Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 July 2009
Quantitative measurements of the sorption of γ BHC and dieldrin in Uganda mud blocks have been made. Gamma BHC diffused more rapidly than dieldrin, and within a few weeks had achieved an almost uniform concentration throughout the sprayed blocks. Only when the uniform concentration had been reached did loss by evaporation from the blocks become marked. Increased dosages of γ BHC gave increases in biological activity which were roughly proportional to the dosages used. Sorption on to mud greatly prolonged the residual life of γ BHC as compared with similar deposits on glass.
Dieldrin behaved in the same way as γ BHC although because of its slower rate of diffusion the distribution in the blocks had only reached in 48 weeks the stage reached by γ BHC in eight weeks. There was no appreciable loss of dieldrin during this time, whereas about 90 per cent. of the deposit on glass plates had been lost.
Gamma BHC, dieldrin and DDT were recovered from the adsorbed state on mud and identified. Any decomposition is therefore likely to be negligible. Dieldrin was also recovered from two soils which had much higher “surface acidities” than the standard.
Active mud can only sorb the portion of insecticide vapour from an evaporating deposit which happens to diffuse in its direction. This is to be expected, but the system has some peculiarities because the evaporation of γ BHC from filter papers over mud blocks is much faster than in the absence of the mud.
Measurements of the distribution of DDT and dieldrin in soils less active than the standard Uganda one showed that both the initial adsorption and subsequent diffusion were very much slower.
The activity of Uganda soil was not reduced by removal of material soluble in organic solvents, and was only partly reduced by complete extraction of iron compounds.
Variation in temperature over the range 20 to 30°C. had only small effects on the diffusion of DDT and dieldrin within mud blocks.
Repeated applications of DDT and dieldrin to the same blocks did not result in any observable slowing in the rate of disappearance. The concentration of insecticide in the successive layers of mud, did, of course, increase with successive sprayings.
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