Chlordane

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Chlordane
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IUPAC name Octachloro-4,7-methanohydroindane
Other names Chlordane
Molecular formula C10H6Cl8
Molar mass 409.76
CAS number 57-74-9
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

Chlordane is a manufactured chemical that was used as a pesticide in the United States from 1948 to 1988. It does not occur naturally in the environment. It was sold by Chevron as a white powdery dust in combination with an emulsifier. When mixed with water, as a result of the emulsifier, it becomes a colorless to amber, thick liquid. Until 1983, chlordane was used as a pesticide on crops like corn and citrus and on home lawns and gardens. Chevron specifically marketed it as an ant killer.

Because of concern about damage to the environment and harm to human health, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all uses of chlordane in 1983 except to control termites. In 1988, the EPA banned all uses of chlordane. The EPA recommends that a child should not drink water with more than 60 parts of chlordane per billion parts of drinking water (60 ppb) for longer than 1 day. EPA has set a limit in drinking water of 2 ppb.

Chlordane sticks strongly to soil particles at the surface and is not likely to enter groundwater and so as a result it can stay in the soil for over 20 years and breaks down very slowly. Chlordane does not dissolve easily in water.

It affects animal species because it builds up in the tissues of fish, birds, and mammals.

Chlordane affects the nervous system, the digestive system, and the liver in people and animals. Headaches, irritability, confusion, weakness, vision problems, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and jaundice have occurred in people who breathed air containing high concentrations of chlordane or accidentally swallowed small amounts of chlordane. Large amounts of chlordane taken by mouth can cause convulsions and death in people. Recent human studies have linked chlordane exposure with prostate and breast cancers.


According to the ATSDR, a man who had long-term skin contact with soil containing high levels of chlordane had convulsions. Japanese workers who used chlordane over a long period of time had minor changes in liver function.[1]

Animals given high levels of chlordane by mouth for short periods died or had convulsions. Long-term exposure caused harmful effects in the liver of test animals.

It is not known if chlordane affects human fertility or whether it causes birth defects. Animals exposed before birth or while nursing developed behavioral effects later.

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