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                                          ET L'AGRICULTURE

                                          ORIGINAL: ENGLISH


   June 1975


         It must be noted that the issue of a Data Sheet for a
    particular pesticide does not imply endorsement of the pesticide by
    WHO or FAO for any particular use, or exclude its use for other
    purposes not stated. While the information provided is believed to
    be accurate according to data available at the time when the sheet
    was compiled, neither WHO nor FAO are responsible for any errors or
    omissions, or any consequences therefrom.

    The issue of this document does    Ce document ne constitue pas une
    not constitute formal              publication. Il ne doit faire
    publication. It should not be      l'objet d'aucun compte rendu ou
    reviewed, abstracted or quoted     résumé ni d'aucune citation sans
    without the agreement of the       l'autorisation de l'Organisation
    Food and Agriculture               des Nations Unies pour
    Organization of the United         l'Alimentation et l'Agriculture
    Nations or of the World Health     ou de l'Organisation Mondiale de
    Organization.                      la Santé.


    Part 1 - General information       


           Primary use:  insecticide
           Secondary uses: acaricide, rodenticide, vermifuge
           Chemical group: organochlorine compound
           Data sheet No. 12
           Date issued: June 1975

    1.1   COMMON NAME:  lindane (ISO)

          Identity: Product containing not less than 99% of the gamma
          isomer of -1,2,3,4,5,6-hexachlorocyclohexane.

                            Structural Formula

          Synonyms:                         Local synonyms:

          gamma-BHC (refers to 100% pure gamma isomer)

          gamma-HCH (refers to 100% pure gamma isomer)

          OMS 17

    1.2   SYNOPSIS: An organochlorine pesticide of moderate mammalian
    toxicity which is degraded slowly in the environment and can accumulate
    in mammalian tissues.


    1.3.1 Physical characteristics

    When pure a colourless crystalline solid m.p. 112.9°C. Lindane is
    required to contain not less than 99% of the <F;S>g<F;> isomer and have
    a minimum m.p. of 112°.

    1.3.2 Solubility

    Water at 20°C very slightly soluble, 10 ppm.  Moderately soluble in
    absolute alcohol, 6.7%; slightly soluble in petroleum oils, soluble in
    acetone, aromatic and chlorinated solvents.

    1.3.3 Stability

    Stable to air, light, heat and carbon dioxide: not attacked by strong
    acids but in the presence of alkali it is dehydrochlorinated to
    trichlorobenzene. Corrosive to aluminium.

    1.3.4 Vapour pressure

    Low:  9.4 x 10-6 mm Hg at 20°C.  It is volatile enough for use in
    heated dispensers.


    1.4.1 Common formulations

    There are wettable powders of all concentrations, emulsifiable
    concentrates up to 20%, suspensions, solutions in organic solvents up
    to 507., dusts between 0.5 and 3%, granules between 3 and 4%, baits,
    preparation for fumigation and aerosol.  One hundred per cent. crystals
    are also available.  Often used with other insecticides, and with
    fungicides in seed dressings.  There are FAO specifications for dusts,
    wettable powders, emulsifiable concentrates and emulsions, solutions,
    and for various mixtures.

    1.4.2 Susceptible pests

    Effective as contact and stomach poison with some fumigant action
    against most insects and mites.  Has been particularly effective
    against biting flies, lice, fleas, ticks and sites attacking livestock.

    1.4.3 Use pattern

    Originally used widely as pre-harvest treatment an fruits, vegetables
    and other edible craps.  Uses an stone, pome, citrus and berry fruits
    have almost ceased, and other foliage applications have largely stopped
    in Europe and North America but continue elsewhere. Used on forage
    crops and cereals by application to plants or soil and as a seed
    dressing, alone or in combination with fungicides.  Soil uses require
    long post-treatment intervals (e.g. one to three years) before planting
    edible crops.  Aerosols, smokes and vapours sometimes used on
    vegetables and fruit crops in glasshouses.

    Extensively used for ectoparasite control on livestock, but not so
    widely used for post-harvest protection of cereals, pulses and nuts and
    for treating food storage and agricultural premises (not milk rooms)
    and holds of ships.

    1.4.4 Unintended effects

    Produces taint in some crops, but less than that caused by mixed
    isomers of BHC.  Not generally phytotoxic unless used excessively, but
    injury to potatoes and walnuts has been reported.  Can also damage
    leek, lettuce, onion and radish seeds, and other seeds if moisture
    content is high.  More toxic to young than adult animals: should not be
    used an animals leas than three months old.  One year after
    application, about 60% of lindane applied to the soil can be removed.


    Has been extensively used as residual spray against the mosquito vector
    of malaria and triatomid vectors of Chagas' disease.  Applied as
    residual spray in the form of water dispersable powder at target doses
    of 0.5 g a.i.m2.

