What is Lindane and how is it used?
Lindane is a white crystalline organic solid. Most uses being restricted in 1983, lindane is
currently used primarily for treating wood-inhabiting beetles and seeds. It is also used as a
dip for fleas and lice on pets, and livestock, for soil treatment, on the foliage of fruit and nut trees,
vegetables, timber, ornamentals and for wood protection.
The list of trade names given below may help you find out whether you are using this chemical at
home or work.
Trade Names and Synonyms:
Why is Lindane being Regulated?
In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law requires EPA to determine safe
levels of chemicals in drinking water which do or may cause health problems. These
non-enforceable levels, based solely on possible health risks and exposure, are called Maximum
Contaminant Level Goals.
The MCLG for lindane has been set at 0.2 parts per billion (ppb) because EPA believes this level
of protection would not cause any of the potential health problems described below.
Based on this MCLG, EPA has set an enforceable standard called a Maximum Contaminant Level
(MCL). MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as possible, considering the ability of public water
systems to detect and remove contaminants using suitable treatment technologies.
The MCL has been set at 0.2 ppb because EPA believes, given present technology and resources,
this is the lowest level to which water systems can reasonably be required to remove this
contaminant should it occur in drinking water.
These drinking water standards and the regulations for ensuring these standards are met, are
called National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. All public water supplies must abide by
What are the Health Effects?
Short-term: EPA has found lindane to potentially cause the following health effects when people
are exposed to it at levels above the MCL for relatively short periods of time: high body
temperature and pulmonary edema.
Long-term: Lindane has the potential to cause the following effects from a lifetime exposure at
levels above the MCL: liver and kidney damage.
How much Lindane is produced and released to the environment?
Lindane enters surface water as a result of runoff from agricultural land and from home and
garden applications where it is used as an insecticide.
From 1987 to 1993, according to EPA's Toxics Release Inventory, lindane releases to land and
water totalled 1115 lbs.
What happens to Lindane when it is released to the environment?
When released to water, lindane is not broken down by microbes, but it is attacked by chemicals
in basic waters. It is degraded by soil microbes, and may evaporate from the surface, or slowly
leach to ground water. Lindane will accumulate slightly in fish and shellfish.
How will Lindane be Detected in and Removed from My Drinking Water?
The regulation for lindane became effective in 1992. Between 1993 and 1995, EPA required your
water supplier to collect water samples every 3 months for one year and analyze them to find out
if lindane is present above 0.02 ppb. If it is present above this level, the system must continue to
monitor this contaminant.
If contaminant levels are found to be consistently above the MCL, your water supplier must take
steps to reduce the amount of lindane so that it is consistently below that level. The following
treatment methods have been approved by EPA for removing lindane: Granular activated
How will I know if Lindane is in my drinking water?
If the levels of lindane exceed the MCL, 0.2 ppb, the system must notify the public via
newspapers, radio, TV and other means. Additional actions, such as providing alternative
drinking water supplies, may be required to prevent serious risks to public health.
Drinking Water Standards:
Mclg: 0.2 ppb
Mcl: 0.2 ppb