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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Lindane is an organochlorine insecticide, also known as gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) and benzene hexachloride (BHC). It has an LD50 of 88 mg/kg, and is a suspected carcinogen. Its method of action is via interfering with the GABAa receptor/Cl- channel. It has been used in agriculture and in pharmaceutical products for the treatment of headlice and scabies.
  • Lindane  is a chemical that kills insects, including head lice. It was the active ingredient in Kwell lice shampoo, which is no longer sold. Generic lindane is still available by prescription for head lice.

Process

  • g-HCH is formed by the addition (oxidation) of chlorine (photochlorination) to benzene. This reaction is started by free radical initiators such as visual or ultraviolet light, X-rays, or g-rays, and produces a number of stereoisomeric compounds with the molecular formula C6H6Cl6. This mixture is commonly called technical benzene hexachloride (BHC), and contains approximately 12-18 % (IARC79: 20-22%) of the g-isomer.

Market

  • Global use of lindane is estimated to be 720 000 tonnes. Additionally, it is estimated that 55 000 tonnes of technical HCH are used world-wide.
  • Large amounts of technical HCH continue to be used in India, mostly for cotton protection and malaria control. 10 The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) also reports that technical HCH is still widely used in Asia and the countries of the former Soviet Union. It is also suspected there are stockpiles of lindane in various African and Asian countries and in Russia.

Application

  • In the US, Alliant Pharmaceuticals sells a Lindane shampoo and a lotion used to treat human scabies infection, head lice and other ectoparasites. It is sold by prescription only, in a one-percent formulation. It is considered a "second-line" treatment, to be used only when other treatments have failed.It has recently been banned for the treatment of head lice in California. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration requires these products be labeled with prominent warnings about possible neurotoxicity, particularly in young patients.
  • g-HCH is used for agricultural and horticultural uses including soil treatment for the culture of maize, beet, certain cereals, flower bulbs, and perennial plants, and in floriand arboriculture, and treatment of seeds of maize, beet, and certain cereals.
  • Lindane is an insecticide which acts by contact, ingestion and fumigation. It has been used on a broad range of applications among which the most important ones are in agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

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