Finding Chlordane

Are High Chlordane Levels in Our Waters Damaging Our Health?

What is Chlordane?

Chlordane is a thick liquid chemical that was used as a pesticide from 1948 to 1988. It is a mixture of pure chlordane and many other chemicals. Chlordane does not occur naturally in the environment. Because there was a concern that Chlordane damaged the environment and human health the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all uses of chlordane except termite control in 1983. in 1988 the EPA banned all of it's uses.

How Can Chlordane Affect Me?

Chlordane has been proven to negatively affect:

  • The nervous system
  • The digestive system
  • The Liver
In both humans and animals

Chlordane has also been known to cause:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
In people who breathe in or swallow small amounts of chlordane.

Large amounts of chlordane can cause convulsions and even death

How Might I Be Exposed?

Currently in Suffolk County, Long Island there are many freshwater bodies including Hither Hills State Park in Montauk and Lake Capri, that are contaminated with the chemical chlordane. Because chlordane builds up in the bodies of fish and shellfish living in these water bodies, there is a New York State Department of Health Fish Advisory for the affected fish in these areas. This means we are recommended to never consume these fish and shellfish in these areas because they contain high levels of chlordane in their bodies.

What Can I Do?

Some ways to avoid chlordane exposure are:

  • Avoid eating fish/shellfish caught in contaminated waters
  • Always pay attention to New York State Department of Health Fish Advisories to stay up to date on what waters are suitable for swimming, boating and fishing
  • Contact your local health department to see what you can do to further prevent exposure

If you think you may have been exposed to chlordane, contact the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) at 1-800-CDC-INFO. ATSDR can give locations of health clinics that specialize in recognizing and treating illnesses resulting from exposure to hazardous substances