March 10, 2013
Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) is a man-made molecule, synthetized in 1874 but its properties were not discovered until 1939. Its properties were discovered just in time to be used in the second half of World War II. Paul Hermann Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine for this discover. After World War II, it was used as an insecticide.
DDT is a mixture of related compounds and the major compound is p, p’isomer. Dichlorodiphenyldichoroethylene (DDE) and Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane (DDD) make up the balance and they are also the major metabolites and breakdown products in the environment.
In 1962, an ...view middle of the document...
Its color is white, it is a crystalline solid, it has no taste and is almost odorless. DDT is insoluble in water but soluble in fats and oils. Its boiling point is 185°C and it has a density of 1.016 kg/L at 20°C.
In War World II, DDT was used to control Malaria and Typhus that attacked not only soldiers but civilians. The way they did it was through spray.
It was a very common chemical after War World II. It was spread worldwide and was being used in agricultural activities as an insecticide. It was also used to kill any kind of bacteria or disinfectant. DDT is still used in South America, Africa, and Asia for the same purpose. In the United States, it is still manufactured but is sold to or used only by foreign countries. According to studies, 1.8 million tons have been produced all around the world. In the US, 600,000 tons were used before the 1972 ban (Wikipedia). Since its discovery, it has been the ideal chemical agent because of its effectiveness killing any type of insect. Some researchers working in Africa say that they have found a replacement for DDT. Its name is microencapsulated chlorpyrifos-methyl (CS) and it is just as effective as DDT.
Other chemicals like methoxychlor have been used after DDT but they have not been as effective as DDT. Also chemicals like Borax Powder and boric acid are being used but still not as effective as DDT.
There has been a controversy among scientists for its use. They have been questioning whether it is worse than malaria. DDT is very soluble in fat, which means it is easy to get into the human body and cause health problems like previously mentioned. It can be very helpful in an epidemic emergency but can also be very dangerous if used indiscriminate. Malaria remains as a public health problem in many countries. In 2008, there were approximately 243 million cases and 863,000 deaths. Most of these deaths occurred in Africa; it killed mostly children less than 5 years of age. In humans, the half- life of DDT is 6 to 10 years and during this time, it can cause enormous damages to the body. A test conducted in 2008 in the United States by Center for Disease Control, showed that DDT was present in all blood samples. After its indiscriminate use, if left disastrous impacts on the environment. Since it is soluble in fats and oils, it also finds its way to get into any type of living organism and the most affected of all of these is the one on top of the food chain (human). In 2007, at least 3,950 tons of DDT was sprayed for mosquito control in Africa and Asia, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (Marla Cone...