The Pesticide that Saved Lives

During the first half of the 20th century arguably the most lethal disease in the world that was responsible for killing millions of people as Typhus. Typhus is a disease carried by insects like lice, fleas and ticks. Anyone who hunts or has pets like dogs in tropical environments knows first hand how quickly these pests can spread and become overwhelming. Homes have been burned to the ground because of tick infestations.

One must also keep in mind that people were not quite as sanitary as they are today. Many bathed once a week or once a month so cleanliness wasn’t considered top of anyones list and in fact simply being clean would have saved untold amount of lives during this time. General Patton commented on the filthy way in which his allies the Russians lived on several occasions.

Typhus spread rapidly throughout Europe especially in areas where people lived closely together and in less than sanitary conditions. As some of you might remember from grade school lice tends to hide in hair so outbreaks of Thypus we often treated in part by sheering people body hair off robbing ticks, fleas, and especially lice from their safe havens on the human body. The body hair would of course have to be burned and if you have ever smelled burning hair you know it is not a pleasant smell.

Thypus was also addressed with 2 different pesticides. The Americans, French and English used a very dangerous pesticide called DDT. Some of you older people might remember DDT from the early 70’s when it was outlawed in America as a pesticide.

The Germans used a chemical called hydrocyanic acid. According to Websters dictionary hydrocyanic acid is:

“an aqueous solution of hydrogen cyanide HCN that is a poisonous weak acid and is used chiefly in fumigating and in organic synthesis”

The  Germans manufactured hydrogen cyanide HCN to fight fleas, ticks and lice infestations in humans and domestic animals under the trade name Zyklon B (the B stands for ‘Blausäure’, HCN in German).

Zyklon B is weak acid and is used chiefly in fumigating and in organic synthesis that could not have been used to murder anyone. To claim that it was is a blatant lie that most people are willing to believe because most people have no background in science or chemistry.

What else have you been lied to about?




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