EPA Designation Regulated
EPA Classification Organic Chemicals
EPA Levels 1,2 zero MCLG (mg/L)
0.003 MCLG (mg/L)
Alternative Names none
Sources Runoff/leaching from insecticide used on cotton and cattle
Toxaphene is a highly toxic, persistent and bioaccumulative insecticide anticipated to be carcinogenic to people, and banned from use in the U.S. in 1990.


Toxaphene, a synthetic organic chemical, is an amber, waxy organic solid with a piney odor.


Toxaphene was used as an insecticide for cotton and vegetables, and on livestock and poultry. In 1982, most of its uses were banned and in 1990, all uses were banned in the United States.

Health Effects

Some people who drink water containing toxaphene well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for many years could experience kidney, liver, or thyroid problems; increased risk of cancer.

EPA Data Source: Toxaphene

EPA Definitions:

1Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) - The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) - The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG) - The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

(TT) Treatment Technique - A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL) - The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

2 Units are in milligrams per liter (mg/L) unless otherwise noted. Milligrams per liter are equivalent to parts per million.