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Project Safeguard

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Sound | ca. 1974

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  •  Dick Steeno, Environmental Health Specialist 
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After nearly three decades of agricultural, commercial and residential use as a pesticide, DDT was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1972 due to "growing public and user concern over adverse environmental side effects." Project Safeguard was part of a larger project initiated by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to educate the public on the replacement of DDT with organophosphates. This unique educational and training film dramatizes the challenges (and benefits) that the cancellation of DDT brought to the Rio Grande Valley area in the early to mid-1970s. Placed within a quasi-narrative format as news reporters discover the world of "pesticides" on the border, this footage of Harlingen and the surrounding areas offers a great example of the educational film format of the era as well as unique images of the community at this time.