Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 152–162 | Cite as

Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) as new Stockholm Convention POPs—a global perspective on the management of Lindane and its waste isomers

  • John Vijgen
  • P. C. Abhilash
  • Yi Fan Li
  • Rup Lal
  • Martin Forter
  • Joao Torres
  • Nandita Singh
  • Mohammad Yunus
  • Chongguo Tian
  • Andreas Schäffer
  • Roland WeberEmail author
Review Article



Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) isomers (α-, β- and γ- (Lindane)) were recently included as new persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the Stockholm Convention, and therefore, the legacy of HCH and Lindane production became a contemporary topic of global relevance. This article wants to briefly summarise the outcomes of the Stockholm Convention process and make an estimation of the amount of HCH waste generated and dumped in the former Lindane/HCH-producing countries.


In a preliminary assessment, the countries and the respective amount of HCH residues stored and deposited from Lindane production are estimated. Between 4 and 7 million tonnes of wastes of toxic, persistent and bioaccumulative residues (largely consisting of alpha- (approx. 80%) and beta-HCH) are estimated to have been produced and discarded around the globe during 60 years of Lindane production. For approximately 1.9 million tonnes, information is available regarding deposition. Countries are: Austria, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Macedonia, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, The Netherlands, UK, USA, and former USSR. The paper highlights the environmental relevance of deposited HCH wastes and the related POPs’ contaminated sites and provides suggestions for further steps to address the challenge of the legacy of HCH/Lindane production.


It can be expected that most locations where HCH waste was discarded/stockpiled are not secured and that critical environmental impacts are resulting from leaching and volatilisation. As parties to the Stockholm Convention are legally required to take action to stop further POPs pollution, identification and evaluation of such sites are necessary.


HCH Lindane Stockholm Convention POPs Contaminated site PCDD/PCDF 



The authors want to express their thanks to all who answered the questionnaires and supported the study with information.

P.C. Abhilash and Nandita Singh are thankful to the Director of NBRI for his encouragements.

Thanks go to Eurofins ERGO for the analysis of a HCH decomposer residue.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Vijgen
    • 1
  • P. C. Abhilash
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yi Fan Li
    • 1
    • 3
    • 8
  • Rup Lal
    • 1
    • 4
  • Martin Forter
    • 5
  • Joao Torres
    • 1
    • 6
  • Nandita Singh
    • 2
  • Mohammad Yunus
    • 7
  • Chongguo Tian
    • 8
  • Andreas Schäffer
    • 9
  • Roland Weber
    • 1
    • 10
    Email author
  1. 1.International HCH and Pesticides Association (IHPA)HolteDenmark
  2. 2.National Botanical Research InstituteLucknowIndia
  3. 3.Environment Canada, Science and Technology BranchTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of ZoologyUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia
  5. 5.BaselSwitzerland
  6. 6.Instituto de Biofisica, Rio de Janeiro Federal UniversityRio de JaneiroBrazil
  7. 7.School for Environmental SciencesBabasaheb Bhimarao Ambedkar University (A Central University)LucknowIndia
  8. 8.International Joint Research Center for Persistent Toxic Substances (IJRC-PTS), State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinChina
  9. 9.Institute for Environmental Biology Group VRWTA Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  10. 10.POPs Environmental ConsultingGöppingenGermany

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