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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances



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DDT - "Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane. An organachlorine insecticide no longer registered for use in the United States." - U.S. Geological Survey, 2007

DDT - “DDT (1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane) is a pesticide that was once widely used to control insects on agricultural crops and insects that carry diseases like malaria and typhus, but is now used in only a few countries to control malaria … After 1972, the use of DDT was no longer permitted in the United States except in cases of a public health emergency.” - Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 2002

DDT - "The first of the modern chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides ... It has a half-life of 15 years, and its residues can become concentrated in the fatty tissues of certain organisms, especially fish. Because of its persistence in the environment and its ability to accumulate and magnify in the food chain, EPA has banned the registration and interstate sale of DDT for nearly all uses in the United States effective December 31, 1972." - American Geological Institute, 1976

DDT - "DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) an insecticide highly toxic to biota, including humans. This is a persistent biochemical which accumulates in the food chain.” – United Nations, 1997

DDT - “DDT is the most known persistent organic pollutant… DDT was widely used during the Second World Word to protect the troops and civilians from the spread of malaria, typhus and other vector borne diseases. After the war, DDT was widely used on a variety of agricultural crops and for the control of disease vector as well. Despite its environmental and human health effects, it is still being produced and used for vector control." - International Labor Foundation for Sustainable Development, 2010

DDT - “DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) is an organochlorine compound that persists in the environment and bioaccumulates in human and animal tissue." - Saoke, 2005

DDT - "A colorless contact insecticide, C14H9Cl5 , toxic to humans and animals when swallowed or absorbed through the skin. It has been banned in the United States for most uses since 1972." - Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries, 2000

USGS Information on DDT and Pesticides

Related Science Feature Articles

Other Information on DDT and Pesticides


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 2002, Public health statement for DDT, DDE, and DDD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, access date August 9, 2010.

American Geological Institute, 1976, Dictionary of geological terms (4 ed.): Garden City, New York, Anchor Press, 472 p.

Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries, 2000, The American heritage dictionary of the English language (4 ed.): Houghton Mifflin Company, 2076 p.

International Labour Foundation for Sustainable Development, 2010, DDT: International Labor Foundation for Sustainable Development, access date August 9, 2010.

Saoke, P., 2005, Kenya POPs situation report--DDT, pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls: The International POPs Elimination Project (IPEP).

United Nations, 1997, Glossary of environment statistics, Studies in Methods, Series F, No. 67: United Nations, New York.

U.S. Geological Survey, 2007, Glossary--DDT: U.S. Geological Survey, access date July 29, 2010.

Disclaimer: The definitions on this page are provided for information purposes only, and do not indicate endorment by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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