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CAS No- 143-50-5, Kepone; Merex; 1,1a,3,3a,4,5,5,5a,5b,6-decachlorooctahydro-1,3,4-metheno-2H-cyclobuta[cd ]pentalen-2-one; decachlorotetrahydro-4,7-methanoindeneone

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold
1.00 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air
0.1 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Water
0.1 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Waste Water
1.00 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Land
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?
Chlordecone is a highly stable odourless white or tan coloured solid. It's solubility is low in water, but readily dissolves in some organic (carbon-containing) solvents.
What is it used for?
Chlordecone was used as an insecticide and fungicide, but is believed to be no longer manufactured. Chlordecone is also a degradation product of Mirex (which is a superceded insecticide and flame retardant).
Where does it come from?
Chlordecone was mainly released to the environment through its application as an agricultural pesticide. Releases may also have occured through its manufacture, tranportation and storage. There are not thought to be any natural sources of chlordecone to the environment, though its persistence means it remains an issue.
How might it affect the environment?
Chlordecone is dangerous to aquatic organisms. It is toxic and is also a carcinogen. It is also very stable and persistent in the environment, binding strongly with soils and sediments. In aquatic sytems chlordecone pollution is likely to be associated with particulate matter. It does not volatilise, but chlordecone dust particles can still be found in the atmosphere.
How might exposure to it affect human health?
Exposure to chlordecone may result from dermal absorption or by inhalation or ingesting. Only a small amount of chlordecone will enter the body if it comes into contact with skin. Eyes, nose and throat irritation can result from short term exposure. Exposure to chlordecone for long periods of time may result in effects on the liver, the nervous system and the reproductive system. In 1987, the International Agency for Research on Cancer designated chlordecone as a possible carcinogen (Group 2B).
What steps are being taken to limit the potential impacts?
Releases of Chlordecone are controlled through the UK Pollution, Prevention and Control (PPC) Regulations. Chlordecone is also regulated as a pesticide through the Food and Environmental Protection Act (FEPA 1985) and the Control of Pesticides Regulations. It is not authorised for use as a pesticide in the UK in the Pesticide Safety Directorate. It is designated a substance of possible concern under the OSPAR Convention which protects the marine environment of the north-east Atlantic Ocean.