DDT pesticide
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Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT)

DDT-based pesticides

Concerned that the worldwide use of DDT in agriculture, home gardens, and infectious-disease prevention without much research into the effects of the chemical was the real cause of mass bird deaths, American biologist Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring in 1962. The seminal book set off investigations that led to a 1972 ban on the chemical, which is suspected of being a carcinogen and is known to have adverse effects on pregnancy and growth. Forty years later DDT may seem like a long-lost product, but finding some of the old pesticide in your garden shed isn't totally out of the realm of possibility: as late as 2006, one homeowner brought a 50-pound bag of the pesticide to cleanup authorities.
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