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(CC) Image: David E. Volk
Structure of DDT.

DDT, abbreviated from Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, but correctly called by its IUPAC name 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)ethane is an organochlorine pesticide that is very effective at killing mosquitoes and was used effectively in the fight against malaria.[1]

The campaign against DDT was started by Rachel Carson with her book Silent Spring. While DDT itself is safe, DDT breaks down into DDE(dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene) and DDD(dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane).[2] DDE has been classified as a possible carcinogen by the EPA.[3]

DDT was banned in 1972 by the Environmental Protection Agency under Administrator William Ruckelshaus, but it is still used in some countries.[4]


The use of DDT along the Saint Lawrence River valley continues to have an impact the river's Beluga whales, though the chemical has long been banned. [5]

(CC) Image: David E. Volk
Structure of DDE.
(CC) Image: David E. Volk
Structure of DDD.