DDT Full Form Name: DDT Meaning

Full Form of DDT :


DDT Full Form is  Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane which is a colorless, tasteless and odorless organochloride. DDT is a very established insecticide  which was synthesized first in 1874. However, it was in 1939 that it’s insecticidal properties were discovered. It was initially utilized during the world war II by the military force to control typhus, malaria, plague, and body lice.

In fact, USA and Italy used DDT to eradicate malaria and to support public health. Few reasons why DDT was popular because; it is inexpensive to make, it remains in the environment, and it is effective. However, due to its high toxicity, it is legally restricted to be manufactured and used. The effects it can have on the human is still under controversy. Hence, it is banned in most part of the world.

DDT Full Form – Additional Information

The DDT is basically an organochloride which is famous for its properties related to insecticides and their impact on the environment. It is completely tasteless, colourless, odourless and crystalline. There are numerous forms in which the formulation of the DDT is done. Some of them are smoke candles, granules, concentrates that can be emulsified, xylene, charges used in lotions, aerosols, etc.

Paul Müller, a chemist of Switzerland was responsible for the discovery of the insecticidal actions of the DDT. This chemical was utilized for controlling typhus as well as malaria during the Second World War. When the war got over, it was utilized as an insecticide in the agricultural sector, and due to this, there was a considerable increase in its production and usage.

Rachel Carson, in the year 1962, helped in cataloguing the impact of spraying DDT on the environment and raised questions on spraying this dangerous chemical without knowing its effects on the health of human beings and on the environment. According to her, this chemical had the potential of causing dangerous disease like Cancer and had very harmful effects on the wildlife, especially birds. Ultimately, in the US, the use of DDT in agriculture was banned in the year 1972.

Chemistry and Properties of DDT

The structure of the acaricide dicofol, as well as methoxychlor, is similar to that of the DDT. It is not soluble in water and is hydrophobic. It can dissolve fairly well in oils, fats and solvents of the organic nature. The DDT is not found naturally. When chloral or CCl3CHO is reacted with chlorobenzene or C6H5Cl, DDT is produced. The trade names under which the marketing of this chemical is done consists of Neocidol, Ixodex, Guesarol, Gesarol, Dicophane, Chlorophenothane, etc.

The DDT that is produced commercially consists of numerous compounds which are closely related. An essential one is the pp isomer, which forms seventy-seven percent of the mixture. It consists of fifteen percent of the op isomer. The balance is made with the help of DDD or dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane and DDE or dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene. Both DDD, as well as DDE, are basically metabolites.

Environmental Impact of DDT

The sediments and soils can absorb DDT easily. Since it has hydrophobic properties, it is absorbed fairly easily by the suspended particles and aquatic organisms. A little amount of it dissolves in water. The chemical and physical properties of the chemicals like DDD and DDE are similar and hence, are persistent. As a result, these chemicals are transported to the Arctic from the warmer areas due to global distillation. This leads to their accumulation in the food web of the region.

DDT has lipophilic properties, and hence, has the capability of bioaccumulation. This is especially true for predatory birds. The magnification of DDD, DDE, and DDT in the food chain is done through raptor birds that concentrate more on the chemicals instead of other animals in the environment. These are metabolism-resistant, and in humans, they can live from six to ten years. When the CDC tested the blood samples of people, these chemicals were found in very small amounts in almost all samples. Their levels have decreased considerably since these chemicals were banned.

Human Health

The DDT acts as a disrupter of endocrines. According to the NTP or the National Toxicology Program of the US, this chemical is moderately toxic. By the WHO, the same is classified as the moderately hazardous. There are certain occasions, which are quite rare when the DDT has been administered for curing the barbiturate poisoning.

Both DDE, as well as DDT, have xeno-estrogenic activity. This means that these chemicals are capable of triggering hormonal responses. In several toxicological studies, this activity was observed in the cases of rats and mice. This is a clear indication of the occurrence of these effects in humans who are exposed to the DDT. It is responsible for damaging the reproductive system and also decreases the success rate of reproduction.


In many nations, the primary challenge in the public health is Malaria. According to the estimates of the WHO in the year 2008, here were more than two hundred million cases of Malaria, and the same was responsible for more than eight hundred thousand deaths. In Africa, over eighty percent of deaths are caused due to this disease.

The anti-malaria campaign organized by the WHO during the years of 1950 and 1960 used DDT in large amounts. The results obtained were excellent, but at the same time, were temporary. There were many factors responsible for the resurgence of malaria, such as poverty, increase in irrigation, poor leadership, resistance to insecticides and drugs of the first generation like chloroquine. Numerous governments curtailed the usage of this chemical due to its adverse effects on the environment and humans. In numerous portions of India, the effects of DDT are ineffective.

In the year 1989, its usage in agriculture was banned, and its use as an anti-malaria drug is declining. There are many alternatives to DDT. The carbamate, as well as organophosphate, can be used as insecticides. Some of the examples of these chemicals are bendiocarb and malathion. Although they are costly as compared to DDT, they provide good results when they are applied at the same dosage. Another alternative is pyrethroids, like deltamethrin. Although it is expensive, it is applied in small doses, which makes its costs equal to that of the DDT.

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