WHO/Food Add./68.30



    The content of this document is the result of the deliberations of the
    Joint Meeting of the FAO Working Party of Experts and the WHO Expert
    Committee on Pesticide Residues, which met in Rome, 4 - 11 December,
    1967. (FAO/WHO, 1968)

    Rome, 1968


    This pesticide was evaluated by the 1966 Joint Meeting of the FAO
    Working Party and WHO Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues (FAO/WHO,
    1967). Since the previous publication additional information on the
    identity of dieldrin and the results of additional experimental work
    have become available. This new information and work is summarized and
    discussed in the following monograph addendum.


    Other relevant chemical properties            Per cent

    Technical dieldrin contains:

         HEOD                                       87.0

         other polychloroepoxyoctahydro 
         dimethanonaph thalenes (endrin)             3.5

         HHDN                                        2.0

         octachlorocyclopentene                      0.4

         hexachloroethane                  less than 0.1

         hexachlorobutadiene                         0.5

         carbonyl compounds (1)                        2

         toluene                                     0.6

         benzene                                     none

         acetic acid                                 0.2

         other compounds (2)                         3.7

    (1)  At least three carbonyl compounds are indicated by the infrared
         spectra. The quantitative approximation was made on the
         assumption that these compounds are ketones, aldehydes and acids
         derived from HCCPD and HHDN.

    (2)  Primarily a complex mixture of compounds formed by polymerization
         of HCCPD and BCH during the aldrin reaction.


    Biochemical aspects 1

    In the rabbit, the urine is the major route of excretion of dieldrin
    and its metabolites, while in the rat, faecal excretion is more
    important; the principal metabolite detected in rat faeces is a
    mono-hydroxy substitution product (Hunter, 1966).

    A ketone metabolite of dieldrin has been found in the urine of rats,
    dogs and man. In contrast to the rabbit, transdihydroxy aldrin is not
    present in significant amounts in rat urine following administration
    of dieldrin (Hunter, 1966).

    Dieldrin was found in the urine of five men and five women with no
    occupational exposure to chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides. In the
    men, the mean concentration was 0.0008 ppm (range 0.0005-0.0014) and
    in the women, 0.0013 (range 0.0011-0.0019). In five men with high
    occupational exposure, the mean concentration was 0.0514 ppm (Cueto
    and Biros, 1967).

    The mean whole-blood concentration of dieldrin in ten men with no
    history of occupational exposure to dieldrin was 0.0014 ppm, with 61
    per cent carried in the serum. The mean concentration in erythrocytes
    was 0.0005 ppm (Dale et al., 1966).

    In 12 men with 3 to 12 years' high occupational exposure to dieldrin,
    the overall mean whole blood concentration was 0.08 ppm, with mean
    extremes of 0.036 to 0.118 ppm (Jager, 1967).

    Acute toxicity
                                     product of dieldrin        Dieldrin
    Animal            Route          LD50                       LD50
                                     (mg/kg body-weight)        (mg/kg body-weight)

    Mouse             oral           6.8                        77.3
    Rat               oral           9.6                        46.8
    Guinea-pig        oral           2.3-3.9                    18-30
    Pigeon            oral           75-100                     250
    Chicken           oral           80                         48
    Pheasant          oral           90                         -
    Dog, male         oral           120-160                    120
    Dog, female       oral           80-120                     80-100
    (Brown et al., 1967)
    1 For further information see p. 109.

    The overall mean concentrations of dieldrin in quail and pigeons of
    both sexes succumbing to single doses or high subacute feeding levels
    were : 17.4 ppm (95 per cent limits, 15.9-19) and 20 ppm (18.1-22) in
    the brains, respectively; and 40 ppm (34.7-46.2) and 45.6 ppm
    (37.5-55.5) in the livers (Robinson et al, 1967)

    The results of studies of convulsion thresholds for strychnine and
    Leptazol in mice dosed orally with 15-60 mg/kg of dieldrin suggested
    that central, but not peripheral, nervous transmission is facilitated
    in acute poisoning (Natoff, 1967).

