Persistent Organic Pollutants: Aldrin/Dieldrin


Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum
Water Quality - Pollutant Sources and Impacts

Pesticides are among the most common persistent organic pollutants, making up all but one of the 'Dirty Dozen' toxic chemicals represented by the United Nations (see EXPLORE). DDT is the most famous of these and was the focus of Rachel Carson's 1962 book 'Silent Spring' which helped make the public aware of the environmental effects of pesticides.

Aldrin and dieldrin are two closely-related pesticides (aldrin breaks down to form dieldrin in organisms). These chemicals are now banned in most countries, but were once used to control soil pests which damaged crops such as corn, potatoes and fruit. Dieldrin was also used to control insects, such as the tsetse fly, which spread tropical diseases. Aldrin and dieldrin persist in the environment and can travel through the air to contaminate environments far from their original site of application. Aldrin and dieldrin bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms, resulting in reproductive problems. Acute exposure in humans can cause seizures and death, while chronic exposure leads to headache, dizziness, vomiting and psychological/nerve disorders.

Global DistillationGlobal distillation relates to how POPs undergo long-range transport from warm to cold regions.

Tsetse Fly

Tsetse Fly


The Dirty Dozen

Stockholm Conference on POPs

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