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Lindane

General Description

  • Synonyms: BHC; Benzene hexachloride; HCH; gamma-Hexachlorocyclohexane; gamma isomer of 1,2,3,4,5,6-Hexachlorocyclohexane; gamma BHC; Isotox
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1995
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 58-89-9
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: GV4900000
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 2761 151
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Lindane: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

  • OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
  • American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 0.5 mg/m3 TWA; Skin; Appendix A3 - Confirmed Animal Carcinogen with Unknown Relevance to Humans
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 0.5 mg/m3, 0.04 ppm TWA; Skin

Health Factors

  • Carcinogenic Classification:
  • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 50 mg/m3
  • Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, nose, throat; headache; nausea; clonic convulsions; respiratory difficulty; cyanosis, aplastic anemia; muscle spasms; in animals: liver, kidney damage; Ingestion Acute: Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Health Effects: Cumulative CNS effects (HE7); Cumulative liver damage (HE3); Mutagen/Suspect Carcinogen (HE2)
  • Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, CNS, blood, liver, kidneys
  • Notes:
    1. The U.S. EPA issued final orders cancelling the registrations of all remaining pesticide products containing lindane on December 13, 2006. The last use date for these products will be October 1, 2009.
    2. EPA’s oral reference dose (daily oral exposure likely to be without an appreciable risk of noncancer effects during a lifetime) for lindane is 0.0003 mg/kg/day.
    3. Hundreds of accidental intoxications of lindane have occurred by ingestion of topical preparations for the treatment of pedulicosis and scabies.
    4. Lindane can be absorbed through the skin and excreted in the urine as trichlorophenol glucuronide metabolites.
    5. More than 20 urinary metabolites were found among a group of 21 lindane-production employees, the most abundant being conjugates of 2,4-dichlorophenol, 2,4,6-, 2,3,5- and 2,4,5-trichlorophenol.
    6. The mean half-life for urinary excretion of radioactivity from 14C-labeled lindane administered intravenously to 6 volunteers was reported to be 26 hours.
    7. Exposure to lindane is among the three insecticide exposures reported to be positively associated with farmer’s lung (hypersensitivity pneumonitis).
    8. Epidemiological studies in the US and Iceland reported an exposure-related increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
    9. Substantia nigra tissues from brains of parkinsonism patients were reported to contain significantly greater amounts of lindane than those from patients with cortical Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or patients without dementia or parkinsonism (controls).
  • Date Last Revised: 04/11/2007
  • Literature Basis
    • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Lindane.
    • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Lindane.
    • EPA Air Toxics Website: Lindane (Gamma-Hexachlorocyclohexane). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Technology Transfer Network.
    • Angerer, J., Maass, R. and Heinrich, R.: Occupational exposure to hexachlorocyclohexane. VI. Metabolism of γ-hexachlorocyclohexane in man. Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health 52(1): 59-67, 1983.
    • Blair, A., Cantor, K.P. and Zahm, S.H.: Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and agricultural use of the insecticide lindane. Am. J. Ind. Med. 33(1): 82-87, 1998.
    • Corrigan, F.M., Weinburg, C.L., Shore, R.F., Daniel, S.E. and Mann, D.: Organochlorine insecticides in substantia nigra in Parkinson’s disease. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health 59(4): 229-234.
    • Dick, A.P., Blain, P.G. and Williams, F.M.: The percutaneous absorption and skin distribution of lindane in man. I. In vivo studies. Hum. Exp. Toxicol. 16(11): 645-651, 1997.
    • Drummond, L., Gillanders, E.M. and Wilson, H.K.: Plasma ?-hexachlorocyclohexane concentrations in forestry workers exposed to lindane. Br. J. Ind. Med. 45(7): 493-497, 1988.
    • Feldmann, R.J. and Maibach, H.I.: Percutaneous penetration of some pesticides and herbicides in man. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 28: 126-132, 1974.
    • Hoppin, J.A., et al.: Pesticides and other agricultural factors associated with self-reported farmer’s lung among farm residents in the Agricultural Health Study. Occup. Environ. Med. 64: 334-341, 2007.
    • No Authors: Lindane (PDF). Report on Carcinogens (latest edition); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program.
    • No Authors: Pesticide News Story: Remaining Lindane Registrations Cancelled.
    • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Lindane. In, Sittig’s Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1406-1409.
    • Purdue, M.P., Hoppin, J.A., Blair, A., Dosemeci, M. and Alavanja, M.C.: Occupational exposure to organochlorine insecticides and cancer incidence in the Agricultural Health Study. Int. J. Cancer 120(3): 642-649, 2007.
    • Sievert, J., et al.: Unintentional topical lindane ingestions—United States, 1998-2003. MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly Rep. 54(21): 533-535, 2005.

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • Glass Fiber Filter (37 mm) in series with Midget Impinger containing 10 mL Ethylene Glycol
  • maximum volume: 240 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 1.0 L/min
  • current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/ECD
  • method reference: OSHA Modified NIOSH Analytical Method (NIOSH 5502 (PDF))
  • method classification: Partially Validated
  • note: Use filter and no backup pad. NIOSH method uses isooctane, OSHA modification uses ethylene glycol in bubbler.
Bulk Method:
  • Limit the amount of bulk submitted to one gram or one mL.

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