Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
What is Chlordane?
Chlordane was used in the United States from 1948 to 1978 as a pesticide on agricultural crops, lawns, and gardens and as a fumigating agent. In 1978, EPA canceled the use of chlordane on food crops and phased out other above-ground uses for the next 5 years. From 1983 to 1988, chlordane's only approved use was to control termites in homes. The pesticide was applied underground around the foundation of homes. In 1988, all approved uses of chlordane in the United States were terminated; however, manufacture for export still continues. Chlordane is a persistent, bioacculumative, and toxic (PBT) pollutant targeted by EPA.
Why Are We Concerned About Chlordane?
Everyone in the United States has been exposed to low levels of chlordane due to its wide spread use. Because chlordane is bioaccumulative, it builds up in our food chain and becomes more concentrated as it moves up our food chain to humans and other wildlife. Fish consumption advisories for some species are in effect for chlordane in the Great Lakes ecosystem. Chlordane remains in our food supply because it was commonly used on crops in the 1960's and 1970's.
What harmful effects can Chlordane have on us?
- Likely causes cancer and may cause liver cancer
- Can cause behavioral disorders in children if they were exposed before birth or while nursing
- Harms the endocrine system, nervous system, digestive system, and liver
How are we exposed to Chlordane?
- Infants may be exposed through breast milk
- By eating contaminated fish and shellfish
- Unborn children exposed through the mother's blood stream
- Highest exposure from living in homes that were treated with chlordane for termites
Where can Chlordane be found?
- Fire ant control in power transformers
Potential Sources to our Environment:
- Found in particles in the water column
- Other treated soils
- Soil surrounding wooden structures controlled for termites
- Water sediments
- Transport by atmosphere from other regions; deposited in rain, snow, dust