Toxaphene, a synthetic organic chemical, is an amber, waxy organic solid with a piney odor. Toxaphene was used as an insecticide for cotton and vegetables, and on livestock and poultry. In 1982, most of its uses were banned and in 1990, all uses were banned in the United States. Major sources of toxaphene in drinking water are runoff/leaching from a banned insecticide that was used on cotton and cattle. It is very persistent, remaining in soil for up to 14 years. It is not expected to leach to groundwater. It will not break down by microbial or other means. Though it strongly binds to soils and the sediments of water bodies, it may gradually evaporate to the air where it is slowly broken down by sunlight. Toxaphene has a high potential to accumulate in aquatic life.
Some people who drink water containing toxaphene well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for many years could experience kidney, liver, or thyroid problems; increased risk of cancer.
MCL ADVISORY - ACTION IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Toxaphene levels were detected in your water sample to exceed the maximum contaminant level (MCL).
ACTION IS OPTIONAL
Toxaphene levels were detected in your water sample but do not exceed the maximum contaminant level.
- USEPA - Water: Basic Information about Regulated Drinking Water Contaminants - Basic Information about Toxaphene in Drinking Water
- ATSDR - Toxic Substances Portal - Toxaphene
- Ohio Department of Health - Private Water Systems Program - Water Quality - Organic Contaminants
- ATSDR ToxFAQs Fact Sheet - Toxaphene