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This article is about the pesticide. For the indie rock band, see Kepone (band).
Chlordecone Kepone 3D.png
CAS number 143-50-0 YesY
PubChem 299
ChemSpider 293 YesY
EC number 205-601-3
KEGG C01792 YesY
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula C10Cl10O
Molar mass 490.64 g mol−1
Appearance tan to white crystalline solid
Odor odorless
Density 1.6 g/cm3
Melting point 349 °C (660 °F; 622 K) (decomposes)
Solubility in water 0.27 g/100 mL
Solubility soluble in acetone, ketone, acetic acid
slightly soluble in benzene, hexane
log P 5.41
Vapor pressure 3.10−7 kPa
764 J/K mol
-225.9 kJ/mol
Flash point Non-flammable
LD50 95 mg/kg (rat, oral)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
 N (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Infobox references

Kepone, also known as chlordecone, is an organochlorine compound. It is a colourless solid. This compound is a controversial insecticide related to Mirex and DDT. Its use was so disastrous that it is now prohibited in the western world, but only after many millions of kilograms had been produced.[2] Kepone is a known persistent organic pollutants (POP), classified among the "dirty dozen" and banned globally by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants as of 2011.


The LC50 (LC = lethal concentration) is 0.022–0.095 mg/kg for blue gill and trout. Kepone bioaccumulates in animals by a factors up to a million-fold. Workers with repeated exposure suffer severe convulsions resulting from degradation of the synaptic junctions.[2]


In the US, kepone was produced by Allied Signal Company and LifeSciences Product Company in Hopewell, Virginia. The improper handling and dumping of the substance into the nearby James River (U.S.) in the 1960s and 1970s drew national attention to its toxic effects on wildlife. The product is similar to DDT and is a degradation product of Mirex.[2] The history of Kepone incidents are reviewed in Who's Poisoning America?: Corporate Polluters and Their Victims in the Chemical Age (1982). In 2009, Kepone was included in the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants, which bans its production and use worldwide.[citation needed]

Case studies[edit]

James River estuary[edit]

Due to the pollution risks, many businesses and restaurants along the river suffered economic losses. In 1975 Governor Mills Godwin Jr. shut down the James River to fishing for 100 miles, from Richmond to the Chesapeake Bay. This ban remained in effect for 13 years, until efforts to clean up the river began to get results.[3]

French Antilles[edit]

The French island of Martinique is heavily contaminated with kepone,[citation needed] following years of its unrestricted use on banana plantations. Despite a 1990 ban of the substance by France, the economically powerful planter community lobbied intensively to gain the power to continue using kepone until 1993. They had argued that no alternative pesticide was available, which has since been disputed. Similarly, the nearby island of Guadeloupe is also contaminated, but to a lesser extent. Since 2003, the local authorities restricted cultivation of crops because the soil has been seriously contaminated by kepone. Guadeloupe has one of the highest prostate cancer rates in the world.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Kepone was the name of an American indie rock band from Richmond, Virginia formed in 1991.
  • The Dead Kennedys recorded a song named "Kepone Factory", a satire of the controversy surrounding Allied Signal and their negligence regarding employee safety, for their 1981 album In God We Trust, Inc.. Written in 1978, the song was originally titled "Kepone Kids".


Kepone is made by dimerizing hexachlorocyclopentadiene and hydrolyzing to a ketone.[5]


  1. ^ IUPAC Agrochemical information (
  2. ^ a b c Robert L. Metcalf "Insect Control" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry Wiley-VCH, Wienheim, 2002. doi:10.1002/14356007.a14_263
  3. ^ Jack Cooksey, "What's in the Water?", Richmond Magazine, June 2007, accessed 13 June 2012
  4. ^ European Journal, Deutsche Welle, 26 May 2010.[1]
  5. ^ Survey of Industrial Chemistry by Philip J. Chenier (2002) page 484.

External links[edit]