chemical information


Chemical Class:

Organochlorine Pesticide (OC)

Found in these people:

Monique Harden, Davis Baltz, Bill Moyers, Andrea Martin, Lexi Rome, Sharyle Patton, Michael Lerner, Baby #6, Baby #5, Baby #10, Baby #3, Baby #4, Baby #7, Baby #1, Baby #2, Baby #9, Baby #8, Kathy Fowler, Anonymous Adult 1, U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter, Sara Corbett

Found in these locations:

New Orleans, LA; Berkeley, CA; NJ, USA; Sausalito, CA; Mill Valley, CA; Bolinas, CA; Rockville, MD; Upstate New York, NY; NY, USA


DDE is a breakdown product of DDT. In humans, DDE concentrations were correlated with red blood cell changes consistent with anemia and changes in markers of immune function (ATSDR 2002a). A recent study in humans compared the length of gestation in children born between 1959 and 1966, when DDT use was widely used in the US, with maternal levels of DDE taken from stored blood samples. Levels of maternal DDE were strongly associated with pre-term birth and birth weight, which was corrected for "gestational" age (Longnecker 2001).

In laboratory animals, DDE causes liver toxicity (including tumors) and kidney toxicity. DDE exposure, especially during development, causes toxicity to the male reproductive organs including decreased weight of seminal vesicle, prostate gland, epididymides and penis. In addition, prenatal exposure to DDE causes nipple retention and decreases anogenital distance in male rat pups, which are signs of demasculinization (ATSDR 2002a).


Organochlorine chemical, a class largely banned in the U.S. that builds up in the body over time, linked to cancer and reproductive harm.

4,4'-DDE has been found in 25 of the 27 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. It has also been found in 4,258 of the 4,821 people tested in CDC biomonitoring studies.

Top health concerns for 4,4'-DDE (References)

health concern or target organ weight of evidence
Reproduction and fertilityunknown

Results for 4,4'-DDE

in blood serum (lipid weight)

Showing results from EWG/Commonweal Study #1, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults, EWG/Commonweal Study #4, industrial chemicals and pesticides in cord blood, EWG Study #8, chemicals in mother and 2 children, EWG Study #3, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults, San Francisco Reporter

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 5.57 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • found in 25 of 27 people in the group

CDC biomonitoring results

  • geometric mean: 165 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • found in 4258 of 4821 people in the group
ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum 28100

4,4'-DDE results

Detailed toxicity classifications (References)

classification governing entity/references
Reproductive effects - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedDamgaard, I. N., N. E. Skakkebaek, et al. (2006). Persistent pesticides in human breast milk and cryptorchidism. Environ Health Perspect 114(7): 1133-8.