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Toxaphene itself consists of a mixture of nearly 700 chemicals. Its original use was as an insecticide for the protection of cotton and soybean crops. The use of toxaphene peaked after dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) was banned. Since most chemicals comprising toxaphene are chlorinated, the total chlorine content of toxaphene is roughly 70%. Toxaphene is found as a yellowish-waxy substance that is relatively volatile. Airborne toxaphene can be inhaled, resulting in concentration-dependent damage to the lungs/respiratory tract, central nervous system, and kidneys. The use of toxaphene as an insecticide was banned nearly 30 years ago. Toxaphene is not readily soluble in water and tends to deposit in the soil and sediment, as well as the atmosphere. Degradation of toxaphene in the soil by local microorganisms is very slow, resulting in long-term toxaphene persistence in the environment. Toxaphene can be detected in soil, three to four decades after use.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Toxicology, Fourth Edition
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-9
ISBN (Electronic)9780128243152
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Camphechlor
  • Camphene
  • Dechlorination
  • Environmental persistence
  • Food contaminant
  • Lung cancer
  • Octachlorocamphene
  • Organochloride
  • Polychlorinated insecticide


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