Problem: DDT (molar mass = 354.49 g/mol) was a widely used insecticide that was banned from use in the United States in 1973. This ban was brought about due to the persistence of DDT in many different ecosystems, leading to high accumulations of the substance in many birds of prey. The insecticide was shown to cause a thinning of egg shells, pushing many birds toward extinction. If a 20-L drum of DDT was spilled into a pond, resulting in a DDT concentration of 8.75 x 10-5 M, how long would it take for the levels of DDT to reach a concentration of 1.41 x 10-7 M (a level that is generally assumed safe in mammals)? Assume the decomposition of DDT is a first-order process with a half-life of 56.0 days.

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We’re being asked to determine the time it would take for the 99% of the protein sample to decompose.

The integrated rate law for a first-order reaction is as follows:

ln [A]t=-kt+ln [A]0

where:

[A]t = concentration at time t 
k = rate constant
t = time
[A]0 = initial concentration


t12=ln 2k56 days=ln 2kk=ln 256 days

k  = 0.01237 days-1



Solving for time t:

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Problem Details

DDT (molar mass = 354.49 g/mol) was a widely used insecticide that was banned from use in the United States in 1973. This ban was brought about due to the persistence of DDT in many different ecosystems, leading to high accumulations of the substance in many birds of prey. The insecticide was shown to cause a thinning of egg shells, pushing many birds toward extinction. If a 20-L drum of DDT was spilled into a pond, resulting in a DDT concentration of 8.75 x 10-5 M, how long would it take for the levels of DDT to reach a concentration of 1.41 x 10-7 M (a level that is generally assumed safe in mammals)? Assume the decomposition of DDT is a first-order process with a half-life of 56.0 days.

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Our data indicates that this problem or a close variation was asked in Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach - Zumdahl Atoms 1st 2nd Edition. You can also practice Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach - Zumdahl Atoms 1st 2nd Edition practice problems.