ToxFAQsTM for Endrin

Spanish: Endrina

CAS# 72-20-8

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What is endrin?

Endrin is a solid, white, almost odorless substance.

It was used as a pesticide to control insects, rodents, and birds. It has not been produced or used in the United States since 1991. Its use was stopped because nontarget birds, such as raptors (birds of prey) and migratory birds, were being harmed by its use.

What happens to endrin in the environment?

In the environment, endrin can attach strongly to soil particles, which may prevent it from entering groundwater. However, it has been found in groundwater, which suggests that it can get into the groundwater under certain conditions. Endrin can enter into rivers, lakes, or streams through rain or irrigation runoff and has been found to concentrate in fish and other aquatic animals. It will remain in soil for a long period of time (years).

How can I be exposed to endrin?

Since endrin is no longer produced or used in the United States, most people are not likely to be exposed to this chemical. The most likely way that you could be exposed to small amounts of endrin is from eating imported contaminated food. If you live near a hazardous waste site, you might be exposed to endrin from contaminated air, dirt, or water.

How can endrin affect my health?

Endrin has not been produced or used in the United States since 1991. The likelihood of exposure is minimal.

Several studies show that the amount of endrin people are exposed to is far below the levels that would affect their health.

People exposed to high levels of endrin, such as those seen in endrin poisoning, experience convulsions, jerking of legs and arms, twitching facial muscles, sudden collapse, or even death.

Animals that ate or breathed high levels of endrin had similar effects as those seen in people, with the nervous system being the main target (convulsions). Endrin exposure also led to liver damage in these animals.

Can endrin cause cancer?

Studies looking at workers in endrin manufacturing factories that would have had been exposed to endrin over a long period of time did not see any increase in cancer. Also, animal studies have not found a link between endrin and cancer.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not classified endrin as to whether it can cause cancer in people. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have determined that endrin is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity (causing cancer) in humans.

Can I get a medical test to check for endrin?

Tests are available to measure levels of endrin and its breakdown products in blood, urine, and hair. Endrin can only be measured in your blood or urine within a couple of days of exposure. These tests may show low, moderate, or high exposure to endrin, but they cannot tell the exact amount that you were exposed to or predict whether you will have health problems. Doctor’s offices do not routinely offer these tests. If you think you have been exposed to endrin, call your doctor, nurse, or poison control center.

How can I protect myself and my family from endrin?

Most people don’t need to take any special steps to avoid endrin in their daily lives. Children should avoid playing in dirt or water near hazardous waste sites to avoid coming in contact with endrin.

Follow health advisories that tell you about consumption of fish and wildlife caught in contaminated areas.

For more information:

Call CDC-INFO at 1-800-232-4636, or submit your question online at

Go to ATSDR’s Toxicological Profile for endrin:

Go to ATSDR's Toxic Substances Portal:

If you have any more questions or concerns, you can also find & contact your ATSDR Regional Representative at

Page last reviewed: March 16, 2021