    1.6    HOUSEHOLD USE

    Limited household use, usually as aerosol combined with pyrethrins.
    Used in home gardens.


    Part 2 - Toxicology and risks         

              Common name:  lindane
              Data sheet No. 12
              Date issued:  June 1975


    2.1.1 Absorption route: readily absorbed from gastrointestinal tract.
    Dermal absorption is less important.

    2.1.2 Mode of action: central nervous system stimulant producing

    2.1.3 Excretion products: once absorbed, lindane is distributed to
    various tissues or organs accumulating above all in the  fat depots.
    The compound is eliminated only in small amounts in the urine and
    faeces and is found in the milk.  The main part is excreted in the
    urine after metabolization into  dechlorinated compounds and various
    trichlorophenols and conjugates.

    2.1.4 Toxicity, single dose

          Oral: LD50  rat  88-225  mg/kg

          Dermal: LD50 rat (M) 1000 mg/kg
                       rat (F)  900 mg/kg

          Dermal: LD50 rabbit 900-1000 mg/kg

          Most susceptible species

          Cattle: Minimum toxic dose 25 mg/kg; for calf 5 mg/kg.  Young
          animals are more sensitive than adults.

    2.1.5 Toxicity, repeated doses

    Oral: daily administration of 32 mg/kg of lindane to rats for six
    months produced nervous signs (trembling, spasms) fatty degeneration of
    the liver and of the epithelium of the renal tubules, vacuolization of
    the cerebral cells and a marked increase in the mortality rate.  At a
    daily dose of 10 mg/kg for 17 months there were no abnormalities.

    Dermal: rabbits have withstood 10 but not 25 mg/kg/day by cutaneous
    application.  Details are not available.

    Inhalation:  no information.

    Cumulation of compound: lindane accumulates in all tissues and organs
    especially in the rat depots but to a lesser extent than some other
    isomers of BHC.

    Cumulation of effect: the toxic effect of lindane is increased by
    repeated doses because of the cumulation of the compound in the body.

    2.1.6 Dietary studies

    Short-term: dogs were fed dietary levels of 0, 25, 50, 100 or 200 ppm
    (0, 0.625, 1.25, 2 5 or 5.0 mg/kg/day) for seven weeks.  There was
    reduced weight gain at 100 and 200 ppm (1.5 and 5.0 mg/kg/day) and
    liver-weight increase at 200 ppm (5.0 mg/kg/day).  There were no other
    effects.  Dose independent convulsive episodes were seen in a separate
    study at 25 ppm (0.625 mg/kg/day) and there vas an elevated serum
    alkaline phosphatase level at 100 ppm (2.5 mg/kg/day).

    Long-term: in a two-year rat study a no-effect level of 50 ppm (2.5
    mg/kg/day) was noted. At  100 ppm (5 mg/kg/day) and higher there was
    liver injury.  In another study there was alight liver hypertrophy at
    So ppm (2.5 mg/kg/day) and the no-effect level was deemed to be 25 ppm.

    2.1.7 Supplementary studies of toxicity


    Rat: no increase in tumours was seen in rats fed a maximum of 100 ppm
    (5 mg/kg/day) of lindane throughout their life-span.

    2.1.8 Modifications of toxicity

    The acute toxicity of lindane was increased by a factor of 1.9 when
    rats were fed a low protein diet.

    2.2   TOXICOLOGY - MAN

    2.2.1 Absorption

    See 2.1.1. The oral route is an important route of absorption with

    2.2.2 Dangerous doses

    Single: the dangerous done of lindane has been estimated at 7-15 g
    but a young suffered serious illness including a convulsion after
    ingesting a carefully measured dose of 45 mg intended as a vermifuge.
    A number of children have been poisoned by sating as little an part
    of-one 0.33 g tablet of lindane.

    Repeated: in patients receiving 180 mg/day for several days there was
    dizziness and diarrhoea after several days.  Of 15 patients receiving
    45 mg three times a day for three days, six shoved sone toxic symptoms.

    2.2.3 Observations of occupationally exposed workers

    Of 148 spray operators who applied lindane during an antimalaria
    campaign about 40% became affected.  The clinical examination showed
    digestive and respiratory disorders, cutaneous symptoms and
    neurological effects.  There is a lack of precise information on the
    chemical composition of the hexachlorocyclohexane used, an the
    conditions, of application and on the amount absorbed.

    A number of reports have suggested that lindane may be a causative
    agent in certain blood dyscrasias particularly aplastic anaemia.  In
    the most recent study a group of 79 subjects was examined. These
    persons were known to be exposed to lindane for periods of several
    weeks to several years.  No clinical symptomatology nor physical
    evidence of disease clearly attributable to this exposure could be
    demonstrated.  In some reports of blood dyscrasias it has been
    suggested that an exposure to lindane was responsible.  Such effects
    have not been reported in cases of undoubted intoxication by lindane.

