DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) (Encyclopedia of Science)
DDT is a synthetic chemical compound once used widely in the United States and throughout the world as a pesticide (a chemical substance used to kill weeds, insects, rodents, or other pests). It is probably best known for its dual nature: although remarkably effective in destroying certain living things that are harmful to plants and animals, it can also be extremely dangerous to humans and the environment.
The abbreviation DDT stands for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. DDT was first produced in the laboratory in 1873. For more than half a century, it was little more than a laboratory curiosity complicated synthetic (produced by scientists) compound with no apparent use.
Then, in 1939, Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Müller (1899965) discovered that DDT was highly poisonous to insects. The discovery was very important because of its potential for use in killing insects that cause disease and eat agricultural crops. For his work, Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1948.
DDT as an insecticide
During and after World War II (19395), DDT became extremely popular among public health workers, farmers, and foresters. Peak production of the compound reached 386 million pounds (175 million kilograms) globally in 1970. Between 1950 and 1970, 22,204 tons (20,000 metric tons) of DDT was used annually in the former Soviet...
(The entire section is 851 words.)
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