    Short-term studies

    Mouse. Groups of five males and five females were fed 1, 3 and 10
    ppm of the photoisomerization product of dieldrin for one month. There
    was no survival at 10 ppm and 2 animals died at 3 ppm. No apparent
    abnormalities were seen at autopsy (Brown et al., 1967).

    Rat. Groups of four males were fed 0 and 200 ppm of dieldrin for
    4-14 days and 2000 ppm of phenobarbital for 4-28 days. Similarly
    another group was fed the control diet for 4-28 days after 12 days'
    pre-treatment at 200 ppm. Similar ultracellular responses were seen in
    the dieldrin and phenobarbital treated rats, in the appearance of
    lipospheres in the hepatic cells, and the progressive marked
    accumulation of vesiculated smooth endoplasmic reticulum. Striking
    increases in the hydroxylation activities of liver microsomes were
    seen after only four days on the test diet. Examination of single
    animals suggested that the ultracellular hepatic structure had
    returned to normal 14 days after removal from the test diet, and that
    the microsomal hydroxylation activity was not different from controls
    after 28 days (Hunter, 1967).

    A three generation reproduction study was conducted, with groups of 10
    males and 20 females, and two litters produced per generation, at
    dietary levels of 0, 0.1, 1 and 2 ppm of dieldrin. Successive
    generations were composed of second litter animals. Parental animals
    in each generation were examined grossly and complete autopsies with
    histological examination were performed on selected 21 day old F3b
    animals. Twenty-one day mortality was significantly raised in the F1a
    pups at the 2 ppm level. No effect was seen at other levels or in
    other generations at 2 ppm, nor was any adverse effect seen in general
    appearance and behaviour, number of litters produced, average number
    of pups per litter, weights of parents and offspring, organ weight
    ratios and organ pathology, at any level (Hine, 1967).

    Groups of five males and five females were fed 3 and 10 ppm of the
    photoisomerization product of dieldrin for up to one month without
    apparent ill-effect. The biological half-life of the product was
    calculated to be 1.7 and 2.6 days for male and female rats,
    respectively, and the fat storage ratios were 0.45-0.47 and 0.76-1.8
    respectively (Brown et al., 1967)

    Monkey. Groups of five male rhesus monkeys (with one female added to
    the control group) were fed 0, 0.01, 0.1, 0.5, 1 and 1.5-5 ppm of
    dieldrin for 36 months. The study was continuing. The highest level of
    feeding was started at 5 ppm and was reduced to 2.5 ppm after 4
    months, and then to a calculated 1.75 ppm at the 9th month. Two
    animals died in this group, the first in the 4th month, with no cause
    attributed at post mortem (liver content of dieldrin, 10 ppm, muscle
    content 2.2 ppm); and the second died in the 6th month of "endocrine
    failure", with a dieldrin content of 9.4 ppm in the brain and 0.15 ppm
    in whole blood. The intake in a surviving animal from this group was
    then progressively increased to 5 ppm. One monkey in the 1.0 ppm group
    had a progressive anaemia. Blood samples from all groups showed
    evidence of the presence of pyrethrum and piperonyl butoxide, a
    formulation used in the laboratory for pest control. Use of the
    formulation was then discontinued (Zavon, 1966; Zavon et al., 1967).

    Dog. Groups of five males and five females, plus two supplementary
    animals of each sex at each dose level for EEG recording were given
    daily doses of 0.005 and 0.05 mg/kg/day of dieldrin for 52 weeks. The
    study was scheduled to continue for 2 years. Plasma alkaline
    phosphatase activity was significantly elevated in the high dose group
    from the 30th week. There was no difference in BSP retention between
    this group and the controls. No differences in general appearance or
    haematogical findings were noted between the groups. It is believed
    that whole blood levels of dieldrin in the 0.005 mg/kg/day group
    stabilized between the 12th and 18th weeks at around 0.008 ppm. Whole
    blood levels in the 0.050 mg/kg/day group had risen to about 0.05 ppm
    by the 18th month and remained somewhat slightly below that level
    (Hunter, 1966; 1967).