    2.2.4 Observations on exposure of the general population

    Total diet studies in one country showed that the total dietary intake
    of lindane was 0.00006 mg/kg.  In one European country levels of
    lindane in fat were 0.42-0.43 ppm whereas in an Asian country the
    levels were 1.43 ppm.  In another country in the Americas mainly ß BHC
    and no lindane (g BHC) was detected in human fat.

    2.2.5 Observations of volunteers

          No information.

    2.2.6 Reported mishaps

    In an Eastern European country 11 persons became intoxicated after
    consuming coffee containing sugar which accidentally became
    contaminated with about 4% of lindane.  General signs of poisoning
    appeared between 20 minutes and four hours after ingestion and included
    loss of consciousness and convulsion.  There appear to have been no
    dealths, and recovery following treatment was rapid.


    The entries in these sections are intended to draw attention to
    special risks and to give warnings of any needs for special

    2.3.1 Fish

    Toxic to fish (LC50:0.01-4.4 for several species after 96 hours'

    2.3.2 Birds

    Toxic to birds (LC50:50-200 mg/kg for several species).  Evidence of
    cumulative effect.  Possibility of damage to eggs if used excessively on
    poultry or in poultry houses.

    2.3.3 Other species

          Toxic to bees.


    Part 3 - For regulatory authorities    

        Common name:  lindane
        Data Sheet No. 12
        Date issued:  June 1975



          (For definition of categories see introduction.) Liquids over 50%
          category 3 and over 5% category 4.   Solids over 20% category 4.
          All other formulations category 5.


          All formulations

    Should be transported or stored in clearly labelled leak-proof
    containers out of reach of children and away from food and drink.

    3.3   HANDLING

          All formulations categories 3 and 4

    Protective clothing (see part 4) should be used by those handling
    concentrates.  Adequate washing facilities should be available close at
    hand.  Eating, drinking and smoking should be prohibited during
    handling and before washing after handling.

          Formulations category 5

    No facilities other than those needed for the handling of any
    chemical need be required.


          All formulations

    If not decontaminated, the container must either be burned or crushed
    and buried below topsoil.  Care must be taken to avoid subsequent
    contamination of water sources.  Container may be decontaminated (for
    method, see paragraph 4.3 on part 4).  Decontaminated containers should
    not be used for food and drink.


          All formulations categories 3 and 4

    Pre-employment medical examination of workers desirable.  Persons
    with history of active liver disease should be excluded from contact.
    Training of workers in techniques to avoid contact essential.

          Formulations category 5

          Warning of workers to minimize contact essential.


    Pilot and loaders should have special training in application methods
    and early symptoms of poisoning.  Flagmen, if used, should wear
    overalls and be located well away from the dropping zone.

    3.7   LABELLING

          All formulations

          Minimum cautionary statement

    This formulation contains lindane, a toxic substance which is poisonous
    if swallowed.  Keep the material out of reach of children and well away
    from foodstuffs, animal feed and their containers.


    3.8.1 Maximum residue levels

    The Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (1973) has
    recommended the following limits:

    Vegetables...............................................   3  ppm
    Cranberries, cherries, grapes, plums and strawberries....   3  ppm
    Fat of meat (cattle, pigs, sheep)........................   2  ppm
    Beans (dried)............................................   1  ppm
    Raw cereals..............................................   0.5  ppm
    Eggs (shell free)........................................   0.1 ppm
    Milk and milk products (fat basis).......................   0.1 ppm
    Poultry (fat basis)......................................   0.7 ppm
    Rice (rough).............................................   0.5
    Sugar beet (roots or foliage)............................   0.2 ppm


    Part 4 - Prevention of poisoning in man and emergency aid  

         Common name:  lindane
         Data Sheet No. 12
         Date issued:  June 1975


    4.1.1 General

    Lindane is an organochlorine pesticide of moderate toxicity which is
    slowly degraded in the environment and can accumulate in tissue.

    4.1.2 Manufacture and formulation


          ACGIH 0.5 mg/m3; USSR 0.05 mg/m3

    Vapours and dusts should be controlled preferably by mechanical means.
    Protective equipment for the skin and respiratory protection is usually

    4.1.3 Mixers and applicators

    When opening the container and when mixing, care should be taken to
    avoid contact with the south and eyes.  If necessary, a facial visor
    and gloves should be worn.  Mixing, if not mechanical, should always be
    carried out with a paddle of appropriate length.  The applicator should
    avoid working in spray mist and avoid contact with the mouth.

