The “Sitch” on Chlordane in Sediment

Chlordane in Tecolote Canyon?

Especially during a time of changing environmental protection legislation, it remains important to discuss the long-lasting presence of many pesticides and other pollutants. In an analysis of chlordane, a termite pesticide, in both Tecolote Canyon and Tijuana River locations, the class of Environmental Chemistry at the University of San Diego revisited an evaluation of chlordane in sediment as originally researched in 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012, and 2014.

Where did the Chlordane come from?

Previous ignorance regarding health and environmental effects of pesticides lead to the over-spraying of pesticides such as chlordane. As a result, many pesticides still remain in the sediment and other biological “sinks” even hundreds of years after its initial introduction to the environment. The various attributes of the sediment facilitate the degree to which pesticides can remain in soil. Chlordane, for example, usually “adsorb[s] to clay particles or to soil organic matter in the top soil layers and slowly volatilize[s] into the atmosphere”.

How does Chlordane affect human health?

Chlordane causes harm to humans’ digestive and nervous systems. Causative symptoms include “headaches, irritation, confusion, weakness, and vision problems, as well as upset stomach, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and jaundice.” Chlordane has, also, been listed as carcinogenic by some sources.

How concerned should we be about Chlordane?

From our class’s sediment analysis, there was a range of 37.9-532.7 ppb chlordane within the canyon ranging from North Clairemon area, near a transformer box, the trail closest to USD, and the pond near the Tecolote golf course. There are no environmental regulations to limit the amount of chlordane exposure since it is quite literally present almost everywhere. Water regulations of chlordane requires less than 2.4 ppb – which is significantly less than recorded levels of chlordane in Tecolote Canyon.

Surely, nobody is going to drink sediment and intake these massive amounts of chlordane, but it does serve as a indication or warning to people to pay attention to possible environmental contaminants.



  2. Cornell University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, and University of California at Davis. “Chlordane .” Chlordane, Sept. 1993,

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