    Long-term studies

    Dog. A lifetime feeding study on dieldrin had been in progress for
    253 weeks, using one male and one female at 0 and 0.2 mg/kg/ body
    weight/day. Plasma alkaline phosphatase activity was greatly elevated
    in the test animals at 134 and 215 weeks.

    Whole blood dieldrin content is reported to have peaked at about the
    50th week in the test animals to about 0.4-0.5 ppm and by the 225th
    week was down to 0.065-0.08 ppm. No difference between groups had been
    seen in general health and behaviour, haematology, BSP retention and
    examination of urine (Hunter, 1966; 1967).

    Observations in man

    Groups of three adult males were given daily doses of 0, 0.01, 0.05
    and 0.21 mg of dieldrin for 18 months. None of the subjects showed
    signs of ill health and the results of clinical observations,
    measurement of serum alkaline phosphatase and erythrocyte and plasma
    cholinesterase activities, EEG and ECG recordings and
    electromyographic studies remained within normal limits during the
    test period. The blood and adipose tissue concentrations of dieldrin
    were found to be proportional to the daily dose, and it was believed

    that concentration equilibria were reached in the blood and adipose
    tissues during the 10th to the 18th months and the 9th and the 15th
    months respectively. It was concluded that the ratio of concentration
    in blood to concentration in the fat is about 1:156. The average
    adipose tissue concentration at the high level was 2.15 ppm vs. 0.21
    ppm in the subjects before the test period. During this period no
    significant changes in tissue concentrations of DDT or DDE were seen
    (Hunter and Robinson, 1967).


    Additional studies have shown that dieldrin produced no adverse effect
    in man given 0.2 mg/day for 18 months, and that 1.0 ppm was a no
    effect level in the monkey fed this amount for 36 months. However,
    studies have reflected a possible tumorigenic effect in mice. Also,
    there is a recent finding of a photoisomeration product of dieldrin,
    and for which no long-term toxicity studies have been reported. The
    Committee therefore adhered to the toxicological evaluation published
    in the last report1 which is repeated below.


    Estimate of acceptable daily intake for man

    0 - 0.0001 mg/kg body weight2

    Further work required

    Adequate data on the tumorigenic potential of dieldrin
    Toxicological studies on the photoisomerization product of dieldrin
    See also General Comments p. 3 and 4.



    Seed treatment of vegetable and grain crops leads in general to
    insignicant residues in the crop (0.02 ppm or less). (CCPR 1967a).


    General considerations

    Roburn, 1963, reported on an unknown compound on dieldrin-treated
    grass. This product is also formed by UV-irradiation on glass plates.
    Other unidentified compounds are formed as by-products (Scharf, 1963).
    Preparation of dieldrin conversion products in solution was described
    by Bird, 1961.

    1 FAO, PL:CP/15; WHO/Food Add./67.25

    2 Sum of aldrin and dieldrin by weight.

    The main irradiation product of dieldrin - called U.V.C.P. or P.I.P.D.
    occurs occasionally and in very small amounts.

        Concentration of P.I.P.D. in the Environment (Robinson at al. 1966)

    Nature of Sample         Average concentration  Detection         HEOD in
                             of P.I.P.D. in ppa     limit             ppm

    English mutton fat       0 - 0.004              0.001             0.07

    Australian mutton fat    none detected          0.0001            0.01

    Argentine corned beef    0 - 0.0018             0.002             0.015 - 0.16

    Crude edible oils
    and fats                 none detected          0.004 - 0.05      0.05

