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Definition of DDT
: a colorless odorless water-insoluble insecticide C14H9Cl5 that is an aromatic organochlorine banned in the United States that tends to accumulate and persist in ecosystems and has toxic effects on many vertebrates
: a colorless odorless water-insoluble crystalline insecticide C14H9Cl5 that tends to accumulate in ecosystems and has toxic effects on many vertebrates—called also chlorophenothane, dicophane
Synthetic insecticide belonging to the family of organic halogens. In 1939 its toxicity to a wide variety of insects was discovered (by Paul Hermann Müller, who was awarded a Nobel Prize for his work) and effectively used against many disease vectors. By the 1960s, many species of insects had developed populations resistant to DDT; meanwhile, this highly stable compound was accumulating along the food chain and having toxic effects on various birds and fishes. During the 1960s it and similar chemicals were found to have severely reduced the populations of certain birds, including the bald eagle.