photo courtesy NOAA
Drinking Water Standards: Mclg: 0.2 ppb Mcl: 0.2 ppb
Lindane products, such as shampoos and creams, are rinsed off after use into
the public sewers. Even after treatment, lindane persists and passes into
creeks, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Lindane is toxic in the water even in very
small amounts. In fact, a single treatment of head lice or scabies with
lindane pollutes 6 million gallons of water, the equivalent of 300 swimming
pools. Lindane lasts for a long time in the environment, where it can
contaminate the tissues of fish and other animals. The United States
Environmental Protection Agency has declared lindane to be a persistent,
bioaccumulative, and toxic chemical.
Ann Heil LACSD.
average cost to remove lindane from a single head lice or scabies treatment out
of wastewater at a treatment plant is estimated at $4000.
POLLUTANTS IN MOUNTAIN SNOW
Nowhere from deep oceans to the polar ice caps is free from
industrial pollution and chemical contamination. Now, add mountain peaks to the
In the first study of its kind, Canadian researchers found that
snow pack in some of the tallest and most remote mountains of Western Canada
contain unusually high amounts of industrial pollution, pesticides, and other
organochlorine compounds. It is unclear how much, if any, of these compounds
find their way into drinking water derived from snow runoff. The results from
this recent study are published in the October 8 issue of Nature.
Several of the compounds, namely lindane:
Lindane In Water
Persistent Organic Pollutants
Lindane in the North Sea
The Laws of Ecology: "All things are interconnected.
somewhere. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Nature bats last."
by Ernest Callenbach
Differential Toxicity and Environmental Fates of
Willett, K.L.; Ulrich, E.M.; Hites, R.A.
Environ. Sci. Technol. 1998, V32, pp 2197-2207
The differential environmental fates and toxicites of the various
hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) isomers including lindane and isomers in the
technical mixture will be the focus of this review. HCHs are one of the most
widely used and most readily detected organochlorine pesticides in environmental
samples. The relatively high volatility of HCH has led to global transport, even
into formerly pristine locations such as the Arctic. Certain HCHs cause central
nervous system, reproductive, and endocrine damage. Because gamma-HCH is rapidly
metabolized, the beta-HCH isomer is consistently found in higher concentrations
in human fat, blood, and breast milk. In contrast, alpha- and gamma-HCH are the
most prevalent isomers in soil, water, and air samples. The ratio of alpha- to
gamma- isomers can be used to track global transport of HCHs. A new area of HCH
research focuses on the selective degradation of the two alpha-HCH enantiomers
in various environmental matrices. These HCH issues and recommendations for
future HCH research are presented in this review.
Pollution rides into the Arctic on the winds. When
winter's bone-chilling polar air masses reach south into the U.S., Europe and
Asia, they do more than close schools and strand motorists. These weather fronts
also collect toxic air pollution from industrial and urban centers and then
transport these poisons north to the land of the great white bears. For example,
the amount of PCBs falling from the Arctic sky in snow, rain and dust are
comparable to amounts falling on the Great Lakes. The amount of the
chlorinated pesticide lindane dumped from the Arctic sky, however, is about 100
times higher than in the Great Lakes region. Reasons for this
surprising finding are unclear.
(Ottawa: November 24, 1999) World
Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF) today called on Health Minister Allan Rock to ban
lindane, a persistent pesticide known for its toxicity to wildlife and humans.
In support of its call, WWF submitted a comprehensive report, Lindane: A
Review of Toxicity and Environmental Fate, documenting lindane’s hazards
and presence in the environment, food, wildlife and human tissues. The report
highlights the particular vulnerability of the Arctic to lindane.
Given the strength of existing evidence about lindane’s risks, WWF also
urged Mr. Rock to quickly conclude the "Special Review" of the
pesticide which was initiated in December 1998. "There is no need for a
prolonged process to gather more data," Julia Langer, Director of WWF
Canada’s Wildlife Toxicology Program, said. "All the literature shows
that lindane is persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic. Every person, animal and
ecosystem, especially in the Arctic, contains lindane. This adds up to an
unacceptable risk. But we can bring these levels down by banning lindane."
Lindane: A Review of Toxicity and Environmental Fate, and a
backgrounder on lindane’s toxicity, alternatives and regulatory status are
available on request. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If pollutants have a fairly long atmospheric lifetime (> 2 days) because
of their physicochemical properties, they may be transported by air masses over
long distances. The annual time series of alpha-HCH and gamma-HCH and their
ratio (Figure 2) provides us with information about North American sources of
lindane measured in the atmosphere at Villeroy, since lindane does not have the
same profile as the alpha-HCH isomer. In addition, back-trajectories (925 mb) of
air masses (Figure 3) in the periods before, during and after the highest
measured ratio of gamma-HCH and alpha-HCH (on May 20, 1992) at Villeroy show
that the source of lindane is primarily local (along the St Lawrence River
valley), since these isomers had travelled relatively little in the five days
prior to the period of maximum concentration. The fact that the atmospheric
lifetime of lindane is about four days supports this result. Lindane measured in
the atmosphere may be related to agricultural activities, namely corn seeding.
DEA/Scientific Services, Quebec Region
Copyright © 1997-98, Environment Canada.
Lindane, the y-isomer of hexachlorocyclohexane, is a
colorless, crystalline solid which is soluble in water.
Lindane: Half Life
Soil - 330 - 5765 hrs based upon hydrolysis half-life
Groundwater 142 -5765 hrs based on hydrolysis half-life
Aerobic biodegradation (unacclimated)- 744 - 9912 hours based on aerobic
soil die-away study data
Anaerobic biodegradation (unacclimated) 142 - 734 hours based on anaerobic
flooded soil die-away study data
Soil - 1368 - 12720 hrs based upon aerobic soil die-away test
Groundwater 2736 - 25440 hrs based on estiamted unacclimated aqueous aerobic
Aerobic biodegradation (unacclimated)- 1368-12720 hours based on aerobic
soil die-away test 10-30oC
Anaerobic biodegradation (unacclimated) 5472-50880 hours based on estimated
unacclimated aqueous biodegradation half-life
Source: Howard et al (1991). Handbook of Environmental Degradation Rates
Environmental Fate Evaluation of DDT, Chlordane and Lindane
Effects Of Environmental Pollutants On North American Temperate Forests
Markers of Water Pollution
With specific reference to glutathione conjugation
web-based resource on contaminant analysis techniques, organochlorine
contaminant properties and sources, and the impact and extent of contamination
on Blue Whales in the St. Lawrence seaway, Metcalfe lab,
ERS Department at Trent University, Canada
Toxicology Data Sheet: LINDANE