    Whole cooked meals       none detected          0.001             0.02

    Human fat (pooled)       none detected          0.00005           0.4

    Shag eggs (pooled)       none detected          0.0001            2.1

    Forage beet foliage      0.02                                     0.09

    Although P.I.P.D. is more toxic to some species than is HEOD (Brown et
    al, 1967), from these concentrations of P.I.P.D. it is tentatively
    concluded that the possible conversion of dieldrin by sunlight does
    not lead to significant increase of residues arising from use of

    The average dietary intake of dieldrin per person per day in the
    U.S.A. based on a food consumption rate of 4.4 kg per day is as
    follows :

                                        Daily Intake
                           milligrams                 mg/kg body-weight

                   1964-5    1965-6    1966-7      1964-5   1965-6    1966-7

    aldrin         0.001     0.002     0.001       0.00001  0.00002   0.00001
    dieldrin       0.005     0.007     0.004       0.00007  0.00009   0.00006
    Limited studies in southern England indicate the average dietary
    intake per person to be nearly 20 micrograms per day. (Robinson and
    McGill, 1966). Intake/person/day by air is about 0.2 micrograms and by
    drinking water 0.1 micrograms. The following table gives a survey of
    estimated daily intake and storage of dieldrin in occupationally
    exposed workers after an average of 2,562 hours of exposure (Hayes
    1967) :
                               Plasma     Fat       Urine

        Storage (ppm)          0.0411     9.48      0.024 (excreted)

        Intake (mg/man/day)    1.00       1.10      0.72

    General Population
        Storage (ppm)          0.0019     0.29      0.0008 (excreted)

        Intake (mg/man/day)    0.025      0.025     0.025
    The following table shows the average concentration of dieldrin in
    body fat of the general population in various countries :
    Country          Year       Storage level     References
                                  in ppm

    U.S.A.         1961-1962       0.15  )
    U.S.A.         1962-1963       0.11  )
    U.S.A.         1964            0.31  )
    U.K.           1961-1962       0.21  )        Hayes, 1966
    U.K.           1963-1964       0.26  )
    U.K.           1964            0.21  )
    India          1964            0.04  )
    France         1960-1961       -              Hayes and Dale, 1963
    Holland        1964            0.15           Wit, 1964
    Australia      1962-1963       0.05           Bick, 1967
    W. Germany     1960            n.d.           Maier-Bode, 1960
    Belgium        1966            n.d.           Maes, 1966
    New Zealand    1966            0.27           Brewerton, 1967
    In plants

    Metabolism of dieldrin in higher plants still has not been reported.
    Matsumura and Boush, 1967, isolated 10 Pseudomonas, Trichoderma and
    Bacillus sp. strains with high dieldrin-metabolizing activity from

    various insecticide-treated soils and found metabolism rates up to 88
    per cent. Aspergillus and Penicillium (Korte et al, 1962) as well as
    other fungi and Actinomycetes (Chacko et al, 1966) did not metabolize

    In animals

    Dieldrin is metabolized like aldrin by mammals (Mörsdorf et al, 1963;
    Korte et al, 1963; Brooks, 1966; Korte et al, 1966; Richardson et al,
    1967) to less toxic hydrophilic products which are excreted in faeces
    and urine. In animals this process at a given intake level results in
    the establishment of an equilibrium storage level.

    Repeated daily doses of 4.3 micrograms of aldrin-C14 (equivalent to
    0.2 ppm in the diet) to male rats leads to a saturation level which
    reaches a value as high as 0.15 ppm in the body. After 50 days,
    approximately the entire activity administered daily was also excreted
    daily which means that a saturation level was reached by that time.
    Subsequent oral doses did not lead to a higher concentration of the
    total insecticide in the rat. Up to 70 per cent of the activity found
    in the faeces and up to 95 per cent of that found in the urine
    consisted of metabolites. After administration ceased, the
    concentration in the body declined rapidly. Half the activity present
    had been excreted, mainly as metabolites, after 10 days and three
    quarters after 21 days. The time required to reach saturation is
    somewhat longer for female rats and the rate of decline is slower
    (Korte et al, 1963).

