Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
What is Dieldrin?
Dieldrin is an insecticide and a by-product of the pesticide Aldrin. From 1950 to 1974, dieldrin was widely used to control insects on cotton, corn and citrus crops. Also, dieldrin was used to control locusts and mosquitoes, as a wood preserve, and for termite control. Usually seen as a white or tan powder, most uses of dieldrin were banned in 1987, however, dieldrin is no longer produced in the United States due to its harmful effects on humans, fish, and wildlife. Dieldrin is a persistent, bioacculumative, and toxic (PBT) pollutant targeted by EPA.
Why Are We Concerned About Dieldrin?
Because dieldrin is bioaccumulative, it does not break down easily in our environment and becomes more concentrated as it moves up the food chain to humans and other wildlife.
What Harmful Effects can Dieldrin Have On Us?
- Decreases the effectiveness of our immune system
- May increase infant mortality
- Reduces reproductive success
- May cause cancer
- May cause birth defects
- Damages the kidneys
How are we exposed to Dieldrin?
- By eating contaminated fish and shellfish
- Infants are exposed from breast milk
Where can Dieldrin be found?
All uses of dieldrin were banned in the United State in 1985 except for subsurface termite control, dipping of nonfood roots and tops, and moth-proofing in a closed manufacturing process. Dieldrin is still found in our environment from past uses.
No current uses in the United States
Potential Sources to our Environment:
- Soil surrounding wooden structures treated for termites
- Soil or sediment
- Improper use or disposal
- Contaminated fish and shellfish
- Contaminated dairy products and meat