- Human pathology

Home > D. General pathology > Environmental and occupational diseases > chlordecone


Saturday 29 December 2018



Definition : Chlordecone (CD; Keponeā„¢) is a carcinogenic organochlorine insecticide with neurological, reproductive, and developmental toxicity that was widely used in the French West Indies (FWI) from 1973 to 1993 to fight banana weevils.

Chlordecone is an organochlorine compound and a colourless solid.

This compound is an obsolete insecticide related to Mirex and DDT. Its use was so disastrous that it is now prohibited in the western world, but only after many millions of kilograms had been produced.

Kepone is a known persistent organic pollutant (POP), classified among the "dirty dozen" and banned globally by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants as of 2011.

Chlordecone (Kepone) is a decachloroketone analog of the dodecachlorohydrocarbon mirex and is used as a stomach poison insecticide.


Despite the structural similarity to mirex, chlordecone is unlike mirex in general organ-specific toxic properties.

- Hepatic toxicity

Chlordecone is primarily accumulated in the liver, where it causes a variety of morphological and biochemical alterations.

Although less effective than mirex as a hepatotoxin, it causes liver enlargement, focal necrosis, mitochondrial changes, fatty infiltration of hepatocytes, and proliferation of endoplasmic reticulum.

Chlordecone accumulation and morphological alterations in the liver were also observed in occupationally exposed human patients.

Induction of hepatic microsomal mixed-function oxidases (MFOs) and impaired production and utilization of hepatocellular energy are the principal biochemical aberrations produced by chlordecone.

Chronic exposure causes carcinogenesis in mice and rats.

Hyperplastic nodules, which progress to hepatocellular carcinomas, are the principal pathological lesions. Acute and chronic exposures to chlordecone result in hepatobiliary dysfunction manifested as impaired excretion of anionic compounds accompanied by choleresis.

Exposure to chlordecone results of greatly potentiated haloalkane hepatotoxicity, representing a most potent toxic interaction at otherwise individually nontoxic levels.

In view of the demonstrated carcinogenic effect of chlordecone, such interactions at very low levels assume extraordinary significance in terms of chronic toxicological and pathological manifestations induced by combinations of toxic chemicals.

See also

- environmental pollutants

Paywall references

- Chlordecone-induced hepatic dysfunction.
Mehendale HM.
J Toxicol Environ Health. 1981 Nov-Dec;8(5-6):743-55. doi : 10.1080/15287398109530110
PMID: 6175767 Review.