The release of lindane from contaminated building materials

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014 Oct;21(20):11844-55. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-2742-x. Epub 2014 Mar 21.


The release of the organochlorine pesticide lindane (γ-hexachlorocyclohexane) from several types of contaminated building materials was studied to assess inhalation hazard and decontamination requirements in response to accidental and/or intentional spills. The materials included glass, polypropylene carpet, latex-painted drywall, ceramic tiles, vinyl floor tiles, and gypsum ceiling tiles. For each surface concentration, an equilibrium concentration was determined in the vapour phase of the surrounding air. Vapor concentrations depended upon initial surface concentration, temperature, and type of building material. A time-weighted average (TWA) concentration in the air was used to quantify the health risk associated with the inhalation of lindane vapors. Transformation products of lindane, namely α-hexachlorocyclohexane and pentachlorocyclohexene, were detected in the vapour phase at both temperatures and for all of the test materials. Their formation was greater on glass and ceramic tiles, compared to other building materials. An empiric Sips isotherm model was employed to approximate experimental results and to estimate the release of lindane and its transformation products. This helped determine the extent of decontamination required to reduce the surface concentrations of lindane to the levels corresponding to vapor concentrations below TWA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / chemistry
  • Construction Materials / analysis*
  • Decontamination
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane / analogs & derivatives
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane / analysis*
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane / chemistry
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Temperature
  • Volatilization


  • Air Pollutants
  • pentachlorocyclohexene
  • alpha-hexachlorocyclohexane
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane