DDT and metabolites


Toxic and persistent organochloropesticide

DDT is an effective contact and stomach insecticide which has been used widely in agriculture and forestry. The commercial product is a mixture of the isomers p,p’-DDT (ca. 77%), o,p’-DDT (ca. 15%) and the metabolites DDE (Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene) und DDD (Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane).
Between 1946 and 1972 it was the most widely used insecticide. It was of special importance in the fight against the tropical disease Malaria which is transmitted by the Anopheles-midge.

DDT is very persistent in the environment. It adheres to soil particles and can enter surface waters during run-off. In the atmosphere it can travel over large distances adsorbed to dust particles.

DDT accumulates in the fatty tissues of organisms and is biomagnified in the food web.

DDT is toxic to humans and animals and acts as endocrine disruptor. Moreover, there is evidence for mutagenicity and carcinogenicity.

Since the Stockholm Convention entered into force in 2004, the use of DDT is restricted to vector control.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, DDT was banned in 1972. In the German Democratic Republic (GDR) the compound was successively banned between 1971 and 1988. It was, however, more important in GDR agriculture and forestry and was still applied extensively in 1983 and 1984 to control the bark-beetle.



Sampling area

Sampling period

1985 - 2023