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Powder spray for Paris Green, France, 1925-1935

First used in the 1920s, ‘Paris Green’ is, as its name implies, a green coloured insecticide powder used to kill mosquito larvae in an attempt to control the numbers of this malaria-causing insect. In a different form it could also be used to poison rodents. Made from a highly toxic mixture of copper and arsenic, the powder could be sprayed using the bellows. In the years before DDT, this highly toxic chemical was often the first choice for anti-malarial spraying. Huge quantities of it were dropped by aeroplane on parts of Italy, Sardinia and Corsica during 1944 and 1945 to control the disease. This example was made in France for Cooper, Pegler & Co Ltd, a company that has manufactured a range of sprayers since 1894.

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