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The “Dirty Dozen” POPs

The “Dirty Dozen”

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants identified an initial twelve chemicals or chemical groups for priority action. Links will open a new browser window.


Chemical or Class
Notes1
Aldrin Pesticide widely used on corn and cotton until 1970. EPA allowed its use for termites until manufacturer cancelled registration in 1987. Closely related to dieldrin.
Chlordane Pesticide on agricultural crops, lawns, and gardens and a fumigant for termite control. All uses were banned in the United States in 1988 but still produced for export.
DDT Pesticide still used for malaria control in the tropics. Banned for all but emergency uses in the United States in 1972.
Dieldrin Pesticide widely used on corn and cotton until 1970. EPA allowed its use for termites until manufacturer cancelled registration in 1987. A breakdown product of aldrin.
Endrin Used as a pesticide to control insects, rodents, and birds. Not produced or sold for general use in the United States since 1986.
Heptachlor Insecticide in household and agricultural uses until 1988. Also a component and a breakdown product of chlordane.
Hexachlorobenzene Pesticide and fungicide used on seeds, also an industrial byproduct. Not widely used in the United States since 1965.
Mirex Insecticide and flame retardant not used or manufactured in the United States since 1978.
Toxaphene Insecticide used primarily on cotton. Most uses in the U.S. were banned in 1982, and all uses in 1990.
PCBs Polychlorinated biphenyls, widely used in electrical equipment and other uses. Manufacture of PCBs banned in the United States in 1977.

Polychlorinated Dioxins and Polychlorinated Furans

Two notorious classes of “unintentional” pollutants, byproducts of incineration and industrial processes. Regulated in the United States under air, water, food quality, occupational safety, waste, and other statutes.

 

1 Adapted from the Public Heath Statements on certain chemicals by Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.