    Dieldrin is readily taken up by fish (bluegill and goldfish), and more
    than 80 per cent eliminated during a recovery period of two weeks
    (Gakstatter et al, 1967).

    Determination of residues in liver, meat and fat of sheep, both after
    various pre-grazing intervals and after various grazing periods
    following pasture treatment with dieldrin, showed that a suitable
    combination of pre-grazing interval and grazing period can be
    established, which will lead to negligible residues (CCPR 1967a).
    However, prior to 1966, mean residues of dieldrin in mutton fat in
    Great Britain were 0.4 ppm, caused by sheep dipping. Dieldrin residues
    in butter from Australia, Denmark, New Zealand and the United Kingdom
    were in the range from 0.01 to 0.03 ppm; in beef kidney fat from
    Argentina 0.15 ppm and from the United Kingdom 0.04 ppm (Report of the
    Government Chemist, 1964, 1965, 1966).

    Feeding studies with poultry, using very high dosages of dieldrin,
    have shown that under such conditions depot fat and egg residues
    occur. A study of residues under practical intake conditions has not
    been reported (CCPR, 1967a).

    In storage and processing

    Under some conditions of usage, dieldrin residues can appear in
    oil-producing crops, such as soybeans, cotton seed etc. All such crops

    can be processed using methods which effectively eliminate the residue
    from the oil and meal products (Smith et al, 1967). Viel et al, 1967,
    reported a 75 per cent reduction of residues by peeling and processing
    carrots. The first carbonation juice in processing sugar beets
    contained only 1.3 to 3.6 per cent of the residues originally present
    in the beets (Walker et al, 1965). Generally it has been shown that
    residue levels of dieldrin are reduced on peeling (Lichtenstein et al,
    1965; Stewart et al, 1965). The residue levels of chlorinated
    pesticides in potatoes and carrots are reduced up to 90 per cent on
    peeling (Robinson and Bush, private communication).

    Cooking of a hen carcass in water for three hours reduced the
    chlorinated insecticide residue content up to 90 per cent (Liska et
    al, 1967).


    Country                Tolerances, ppm             Crop

    Canada                      0.1          asparagus, barley, carrots, celery,
                                             corn, cranberries, eggplants, flax,
                                             grapes, horseradish, oats, onions,
                                             parsnips, peppers, plums, potatoes,
                                             prunes, radishes, red currants, rye,
                                             strawberries, tomatoes, wheat.

                                0.25         apples, apricots, beets, beet tops,
                                             broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage,
                                             cantaloupes, cauliflower, cherries,
                                             cucumber, gourds, kale, kohlrabi,
                                             lettuce, marrow, muskmelons, peaches,
                                             pears, pumpkins, rutabagas, spinach,
                                             squash, turnips, watermelons, winter

    German Federal Republic      The residue on edible crops may not exceed the
                                 lower limit of detectability of the analytical

    Netherlands                 0.1 *        fruit and vegetables
                       aldrin and dieldrin

                                 * The Netherlands tolerances listed in the Residue
                                 decree include the toxic metabolites and breakdown
                                 products. In the case of aldrin, dieldrin is
                                 considered as the main metabolite. In consequence
                                 of this a residue of aldrin + dieldrin together may
                                 not exceed the 0.1 ppm level.

    Country                Tolerances, ppm             Crop

    Sweden                      0.1          fresh fruits, fresh berries,
                             dieldrin        vegetables including potatoes.

    Switzerland                 0.1          potatoes

    U.S.A.                       Tolerances are for total residues of aldrin and
                                 its epoxide dieldrin, resulting from the
                                 application of aldrin or dieldrin in or on raw
                                 agricultural commodities.

