DDT, DDE, DDD, DDA-Organochlorine Pesticide

DDT, DDE, DDD, DDA-Organochlorine Pesticide                                      Part 1 

DDT is an organochlorine insecticide that was first synthesized in 1874 and was a commonly used pesticide in the United States on crops and in buildings until 1972 when it was banned from use.  It was banned in Mexico in 2000 but is still used in Africa, South America and Asia to control malaria and other pests. DDT is still manufactured in the US but sold only to foreign countries but there is the exception for DDT for public health emergencies involving insect disease and lice. 

DDT is persistent in the environment, accumulates in fatty tissues and some pests can build resistance to it.  While stored in fat, it produces no noticeable symptoms. It affects the nervous system by interfering with normal nerve impulses.  Mammals exposed to DDT develop liver tumors an have increase risk of liver tumors but there is not sufficient study to demonstrate that it is carcinogenic in humans. 

DDT breakdown products in the body include DDE, DDD and DDA.  It is excreted in the urine, feces or breast milk. It tends to accumulate in animals but has declined with discontinued use.  The soil half-life is 2-15 years, and 150 years in the aquatic environment.  

DDT is dichlordiphenyltrichloroethane

Organochlorines are chemical compounds that contain hydrogen, carbon, chlorine, and possibly other atoms.

DDE is dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene-breakdown product of DDT

DDD (DDT) is dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane

DDA is 2,2-bis(4-chlorophernyl)-acetic acid

Center for Environmental Medicine


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