This is a fact sheet about a chemical that may be found in some public or
private drinking water supplies. It may cause health problems if found
in amounts greater than the health standard set by the United States
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
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
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
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
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 these regulations.
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
Long-term: Lindane has the potential to cause the following
effects from a lifetime exposure at levels above the MCL: liver and
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
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
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.
This is a factsheet about a chemical that may be found in some
public or private drinking water supplies. It may cause health problems
if found in amounts greater than the health standard set by the United
States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Drinking Water Standards:
Note: This fact sheet is part of a larger publication
adapted from U.S. EPA publication: EPA National Primary Drinking Water
|Mclg: 0.2 ppb (parts per billion)
Mcl: 0.2 ppm