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QuotesMuller

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Paul Müller
Discoverer of DDT, the pesticide that kills the mosquitoes that spread malaria

Quotes by Müller

“Such personally conducted biological investigations stimulate the chemist in his work and at the same time he learns, by his observations, to understand the problems and uncertainties of biological tests and is thus better able to appreciate the difficulties facing his colleagues who work in biology. Sometimes new and valuable discoveries may be made by small changes in methods of application, or again by the correct observation of apparently unimportant side-effects.”
- Paul Müller, on why he liked to work alone

“After the fruitless testing of hundreds of various substances I must admit that it was not easy to discover a good contact insecticide. In the field of natural science only persistence and sustained hard work will produce results, and so I said to myself ‘Now, more than ever, must I continue with the search.’ This capacity I owe probably…to strict upbringing by my teacher, Professor Fichter, who taught us that in chemistry results can only be achieved by using the utmost patience.”
- Paul Müller, after two years of trying to create a new pesticide

“My fly cage was so toxic after a short period that even after very thorough cleaning of the cage, untreated flies, on touching the walls, fell to the floor. I could carry on my trials only after dismantling the cage, having it thoroughly cleaned and after that leaving it for about one month in the open air.”
- Paul Müller, just after discovering DDT

Quotes about DDT

“DDT is the single most effective agent ever developed for saving human life.”
- Dick Tavern, British politician

“You could eat a spoonful of it and it wouldn't hurt you."
- Dr Donald Roberts, professor of tropical public health at the Uniformed Services University

“Not even one peer-reviewed, independently replicated study linking exposure to DDT with any adverse health outcomes exists.”
- Amir Attaran, 2000 British Medical Journal essay

“After having tested different chemical combinations, you…made one of the greatest discoveries within the recent history of prophylactic medicine. DDT… kills the mosquito, which spreads malaria; the louse, which spreads typhus; the flea, which spreads the plague; and the sandfly, which spreads tropical diseases.”
- Gustaf Hellström, at the Nobel Prize ceremonies

“The excellent DDT powder, which has been fully experimented with and found to yield astonishing results, will henceforth be used on a great scale by the British forces in Burma, and the American and Australian forces in the Pacific and India and in all theatres.”      
- Winston Churchill

 “If there’s nothing else and it’s going to save lives, we’re all for it. Nobody’s dogmatic about it.”
- Greenpeace spokesperson Rick Hind, after Greenpeace stopped their effort to completely ban DDT

"It might be easy for some to dismiss the past 43 years of eco-hysteria over DDT with a simple 'never mind’, except for the blood of millions of people dripping from the hands of the WWF, Greenpeace, Rachel Carson, Environmental Defense Fund, and other junk science-fueled opponents of DDT."
- Steve Milloy, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute

"Men who voluntarily ingested 35 mgs of DDT daily for nearly two years were carefully examined for years and 'developed no adverse effects.”
- Hayes, W. 1956. JAMA 162:890-897

"To few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT."
- The US National Academy of Sciences, 1970