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What is the full form of DDT?

DDT: DichloroDiphenylTrichloroethane

DDT is a colorless, tasteless, crystalline, and almost odorless organochloride substance that is famous for its insecticidal properties. It is also poisonous for both humans and animals. It is accumulated in tissues and remains active for many years.

It is generally used in farming and agriculture to kill insects and protect crops.

DDT full form


DDT was first synthesized in 1874 and was used in the second half of World War 2 to control Malaria and typhus among civilians and troops. In 1970, around 386 million pounds of DDT were produced globally. In the United States, in 1959, it was used most heavily as a spray (around 80 million pounds of DDT). In the early 1970s, questions were raised related to the negative effects of DDT on the environment and living organisms. In 1973, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency put a ban on the use of DDT in the United States.

Creation and Application

DDT has been produced in a variety of forms, including emulsifiable concentrates, powders that may be wettened with water, granules, aerosols, smoke candles, and charges for vaporizers and lotions.

More than 40,000 tonnes of DDT were used annually in agriculture between 1950 and 1980, and it is thought that 1.8 million tonnes of DDT have been manufactured worldwide since the 1940s.

About 15 businesses, including Monsanto, Ciba, Montrose Chemical Company, Pennwalt, and Velsicol Chemical Corporation, produced it in the country. The highest annual production rate was 82,000 tonnes in 1963. Before the prohibition in 1972, more than 600,000 tonnes (1.35 billion pounds) were used in the US. In 1959, use reached its high at 36,000 tonnes.

Three thousand three hundred fourteen tonnes were produced in 2009 for the prevention of visceral leishmaniasis and malaria. The only nation that continues to produce DDT is India, which is also its biggest user. China stopped manufacturing in 2007.


The molecular formula of DDT is C14H9Cl. It is highly hydrophobic and not soluble in water, but it is soluble in most organic solvents, oils, and fats.

It is produced artificially by the reaction of chloral (CCl3CHO) with chlorobenzene (C6H5Cl) in the presence of the catalyst sulphuric acid (H2SO4).

How does it work?

When DDT is sprayed on the plants, the insects residing on the plants are exposed to it. It affects the insect's neurons which leads to eventual death. It also puts a very adverse effect on the human life cycle through edible plants.

Detrimental effects of DDT

1) Effects on the human being

If we talk about its adverse effect on humans only, it would be a very harmful substance for them. It leads to a lot of diseases in humans.

  • Diabetes
  • Liver cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Uncontrolled cell mutation later leads to tumours and cancer.

2) Effects on Wildlife

DDT is a very toxic and hazardous chemical for a wide variety of wildlife, i.e., birds, mammals, fishes, etc. It is responsible thinning of eggshells and lowers the reproductive rate in certain bird species by causing egg breakage and embryo death.

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