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Pollutants > Lindane

Lindane, also known as gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane and benzene hexachloride (BHC), is a toxic insecticide used in agriculture and in pharmaceutical products for the treatment of headlice and scabies. The sole U.S. manufacturer of lindane products is Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called for the voluntary cancellation of all agricultural uses of lindane in 2006. However, Lindane still remains registered with the FDA. FDA concludes that Lindane medications provide public health benefits at an acceptable level of risk. The use of Lindane has been limited to pre-planting seed treatments in recent years.

FDA sent a warning letter to Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in December 2007 asking the company to correct misleading advertising information it had distributed. FDA said in their letter that the company omit or minimize the most serious and important risk information associated with the use of Lindane Shampoo, particularly in pediatric patients; include a misleading dosing claim; and overstate the efficacy of Lindane Shampoo.

The State of California banned the pharmaceutical use of lindane in 2002. A bill has been introduced in the Michigan legislature as well, which restrict the use of Lindane there.

Health Effects

Most of the adverse human health effects reported for lindane are linked to agricultural uses and chronic, occupational exposure of seed treatment workers to agricultural-grade lindane. Lindane exposure can negatively affect the nervous system. Side effects of Lindane exposure can be short term or long term.

Acute (Short Term) Health Effects

The following health effects may occur immediately or shortly after Lindane exposure:

  • Insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, poor appetite and/or headache.
  • Higher exposure can also cause seizures, muscle twitching, convulsions and even death.

Chronic (Long Term) Health Effects

The following health effects, which may last for months or years, can occur at some time after Lindane exposure: 

Cancer Hazard

  • Lindane has caused liver, lung, endocrine glands and other types of cancer in animals. So, it may be considered as a carcinogen in humans as well.
  • Lindane can cause leukemia in humans

Reproductive Hazard

  • Lindane can damage the developing fetus.
  • Lindane may diminish fertility in females. 

Other Chronic Effects

  • Repeated Lindane exposure may damage the liver. It can also cause damage to the nerves of the arms and legs.
  • A serious drop in the red and white blood cell count.


A 2003 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that 62% of sampled U.S. residents carry Lindane in their body. Research scientists strongly recommend total ban of Lindane from the market because of its low effectiveness and high toxicity.

If symptoms (such as bloody urine, irregular heartbeat, restlessness, seizures, nausea, unsteadiness etc.) develop or overexposure is suspected, call your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Liver function tests or a blood test for Lindane may help. Don’t forget to request copies of your medical testing. Under OSHA 1910.20, you have a legal right to receive this information.

Legal Assistance for Lindane Victims - If you or a loved one has suffered from Lindane exposure, please fill out and submit the form at the right or contact us today at 1-800-780-2686. Absolutely free initial consultation.

Breaking News

SA Bans Agricultural Use of Lindane
Lindane is to be banned in South Africa for agricultural use early next year... Read More

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