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National Drinking Water Database
Lindane in California
Lindane is an insecticide still used in shampoo to control lice and scabies; it is a form of hexachlorocyclohexane, a highly toxic pesticide phased out of agricultural use in the U.S. [read more]
Lindane is an organochlorine insecticide used since the 1940s. In the past, lindane was used residentially (dog dips, household sprays, shelf paper) and on a wide variety of fruit and vegetable crops, tobacco and ornamentals. Now it is used as a seed treatment for barley, corn, oats, rye, sorghum, wheat and in pharmaceuticals to treat lice and scabies.
As a class, organochlorine pesticides like lindane are toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative, and lipophilic ("fat-loving"). Due to these properties, organochlorine pesticides build up and are stored in fatty tissues and fluids, such as breast milk, and can be passed on to fetuses and infants during pregnancy and lactation. Organochlorine pesticides cause significant neurotoxicity in laboratory animals and humans, which is not surprising since they were designed to attack the nervous system of insects. In addition, many organochlorine pesticides disrupt the hormone and immune systems (Seth 2005; Tiemann 2008; Colt 2009).
According to the EPA Consumer Factsheet on lindane, short-term exposures in drinking water at levels above the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 0.2 parts per billion (ppb) can cause fever and swelling in the lungs. Longer-term exposure can cause liver and kidney damage (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) 2004b).
Lindane causes toxicity to many organ systems in laboratory animals, with effects including nervous system deficits (altered motor activity, drowsiness, tremors, convulsions); thyroid and pituitary tumors; liver toxicity and kidney toxicity (California Department of Pesticide Regulation 1998). The National Toxicology Program (NTP) classifies lindane as "reasonably anticipated" to be a human carcinogen because it causes liver tumors in both mice and rats and thyroid tumors in rats.
In humans, lindane exposures have been linked to nausea, dizziness, restlessness, headaches, vomiting, abdominal cramps, convulsions, seizures, liver toxicity, and death at the highest exposure levels (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) 1992c, 2005b).
Based on information for the period 1996 to 2001, up to 233,000 pounds of lindane are used annually (USEPA 1999). According to the 2004 Toxics Release Inventory, out of 673 pounds of lindane released in 2002, 670 pounds originated with the solvent recovery industry. The state of Oregon experienced the highest release levels (117 pounds), followed by Illinois with 100 pounds.
The Most Polluted Communities in California
3 water utilities reported detecting Lindane in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies
Ranked by highest average Lindane level
|Rank||System||Population Served||Positive test results of total reported tests||Average Level|
|1||Lost Hills Utility District|
Lost Hills, CA
|2,772||1 of 2||0.06 ppb|
(0 to 0.11 ppb)
|2||City of Tehachapi|
|6,650||1 of 4||0.03 ppb|
(0 to 0.1 ppb)
|3||Golden Hills Csd|
|7,434||1 of 5||0.01 ppb|
(0 to 0.06 ppb)
Health Based Limits for Lindane
|California Public Health Goals||Defined by the State of California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) as the level of contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. For acutely toxic substances, levels are set at which scientific evidence indicates that no known or anticipated adverse effects on health will occur, plus an adequate margin-of safety. PHGs for carcinogens or other substances which can cause chronic disease shall be based solely on health effects without regard to cost impacts and shall be set at levels which OEHHA has determined do not pose any significant risk to health.||0.03 ppb|
|Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL)||The enforceable standard which defines the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to health-based limits (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals, or MCLGs) as feasible using the best available analytical and treatment technologies and taking cost into consideration. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||0.2 ppb|
|Maximum Contaminant Limit Goal (MCLG)||A non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||0.2 ppb|
|EPA Human Health Water Quality Criteria||Water quality criteria set by the US EPA provide guidance for states and tribes authorized to establish water quality standards under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to protect human health. These are non-enforceable standards based upon exposure by both drinking water and the contribution of water contamination to other consumed foods. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||0.98 ppb|
|Drinking Water Equivalent Level||A lifetime exposure concentration protective of adverse, noncarcinogenic health effects, that assumes all of the exposure to a contaminant is from drinking water. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||200 ppb|
|Children's health-based limit for 1-day exposure||Concentration of a chemical in drinking water that is not expected to cause any adverse, noncarcinogenic health effects for up to one day of exposure. The One-Day health-based limit (or Health Advisory, HA) is typically set to protect a 10-kg child consuming 1 liter of water per day. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||1000 ppb|
|Children's health-based limit for 10-day exposure||Concentration of a chemical in drinking water that is not expected to cause any adverse, noncarcinogenic effects for up to ten days of exposure. The Ten-Day health-based limit (or Health Advisory, HA) is typically set to protect a 10-kg child consuming 1 liter of water per day. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||1000 ppb|
Violation Summary for Lindane in California
Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in California since 2004
|Violation Type||Number of Violations|
|Failure to monitor regularly||2|