The science on the toxicities of DDT is solid. More worrying and not well recognized is the concept and application of GRAS - Generally Recognized As Safe - which is used by the FDA in the agricultural product approval process.
A GRAS designation typically exists in one of three forms:
1. Self-affirmed. The manufacturer of this chemical or substance had performed all necessary research, including the formation of an expert panel to review safety concerns, and is prepared to use these findings to defend its product's GRAS status.
2. FDA-pending. The manufacturer has performed all the aforementioned due diligence, and submitted to the Food & Drug Administration for GRAS approval.
3. No comment. The FDA has reviewed a product's GRAS claim and responded with "no comment"; i.e., no further challenges on the product's GRAS status.
(above definitions are taken from Wikipedia but are accurate).
To acheive threshold #1 the manufacturer hires a panel of experts to review the data for their product. This is obviously open to conflicts of interest and abuse.
Line item #2 is moribund, the FDA has admitted it no longer has the resources to review GRAS applications and has in fact not reviewed any since the late 90s. The process now moves to #3 by default and the manufacturer is free to release the product onto the market.
This means the only thing standing between you and any new rubbish being sprayed on your food is the honesty of the manufacturers and their panel of experts. As Wall Street has so aptly demonstrated we must never, ever rely on industries to self regulate themselves if they could have a profound effect on the health of our citizens, economy or environment.
My apologies if I just scared the heck out of any of you. Better that you know so you can protect yourselves and your families. Personally we grow as much of the food we eat as possible using organic methods and pay the extra to support local organic farmers when buying those things we can not grow. The addition of bees to our urban "farm" is a natural progression in these efforts to protect our kids.