Factors influencing the distribution of lindane and other hexachlorocyclohexanes in the environment

Kathleen Walker, Daniel A. Vallero, Robert G. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

425 Scopus citations


This review examines the potential for γ-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) to be transformed into other isomers of HCH. HCH residues are among the most widely distributed and frequently detected organochlorine contaminants in the environment. The potential environmental and human health risks associated with these residues have prompted Canada, the United States, and Mexico to consider the development of a North American Regional Action Plan (NARAP) to assess and mitigate HCH pollution. More information on the propensity of γ- HCH to transform into other isomers is essential to the development of an effective regional management program. The high relative concentrations of α-HCH in the Arctic suggest that γ-HCH may be transformed into other isomers in the environment. Laboratory studies show that significant photoisomerization of γ-HCH to α-HCH is possible. However, field studies do not find evidence for significant isomerization of γ-HCH, and recent environmental samples suggest that α-HCH residues are declining as the use of technical HCH has ended in most parts of the world. Alternative explanations for the patterns of isomer contamination are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4373-4378
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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