DDT is a colorless, tasteless, crystalline, and almost odorless organochloride substance which 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 the insects and protect the crops.
DDT was first synthesized in 1874 and was used in the second half of the World War 2 to control Malaria and typhus among civilians and troops. In 1970, around 386 million pounds of DDT was produced globally. In the United States, in 1959, it was used most heavily as a spray (around 80 million pound of DDT). In the early 1970s, questions were raised related to negative effects of DDT on environment and living organisms. In 1973, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency put a ban on the use of DDT in the United States.
The molecular formula of DDT is C14H9Cl. It is highly hydrophobic and not soluble in water but it is soluble in most of the 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 it works?
When DDT is sprayed on the plants, the insects residing on the plants are exposed with it. It affects the insect’s neurons which lead to eventual death. It puts also a very adverse effect on the human life cycle through edible plants.
Detrimental effects of DDT
1) Effects on 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.
- Liver cancer
- Breast cancer
- Uncontrolled cell mutation which later leads to tumor and cancer.
2) Effects on Wildlife
DDT is very toxic and hazardous chemical for a wide variety of wildlife i.e. birds, mammals, fishes etc. It is responsible thinning of eggshells and lower reproductive rate in certain bird species by causing egg breakage and embryo death.