Photochemical Decomposition of DDT by a Free-Radical Mechanism

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Science  30 May 1969:
Vol. 164, Issue 3883, pp. 1083-1085
DOI: 10.1126/science.164.3883.1083


Both as a pure solid and in hexane solution, DDT readily decomposed when irradiated with ultraviolet light (2537 angstroms). Principal products identified by gas-liquid and thin-layer chromatography from irradiations of the solid phase were 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis (p-chlorophenyl) ethane, 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl) ethylene, and 4,4'-dichlorobenzophenone. 1,1-Dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl) ethane and hydrochloric acid were identified from irradiated solutions of DDT in hexane. On the basis of products obtained, quantum yields, scavenger experiments, and other chemical tests, a nonchain, free-radical mode of degradation is proposed.

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