                                0.1          in or on apples, apricots, asparagus,
                            aldrin and       bananas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts
                             dieldrin        cabbages carrots, cauliflower,
                                             cherries, cranberries, cucumbers,
                                             eggplants, grapes, horseradish,
                                             lettuce, mangoes, nectarines, onions,
                                             parsnip, peaches, pears, peppers,
                                             pimentos, plums (fresh prunes),
                                             potatoes, quinces, radishes, radish
                                             tops, salsify roots, strawberries,
                                             summer squash, sweet potatoes,

                                zero         in or on alfalfa, beans, black-eyed
                                             peas, cantaloups, clover, collards,
                                             corn grain, corn forage, cowpeas,
                                             cowpea hay, endive (escarole), garden
                                             beets, garden beet tops, grain sorghum,
                                             grain sorghum forage, kale, kohlrabi,
                                             lespedeza, mustard greens, peas, pea
                                             hay, popcorn, rutabagas, salsify tops,
                                             spinach, soybeans, soybean hay, Swiss
                                             chard, turnips, turnip tops.

    Additional tolerances for residues of
    dieldrin are established, on an interim
    basing pending referral to an advisory
                                0.1          in or on stray of barley, oats, rye
                                             and wheat.

                                0.05         in or on grapefruit, lemons, limes,
                                             oranges and tangerines.

                                0.02         in or on grains of barley, oats, rye
                                             and wheat.

    Temporary tolerances

    Since the 1966 FAO/WHO Joint meeting, the first extensive data on
    total diet studies (Duggan, 1967) have become available from the
    U.S.A. showing that the actual intake of aldrin and dieldrin is about
    60 times lower than that calculated from the tolerances established in

    In the light of the new data presented at this meeting, the temporary
    tolerances listed in the following table are recommended for combined
    residues of aldrin and dieldrin in commodities moving in international

    Commodity                             Temporary tolerance, ppm

    Fresh vegetables                                  0.1
    (from intentional and approved
    use) and in so far as aldrin or
    dieldrin have to be and are
    allowed to be used in individual
    countries on specific crops within
    this category.

    Fresh fruits                                      0.1

    Citrus                                            0.05

    Rice                                              0.05

    The recommended temporary tolerances are based on the requirements for
    good agricultural practice and are of the same order of magnitude as
    those in effect at present in the U.S.A.

    Practical residue limits

    The meeting noted the comments made by some member countries of the
    Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR, 1967b) on needs for
    practical residue limits, but did not have data available on the
    actual residues in these products from most of the countries
    concerned. However, in a review of previous actions, the meeting
    agreed to recommend a temporary revision as follows :

                                            Total Combined Residue
                                            Aldrin plus Dieldrin, ppm

    Cereal grains (except rice)       -     0.02

    Milk, whole                       -     0.005

                                      Total Combined Residue
                                      Aldrin plus Dieldrin, ppm

    Milk products (fat basis)         -     0.125

    Meat (fat basis)                  -     0.2

    In the absence of experimental residue data, the meeting did not
    recommend practical residue limits for egg yolk, a subject which has
    to be reconsidered when new data are available.


    Further work required before 30 June 1972

    Data should be provided by countries on residues actually being found
    in various foods.

    Further work desirable

    The fate of both aldrin and dieldrin should be reinvestigated,
    including metabolism of these insecticides in plants. Additional data
    on food residues outside the U.S.A, would be useful to include residue
    data in egg yolk and meat. A continuing study of human fat residues
    and actual human intake is desirable.


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    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations
       Dieldrin (ICSC)
       Dieldrin (PIM 575)
       Dieldrin (FAO Meeting Report PL/1965/10/1)
       Dieldrin (FAO/PL:CP/15)
       Dieldrin (FAO/PL:1968/M/9/1)
       Dieldrin (FAO/PL:1969/M/17/1)
       Dieldrin (AGP:1970/M/12/1)
       Dieldrin  (IARC Summary & Evaluation, Supplement7, 1987)
       Dieldrin (IARC Summary & Evaluation, Volume 5, 1974)