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Other names
Chlorocamphene, Octachlorocamphene, Polychlorocamphene, Chlorinated camphene
8001-35-2 YesY
ChEMBL ChEMBL1339089 N
Jmol-3D images Image
KEGG C15470 YesY
Density 1.65 g/cm3
Melting point 65 to 90 °C (149 to 194 °F; 338 to 363 K)
Boiling point decomposition at 155 °C (311 °F; 428 K)
0.0003% (20°C)[1]
Vapor pressure 0.4 mmHg (25°C)[1]
Flash point noncombustible [1]
75 mg/kg (oral, rabbit)
112 mg/kg (oral, mouse)
250 mg/kg (oral, guinea pig)
50 mg/kg (oral, rat)[2]
US health exposure limits (NIOSH):
TWA 0.5 mg/m3 [skin][1]
Ca [skin][1]
200 mg/m3[1]
Except where noted otherwise, data is given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
 N verify (what isYesY/N?)
Infobox references

Toxaphene is a pesticide used extensively in farming in the 1970's and early 1980's.[3] It was most commonly used in the cotton and soybean industry in the Southeastern United States.[4] Toxaphene is a mixture of approximately 200 different chemicals and is produced by reacting chlorine gas with camphene.[5] It can be most commonly found as a yellow to amber waxy solid.[3]

Toxaphene was banned in the United States in 1990 and was banned globally by the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.[6][3] It is a very persistent chemical that can remain in the environment for 1-14 years without degrading, particularly in the soil.[7]

Testing performed on animals, mostly rats and mice, has demonstrated that toxaphene is harmful to animals. Exposure to toxaphene has proven to stimulate the central nervous system, as well as induce morphological changes in the thyroid, liver, and kidneys.[8]

Toxaphene has been shown to cause adverse health affects in humans. The main sources of exposure are through food, drinking water, breathing contaminated air, and direct contact with contaminated soil. Exposure to high levels of toxaphene can cause damage to the lungs, nervous system, liver, kidneys, and in extreme cases, may even cause death. It is thought to be a potential carcinogen in humans, though this has not yet been proven. [3]


Toxaphene is a mixture of approximately 200 organic compounds, formed by the chlorination of camphene (C10H16) to an overall chlorine content of 67–69% by weight.[9][10] The bulk of the compounds (mostly chlorobornanes, chlorocamphenes, and other bicyclic chloroorganic compounds) found in toxaphene have chemical formulas ranging from C10H11Cl5 to C10H6Cl12, with a mean formula of C10H10Cl8.[11] The formula weights of these compounds range from 308 to 551 grams/mole; the theoretical mean formula has a value of 414 grams/mole. Toxaphene is usually seen as a yellow to amber waxy solid. It is volatile enough to be transported for long distances through the atmosphere.[12][13]

Health effects[edit]

When inhaled or ingested, sufficient quantities of toxaphene can damage the lungs, nervous system, and kidneys, and may cause death. It is classified as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen.


Toxaphene was used as an insecticide. In the U.S., it was chiefly used in the cotton and soybean growing areas in the southeastern region. It was used to treat mange in cattle in California in the 1970s, although there were reports of cattle deaths following spraying with toxaphene.[14]

In 1982, it was banned for most uses, and in 1990 it was banned for all uses in the United States.[15] It belongs to the so-called "dirty dozen", a list of very toxic substances, eleven of which were outlawed in May 2004 when the Stockholm Convention went into effect.[16]

Trade names[edit]

Trade names and synonyms include Chlorinated camphene, Octachlorocamphene, Camphochlor, Agricide Maggot Killer, Alltex, Allotox, Crestoxo, Compound 3956, Estonox, Fasco-Terpene, Geniphene, Hercules 3956, M5055, Melipax, Motox, Penphene, Phenacide, Phenatox, Strobane-T, Toxadust, Toxakil, Vertac 90%, Toxon 63, Attac, Anatox, Royal Brand Bean Tox 82, Cotton Tox MP82, Security Tox-Sol-6, Security Tox-MP cotton spray, Security Motox 63 cotton spray, Agro-Chem Brand Torbidan 28, and Dr Roger's TOXENE.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards #0113". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 
  2. ^ "Chlorinated camphene". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 4 December 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Toxaphene - ToxFAQs". Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Toxaphene". Report on Carcinogens (National Toxicology Program, Department of Health and Human Services) 13. October 2, 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Saleh, Mahmoud Abbas (1983). "Capillary gas chromatography-electron impact chemical ionization mass spectrometry of toxaphene". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 31 (4): 748. doi:10.1021/jf00118a017. 
  6. ^ Wen-Tien, Tsai (October 12, 2010). "Current Status and Regulatory Aspects of Pesticides Considered to be Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in Taiwan". International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 7 (10). Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Technical Factsheet on: TOXAPHENE". National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Toxaphene". Technology Transfer Network - Air Toxics Web Site. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Saleh, Mahmoud Abbas (1983). "Capillary gas chromatography-electron impact chemical ionization mass spectrometry of toxaphene". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 31 (4): 748. doi:10.1021/jf00118a017. 
  10. ^ Buntin, G.A. U.S. Patent 2,565,471, 1951.
  11. ^ Buser, Hans-Rudolf; et al. (2000). "Rapid anaerobic degradation of toxaphene in sewage sludge". Chemosphere 40 (9–11): 1213–1220. doi:10.1016/s0045-6535(99)00371-9. PMID 10739064. 
  12. ^ Shoeib, Mahiba; et al. (1999). "Airborne concentrations of toxaphene congeners at Point Petre (Ontario) using gas-chromatography-electron capture negative ion mass spectrometry (GC-ECNIMS)". Chemosphere 39 (5): 849–871. doi:10.1016/s0045-6535(99)00018-1. PMID 10448561. 
  13. ^ Rice, Clifford P.; et al. (1986). Environmental Science and Technology 20: 1109–1116.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ Chancellor, John; Oliver, Don (1979-02-22). "Possible Toxaphene Cattle Poisoning". NBC News. Vanderbilt Television News Archive. Retrieved on 2008-02-08.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Retrieved on 2009-03-05.
  17. ^ Retrieved on 2009-03-05.

External links[edit]