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Facts About Chlordane


Chlordane is a manufactured chemical that is used as a pesticide. It has been sold under the trade names, Octachlor® and Velsicol 1068®. It is a thick liquid, ranging in color from almost clear to amber. Chlordane was used on agricultural crops, lawns, gardens, and around foundations of homes. Chlordane is an organochlorine, which targets the central nervous system. The use of chlordane was banned in the United States in 1988.


The use of chlordane in the U.S. was banned for several reasons: It is a probable human carcinogen, It persists in the environment for a long time (it is known to remain in some soils for over twenty years), It accumulates in humans, fish, birds, and animals and can cause a range of health problems, and in extreme cases, death. MWRA recently found that chlordane levels in mussels tested near the bay outfall site exceeded limits in MWRA's Contingency Plan (see Notice of Exceedance).


Even though chlordane is banned in the U.S. many people still have some in their garages or basements. People may be storing chlordane because they don't know how to get rid of it or they may still use it around their foundations to get rid of termites. If you have chlordane please do not use it or pour it down the drain. It is long-lived and may travel long distances from where it is applied or disposed of and contaminate waterways and harm wildlife. Also, there is data that shows that when chlordane is used around foundations to control termites, the chlordane migrates from soil under slab construction houses into the air ducts in the home that are used to send heat or air through homes.

If you have chlordane, the only way to get rid of it safely is to take it to a household hazardous waste collection. Many towns have their own collections or participate in regional collections with other municipalities. To find out whether there is a collection site available to you, please call your city or town or the DEP household hazardous waste hotline (1-800-343-3420).


Public Health Statement for Chlordane, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1994. Available @ ; Internet; accessed 24 April, 2002.

Chlordane Fact Sheet, TOXNET (Toxicology Data Network); Hazardous Substances Data Bank. Available @; Internet; accessed 24 April, 2002.