Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH)

CAS ID#: 608-73-1

Affected Organ Systems: Hepatic (Liver), Lymphoreticular (Lymphoid), Neurological (Nervous System), Reproductive (Producing Children)

Cancer Classification:  Please contact NTP, IARC, or EPA with questions on cancer and cancer classification.

Chemical Classification: None

Summary: Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) is a manufactured chemical that exists in eight chemical forms called isomers. One of these forms, gamma-HCH (or γ-HCH, commonly called lindane) is produced and used as an insecticide on fruit, vegetables, and forest crops. It is a white solid that may evaporate into the air as a colorless vapor with a slightly musty odor. It is also available as a prescription (lotion, cream, or shampoo) to treat head and body lice, and scabies. Lindane has not been produced in the United States since 1976, but is imported for insecticide use. Technical-grade HCH was used as an insecticide in the United States and typically contained 10-15% gamma-HCH as well as the alpha (α), beta (β), delta (δ), and epsilon (ε) forms of HCH. Virtually all the insecticidal properties resided in gamma-HCH. Technical-grade HCH has not been produced or used in the United States in over 20 years.

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Page last reviewed: February 10, 2021