chemical information


Chemical Class:

Organochlorine Pesticide (OC)

Manufacturing/Use Status

banned for use/manufacture in the U.S.

Found in these people:

Monique Harden, Baby #10, Baby #3, Baby #2, Baby #5, Baby #8, Baby #6, Kathy Fowler, Baby #4, Baby #7, Baby #1, Anonymous Adult 1, U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter

Found in these locations:

New Orleans, LA; Rockville, MD; Upstate New York, NY


In humans, chlordane causes neurological effects (headache, dizziness, vision problems, incoordination, irritability, excitability, weakness, muscle twitching, convulsions, behavior effects); immune deficiency; cardiovascular effects (increased pulse); possibly increased risks of cerebrovascular disease, dermatitis, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia and jaundice; gastrointestinal effects (cramps, diarrhea, nausea); hematological/enzyme effects (increased triglycerides, lactate dehydrogenase and gamma-glutamyl transferase, possible anemia); enzyme changes suggestive of skeletal muscle damage; reproductive toxicity (infertility, cellular effects in male reproductive tract). Chronic exposure to chlordane (along with aldrin and heptachlor) via home termite treatment have been associated with unspecified ovarian and uterine disease (ATSDR 1994a).

In laboratory animals, chlordane causes liver toxicity (liver cancer, increased liver weight, cellular changes, altered enzyme levels); respiratory toxicity (lung congestion, cellular changes in the bronchi and alveoli, abnormal respiratory movements); kidney/renal toxicity (increased kidney weight, cellular effects on renal tubules); hematological effects (increased cholesterol, increased triglyceride; decreased blood glucose, increased protein, increased albumin, increased globulin, decreased platelet count); altered carbohydrate metabolism; cellular changes in thyroid follicular cells; increased thyroid weight; neurotoxicity (salivation, convulsions, hypersensitive to touch, brain congestion); immunotoxicity (increased leukocyte count, decreased thymus weight). Chlordane also causes toxicity to male reproductive organs (prostate and testes) and decreases fertility. Developmental effects include altered behavioral and immune response (ATSDR 1994a).


Organochlorine chemical, a class largely banned in the U.S. that builds up in the body over time, linked to cancer and reproductive harm.

gamma-Chlordane has been found in 16 of the 26 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies.

Top health concerns for gamma-Chlordane (References)

health concern or target organ weight of evidence
Reproduction and fertilityunknown

Results for gamma-Chlordane

in blood serum (lipid weight)

Showing results from EWG/Commonweal Study #1, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults, San Francisco Reporter, EWG/Commonweal Study #4, industrial chemicals and pesticides in cord blood, EWG Study #3, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0.119 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • found in 16 of 26 people in the group
ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum 1.28

gamma-Chlordane results

Detailed toxicity classifications (References)

classification governing entity/references
Reproductive effects - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedDamgaard, I. N., N. E. Skakkebaek, et al. (2006). Persistent pesticides in human breast milk and cryptorchidism. Environ Health Perspect 114(7): 1133-8.