Chlorinated hydrocarbon

  • chlorinated hydrocarbon
  • A class of persistent, broad-spectrum insecticides that linger in the environment and accumulate in the food chain. Among them are DDT, aldrin, dieldrin, heptachlor, chlordane, lindane, endrin, mirex, hexachloride, and toxaphene. In insects and other animals these compounds act primarily on the central nervous system. They also become concentrated in the fats of organisms and thus tend to produce fatty infiltration of the heart and fatty degeneration of the liver in vertebrates. In fishes they have the effect of preventing oxygen uptake, causing suffocation. They are also known to slow the rate of photosynthesis in plants. Their danger to the ecosystem resides in their rate stability and the fact that they are broad-spectrum poisons which are very mobile because of their propensity to stick to dust particles and evaporate with water into the atmosphere.