionary principle; United Nations; developing world

Topical Areas

Ethics, Policy issues, Scientific argumentation, Social issues, Social justice issues

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Dilemma/Decision, Role-Play, Student Presentations

Language

English

Subject Headings

Science (General)  |   Biology (General)  |   Chemistry (General)  |   Public Health  |  


Date Posted

03/14/01

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