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Aldrin is an insecticide that enters the insect's body (and in the environment) and quickly converts to Dieldrin. It is harmful and it is a persistent environmental contaminant that is found at 287 of the 1,613 sites on the National Priorities List (#ATSDR ToxFAQs).

The US Department of Agriculture banned the use of aldrin and Dieldrin in 1970, but two years later the EPA reinstated the Insecticides the two to kill termites only (#ATSDR Public Health Statement). This usage continued until 1987, when the manufacturer voluntarily discontinued production.

Chemical Description

The scientific name for aldrin is 1,2,3,4,10,10-hexachloro-1,4,4?,5,8,8?-hexahydro-1,4-endo,exo-5,8-dimethanonaphthalene. The abbreviation for the scientific name of aldrin is HHDN. Technical-grade aldrin contains not less than 85.5% aldrin. The trade names used for aldrin include Aldrec, Aldrex, Drinox, Octalene (#ATSDR Public Health Statement).

It is a white power with very little chemical odor.

Pharmacology and Metabolism

Aldrin can enter the body dermally, through the lungs when inhaled, orby ingesting contaminated dirt or food. Once aldrin is ingested it is converted in by the body into Dieldrin which is then stored in fat throughout the body (#ATSDR Public Health Statement). The body metabolizes the stored Dieldrin slowly, excreting it mainly through feces though this process can take years to totally rid the body of the Insecticides.

Uses and Benefits

Aldrin was used extensively from the 1950s to the early 1970s on crops such as corn an cotten and later used, until 1987, against termites (#ATSDR Public Health Statements).

Health Effects

Aldrin has been seen to cause severe health problems when ingested or inhaled in a significant quantity. Nervous system affects, including convulsions, headaches, irritability, and nausea, are witnessed in many people with extreme exposure to the Insecticides (#ATSDR Public Health Statement). Research on additional health problems related to aldrin is sparse. A few cancer registries have stated that there is not enough evidence to list aldrin as a carcinogen (#ATSR Statement on Public Health).

Teaching Resources




Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Statement on Public Health. September, 2002. Accessed 4-30-07.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). ToxFAQs for Aldrin/Dieldrin. September, 2002. Accessed 4-30-07.

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