Synonyms and Trade Names (partial list): Aspon, Belt, Chloriandin, Chlorkil, Chlordane, Corodan, Cortilan-neu, Dowchlor, HCS 3260, Kypchlor, M140, Niran, Octachlor, Octaterr, Ortho-Klor, Synklor, Tat chlor 4, Topichlor, Toxichlor, Veliscol-1068
Appearance: Colourless to yellowish-brown viscous liquid with an aromatic, pungent odour similar to chlorine


Chlordane is a broad spectrum contact insecticide that has been used on agricultural crops including vegetables, small grains, maize, other oilseeds, potatoes, sugarcane, sugar beets, fruits, nuts, cotton, and jute. It has also been used extensively in the control of termites. Chlordane is highly insoluble in water, and is soluble in organic solvents. It is semi-volatile and can be expected to partition into the atmosphere as a result. It binds readily to aquatic sediments and bioconcentrates in the fat of organisms as a result of its high partition coefficient (log KOW = 6.00).

Action to ban the use of Chlordane has been taken in Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa, Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, EU, Kenya, Korea, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Mozambique, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Santa Lucia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tonga, Turkey, United Kingdom, Yemen, and Yugoslavia. Its use is severely restricted or limited to non-agricultural uses in Argentina, Belize, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Dominica, Egypt, Honduras, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, USA, and Venezuela.

Use in South East Asia


Used or Found in Country?

Years of Usage

Regulatory Controls



1950-92 – present?




Present (market)





Banned in 1998




Banned in 2000



Banned in 1992




Viet Nam


Banned in


(table references)

Potential Effects on Humans

Early studies on occupational exposure found no toxic effects in workers involved in the production of Chlordane with up to 15 years of exposure. In a survey of 1105 workers associated with pest control, most of whom used Chlordane, however, only three attributed illness to it (mild dizziness, headache, weakness). Chlordane exposure has not been associated with increased risk of mortality from cancer. Significant changes in the immune system were reported in individuals who complained of health effects which they associated with Chlordane exposure.

Potential Effects on Plants and Animals

Acute oral toxicity for Chlordane in laboratory animals ranges from 83 mg/kg for pure cis-Chlordane in rats to 1720 mg/kg for hamsters. Subchronic (90 day) inhalation exposure in rats and monkeys at doses up to 10 mg/m3 resulted in increases in the concentration of cytochrome P-450 and microsomal protein in rats. The results of this study provide a no-effect level in the rat of approximately 0.1 mg/m3 and in excess of 10 mg/m3 in the monkey.

Mice were fed diets containing Chlordane for 6 generations. At 100 mg/kg, viability was decreased in the first and second generation, and no offspring were produced in the third generation. At 50 mg/kg, viability was decreased in the third and fourth generation, and at 25 mg/kg no statistically significant effects were observed after 6 generations. Offspring of rabbits administered Chlordane orally on the 5th - 18th days of gestation did not exhibit changes in behaviour, appearance or body weight were observed, and no teratogenic effects were reported. IARC has concluded that, while there is inadequate evidence for the carcinogenicity of Chlordane in humans, there is sufficient evidence in experimental animals. IARC has classified chlordane as a possible human carcinogen (Group 2B).

The acute toxicity of Chlordane to aquatic organisms is quite variable, with 96-hour LC50 values as low as 0.4 µg/L for pink shrimp. The acute oral LD50 to 4-5 month old mallard ducklings was 1200 mg/kg body weight. The LC50 for bobwhite qualified chlordane in their diet for 10 weeks was 10 mg/kg diet.


The half-life of Chlordane in soil has been reported to be approximately one year. This persistence, combined with a high partition coefficient, provides the necessary conditions for Chlordane to bioconcentrate in organisms. Bioconcentration factors of 37,800 for fathead minnows and 16,000 for sheepshead minnow have been reported. Data suggest that Chlordane is bioconcentrated (taken up directly from the water) as opposed to being bioaccumulated (taken up by water and in food). The chemical properties of Chlordane (low water solubility, high stability, and semi-volatility) favour its long range transport, and Chlordane has been detected in Arctic air, water and organisms.

Accumulation Studies

Chlordane exposure may occur through food but, due to its highly restricted uses, this route does not appear to be a major pathway of exposure.

  • In Egyptian fish, the isomer gamma-chlordane was detected in only 2 (8.00 and 36.17 µg/kg wet weight) of 92 samples
  • In food products imported into Hawaii from western Pacific Rim countries,  isomer gamma-chlordane was detected in 2 of 9 samples (2.70 and 0.48 ppb).
  • In Japan and the USA Chlordane has been detected in indoor air of residences.
  • Exposure to Chlordane in the air may be an important source of exposure to the US population.
  • In New Jersey USA, mean levels from 0.14 to 0.22 µg/m3 were detected in the living areas of 12 homes in New Jersey prior to and after treatment for termites. Mean levels in non-living areas (crawl spaces and unfinished basements) were higher; 0.97 µg/m3 before treatment and 0.91 µg/m3 after treatment. Levels detected in New Jersey homes before and after regulations restricting Chlordane use fell from 2.6 to 0.9 µg/m3.

Further information:



Adapted from Persistent Organic Pollutants: Information on POPs, their alternatives and alternative approaches (United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) 1995).

Chlordane container
Source: FAO
Hatfield Consultants The World Bank funded by the Canadian POPs Trust Fund through the      
Canadian International Development Agency
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