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  • Aldrin and Dieldrin
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  • Aldrin and Dieldrin

    Effects on Humans
    Effects on the Aquatic Environment
    Monitoring Techniques and Standards
    Safety Cards


    Cancer Classification

    Toxic Effects

    Neurobehavioral Reproductive Others

    Group 3: Unclassifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans.



    acute exposure:

    • Neurological symptoms such as severe seizures.

    Chronic exposure:

    • Headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, anorexia, muscle twitching, myoclonyc jerking, abnormal electroencephalogram (EEG) reading.
    • Psychological illness.
    • Suspect of peripheral neuropathy.
    • Parkinson's disease. (WFPHA, 2000)


    • estrogenic properties.

    Hamsters and mice:

    single dose in mid-gestation:

    • physical deformities in the foetus, foot webbing, cleft palate, and open eye. (WFPHA, 2000)


    acute exposure:

    • renal damage.


    chronic exposure:

    • increase in liver weight, hepatocyte enlargement, increase in cellular smooth endoplasmic reticulum, microsomal enzyme levels and activity, increase in vacuolisation. (WFPHA, 2000)

    *IARC: International Agency for Research on Cancer

    Aldrin and dieldrin are common names for two closely related chemicals that have been widely used for controlling soil insects and certain insect vectors of disease. Aldrin, which readily breaks down to dieldrin in living systems, is used to control soil pests (namely termites) on corn and potato crops. Dieldrin is also an insecticide used on fruit, soil and seed, and has been used to control tsetse flies and other vectors of tropical diseases. Because the chemicals are intended for use on insects in soil. Aldrin and dieldrin readily bind to sediment and are rarely leached to groundwater. Dieldrin, for example, persists in soils with a half-life of five years (WFPHA, 2000) at temperate latitudes, while it disappeared up to 90% in one month in tropical areas. (WHO, 1989). Both may be volatilised from sediment and redistributed by air currents, contaminating areas far from their sources. (WFPHA, World Federation of Public Health Associations, 2000). Another route of transfer appears to be surface run off. (WHO, 1989).

    Aldrin and dieldrin have been banned in most developed countries but, aldrin is still used as termiticide in some others. However, aldrin and dieldrin have also been identified in organisms in Arctic waters and in sediments in the Great Lakes basin, suggesting long range transport from southern agricultural regions. (WFPHA, 2000).

    In a study of breast-fed infants in Australia, 88 percent of the offspring were found to exceed the World Health Organization's Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) allowance (0.0001 mg/kg bw combined total aldrin+dieldrin, 1994). Dieldrin has been isolated in the amniotic fluid in tissues of developing human foetuses, confirming its capacity for placental transfer. The half-life of the residues in humans is approximately nine to twelve months, and the rates of excretion of dieldrin are roughly equal to the average daily intake for most people. (WFPHA, 2000).

    Effects on Humans

    Acute exposure in humans causes adverse effects, between these, are headache, irritability, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle twitching, convulsions, loss of consciousness, and possible death. These conditions may persist for a few weeks following exposure, but have not been shown to be permanent. The lethal dose of aldrin for an adult male is estimated to about 5 grams. Dieldrin is 40 to 50 times more toxic than DDT. (WFPHA, 2000).

    Effects on the Aquatic Environment

    Aldrin and dieldrin produce adverse enzymatic and hormonal change in fish that lead to impaired reproductive ability. Aldrin bioconcentrates in molluscs and fish, and high levels of dieldrin have been found concentrated in fish, sculpins, snails, and lake trout. (WFPHA, 2000).
    The table below shows some bioaccumulation factors for dieldrin (EHC 91, WHO, 1989).

    Concentration in Water (micrograms/litre)
    Duration of Exposure
    Bioaccumulation Factor

    (Poecilia reticulata)
    0.8, 2.3 or 4.2 32 days whole fish: 12 500

    (Cottus perplexus)

    0.017, 0.17, or 0.86 32 days whole fish: 13300
    (Scenedesmus obliquus)
    1, 5, or 20 14 days 1300 (based on dry weight of alga)
    Water flea
    (Daphnia magna)
    2.1, 4.5, or 12.8 6 days 14 000 (dry weight)
    Common frog
    (Rana temporaria)
    0.8 2 days whole body: 387.5

    Monitoring Techniques and Standards

    The HSDB, Hazardous Substances Data Bank: type Aldrin and Dieldrin

    This site reports a full list of information on the substance as: Human Health Effects, Animal Toxicity Studies, Environmental Fate & Exposure, Environmental Standards & Regulations, Chemical/Physical Properties, Chemical Safety & Handling, Occupational Exposure Standards, Laboratory Methods, Synonyms and Identifiers.

    Toxicology report with toxicity data from the Vermont Safety Information Resources, Inc.

    This site provides a list or toxicity tests results, references for toxicity literature reviews, USA standards and regulations, occupational exposure limits in different states all over the world, and reference to NIHOSH, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, analytical standard methods.

    Safety Cards

    ICSC, International Chemical Safety Cards European Union version

    The International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS) access to International Chemical Safety Cards: two pages data sheets on pure substances from the ILO/WHO/UNEP International Program on Chemical Safety (IPCS).

    ICSC, International Chemical Safety Cards U.S. National version

    The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) access to
    International Chemical Safety Cards.

    Aldrin and Dieldrin profile of The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    FAQ on Aldrin and Dieldrin by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Also available the chemical stereo structure.
    Aldrin and Dieldrin profiles of Scorecard. This service provides detailed information on chemicals, including all the chemicals used in large amounts in the United States and all the chemicals regulated under major environmental laws.
    Toxicology data network find out more profiles and specialised literature in this site linked to more than ten hazardous chemical databases.
    Aldrin and Dieldrin IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Summary Evaluation.
    Industrial Sectors

    Find out industrial sectors of interests for Aldrin in USA. Scorecard delivers accurate information on the toxic chemicals released by manufacturing facilities and the health risks of air pollution. It can rank and compare the pollution situation in areas across the US.

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