    Splashes must be washed immediately from the skin or eyes with large
    quantities of water.  Before eating, drinking or smiting, hands and
    other exposed skin should be washed.

    4.1.4 Other associated workers (including flagmen in aerial operations)

    Persons exposed to lindane and associated with its application should
    observe the precautions described above in 4.1.3 under "mixers and

    4.1.5 Other populations likely to be affected

    With good agricultural practices subject to 4.2 below other populations
    should not be exposed to hazardous amounts of lindane. Measurable
    levels of the pesticide, however, have been detected in the body fat of
    the general population in a number of countries.


    The general population should be kept out of treated areas for at least
    one day.


    Residues in containers should be emptied in a diluted form into a
    deep pit taking care to avoid ground water.  The empty container may be
    decontaminated by mixing two or three times with water and scrubbing
    the sides. Impermeable gauntlets should be worn during this work and a
    soakage pit should be provided for the rinsings.

    Spillage of lindane should be removed as much as possible into a deep
    dry pit and the reminder washed away with large quantities of water.


    4.4.1 Early symptoms of poisoning

    Early symptoms of poisoning are nausea, vomiting, restlessness,
    tremor and apprehension.  Later convulsions may occur.  Lindane
    volatilized from heat vapourizers has produced great irritation of the
    nose, eyes, throat with nausea and severe headache.  Urticaria may
    occur in sensitive individuals.

    4.4.2 Treatment before person is seen by a physician, if these symptoms
          owing exposure

    The person should stop work immediately or otherwise remove himself
    from the source of exposure.  Contaminated clothing should be removed
    and the affected skin washed with water and soap, if available, and the
    area flushed with large quantities of water.  If swallowed, vomiting
    should be induced, if the person is conscious.


    Part 5 - For medical and laboratory personnel 

           Common name: lindane
           Data Shaft No. 12
           Date issued:  June 1975


    5.1.1 General information

    An organochlorine pesticide of moderate toxicity which may be
    absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and to a lesser extent by
    inhalation and through the intact skin.  Its mode of action is as a
    central nervous system stimulant.  Although it is readily excreted in
    the urine and faeces there is a tendency for it to accumulate in body
    tissues and organs especially in those tissues which have a high
    lipoidal content.

    5.1.2 Symptoms and signs

    Mild symptoms of poisoning are nausea, vomiting, restlessness, tremor
    and apprehension.  Lindane volatilized from heat vapourizers may
    produce great irritation of the nose, eyes and throat with nausea and
    severe headache.  Urticaria may occur in sensitive individuals.  More
    serious and advanced symptoms are repeated, violent clonic convulsions
    sometimes superimposed on a continuous tonic spasm.  Respiratory
    difficulty and cyanosis secondary to the convulsions may occur.  High
    fever may also result.  Death appears to be due to heart and
    respiratory failure.

    Reports of blood dyscrasias have not been clearly related to exposure
    to lindane.

    5.1.3 Laboratory

    The presence of lindane in blood is indicative of absorption.  The
    blood levels associated with poisoning are not known.  Other laboratory
    findings are rise in blood pressure, fall in heart rate and changes in
    the electroencephalogram.

    5.1.4 Treatment

    If the pesticide has been ingested, gastric lavage should be performed
    with two to four litres of tap water followed by saline purgatives (30
    g sodium sulfate in 250 ml of water).  Barbiturates (preferably
    phenobarbitone or pentobarbitone) or diazepam should be given IM or IV
    in sufficient dosage to control restlessness or convulsions.
    Mechanical respiratory assistance with oxygen may be required.  Calcium
    gluconate, 10 ml should be ingested four hourly.  Contraindications are
    oily purgatives epinephrine and other adrenergic drugs and central
    stimulants of all types.

    5.1.5 Prognosis

    If the convulsions are survived, the chances of complete recovery are
    good.  However, in very severe cases, there is a possibility of
    permanent brain damage secondary to continued anoxia resulting from
    prolonged convulsions.

    5.1.6 References of previously reported cases

    The following references give methods of treatment used in cases of

          Hayes, W. J., jr. Clinical handbook of economic poisons, U.S. 
              Publ.  Hlth Ser., Publication No. 476 (revised 1963),
              pp. 49-50

          Bambov, H., Comakov, M. & Dimitrova, N. (1966) Savr. Med.,
              17(16),  477-481 (in Bulgarian) Info. Cir. Tox. Peat.
              Man. 23 Insert No. 12

          Osuntokun, B. 0. (1964) W. Afr. med. J., 13(5), 207-210 Info.
              Circ.  Tox. Pest. Man. 17 Insert No. 137
See Also:
        Lindane (EHC 124, 1991)
        Lindane (ICSC)
        Lindane (PIM 859)