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Aldrin

Aldrec, Aldrex, Aldrite, Octalene

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold
1.00 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air
0.0005 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Water
0.0005 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Waste Water
1.00 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Land
Disclaimer
This sheet is a generic summary, designed to give the reader a basic level of background information about the substance in question. Great care has been taken to represent as effectively and correctly as possible the broad range of (not necessarily consistent) information which is available from a variety of sources. The reader must accept therefore that this sheet has no legal status and cannot be relied upon in any legal proceedings. SEPA disclaims any responsibility or liability whatsoever for errors and omissions in this sheet.
What is it?
Pure Aldrin is found as odourless white crystals. It often contains impurities which give it a pale to dark brown colour and a faint smell. Aldrin evaporates very easily. It does not dissolve well in water, but dissolves easily in organic (carbon-containing) solvents and oils. Aldrin is part of the "drin" group of pesticides and therefore has similar properties to other members of the group such as Endrin, Dieldrin and Isodrin.
What is it used for?
Aldrin was developed as a pesticide to control soil insects and to protect wooden structures. Its use is now banned in the European Union, but it is still used in developing countries.
Where does it come from?
Although Aldrin is banned in the EU, releases to the environment can occur from products or materials which have been treated with it elsewhere. In countries where it is still used as a pesticide, it directly contaminates soils. There are no natural sources of Aldrin to the environment.
How might it affect the environment?
Aldrin poisoning of waterfowl and other birds via consumption of plants grown in contaminated soils or of contaminated aquatic organisms has been seen. Some aquatic life is particularly affected by Aldrin and whole species can be wiped out in a contaminated area, which can have significant effects on fish and birds higher up the food chain. Plants and animals readily convert Aldrin into the related substance Dieldrin. Dieldrin is a persistent organic pollutant (POP) and may travel considerable distances in the environment. This means it could have impacts at a global level, possibly far from the point of release.
How might exposure to it affect human health?
Aldrin can enter the body either by inhalation of aldrin powder, ingestion of contaminated food or water, or by dermal contact with either aldrin or formulations containing it. Inhalation of air containing elevated levels of aldrin powder can cause a range of adverse health effects. These range from respiratory irritation and depression, headaches and dizziness at moderate levels through to chemical pneumonitis at high concentrations. Ingestion of aldrin may lead to nausea, vomiting and diahorrea. Dermal contact with large amounts of aldrin over extended periods of time can lead to dermal irritation. Pure aldrin generally causes mild erythema whereas commercial formulations may lead to more extreme reactions. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has designated aldrin as being not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans. However, exposure to aldrin at normal background levels is unlikely to have any adverse effect on human health.
What steps are being taken to limit the potential impacts?
Aldrin is a UK Red List pollutant because of concern about its harmful impacts on the environment and human health. Releases of Aldrin are controlled through the UK Pollution, Prevention and Control (PPC) Regulations, the Food and Environmental Protection Act (FEPA 1985) and the Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR 1986). Its use is now banned in the EU. European Directives regulating levels of Aldrin include that concerned with the marketing and use of certain dangerous chemicals (79/117/EEC) and that concerned with pollution of the aquatic environment (76/464/EEC). At an international level, Aldrin is the subject of two proposed UN treaties, is banned under the UNECE POPs protocol and proposed for elimination under the UNEP POPs Convention. Aldrin is also listed for priority action under the Helsinki Convention and as a candidate substance under the OSPAR Convention which protect the marine environments of the Baltic Sea and north-east Atlantic Ocean respectively.