Heptachlor Epoxide

Portrait Of Young Smiling Worker
Heptachlor Epoxide was used to kill termites starting in the 1960’s. It was banned in 1988, but is still found in US water supplies. Safe Home offers a few kits that provide drinking water testing for heptachlor epoxide in city water and well water supplies.

Parameter Type: Drinking Water Testing for Semi-Volatile Organics

Parameter Name: Heptachlor Epoxide

What it is and Where it Comes From:

Heptachlor epoxide is a man-made compound used as an insecticide, that looks like a white powder. Heptachlor epoxide is created when a substance called heptachlor is released to the environment and mixes with oxygen. Between the 1960s and 1970s heptachlor was used to kill termites found in the home and farmers used it to kill insects found on farm crops, especially corn crops. In the late 1970s, the use of heptachlor was phased out. By 1988, the commercial sale of heptachlor was banned in the United States. The use of heptachlor is restricted to controlling fire ants in power transformers. Heptachlor tends to stay in soil for long periods of time. One study found heptachlor epoxide in crops that were grown in heptachlor-treated soil 15 years earlier. You can be exposed to heptachlor epoxide if you work in a job where heptachlor is made or at a hazardous waste site or landfill where it is disposed. You can be exposed to heptachlor epoxide if heptachlor was used in your home to control termites. It is possible that traces of heptachlor could linger if applied to soil underneath your home. Drinking water testing gives you several benefits like peace of mind, identifying contaminants in your water, and insight into health concerns. Safe Home offers Laboratory drinking water testing kits for heptachlor epoxide, allowing you to collect your water sample and ship it directly to our EPA-Certified Laboratory. This platform of drinking water testing for heptachlor epoxide will give you an accurate level based on the lowest level of a parameter our instruments can detect (Method Detection Level). Safe Home drinking water testing for semi-volatiles can be used for city and well water supplies. Drinking water testing should be done any time you notice a significant change in your water quality.

Health Effects:

The health effects from exposure to heptachlor epoxide will vary depending on how much you are exposed to and the length of time. There is very little information available about the short-term exposure to high doses of heptachlor epoxide to humans. But animal studies show that heptachlor epoxide is very toxic to humans and animals. Animals that were fed high levels of heptachlor during a short period of time experienced tremors and convulsions. Not much information is available about the health effects on humans from long-term exposure to heptachlor epoxide. But animal studies suggest that long-term exposure can affect the liver. The animals studied have shown enlarged livers, damage to liver and kidney tissue, and increased red blood cells. Heptachlor can enter the body if you eat and drink food, water, or even milk that is contaminated with heptachlor. Once in your body, heptachlor changes to heptachlor epoxide. Nursing mothers who are exposed to heptachlor epoxide may pass the substance on to their babies while breast feeding.

Solutions to Contaminant Levels:

After drinking water testing, what are my treatment options? The EPA approved method for treating heptachlor Epoxide in drinking water is granular activated carbon filtration system. A filter with granular activated carbon (GAC) is a proven option to remove certain chemicals, particularly organic chemicals, from water. Activated carbon is a porous material that removes organic compounds from liquids and gases by a process known as “adsorption.” In adsorption, organic molecules contained in a liquid or gas are attracted and bound to the surface of the pores of the activated carbon as the liquid or gas is passed through. Adsorption occurs on the internal surface of activated carbon, termed the adsorbent. During adsorption, liquids or gases pass through the highly porous structure of the activated carbon. The compound(s) to be removed, termed the adsorbate(s), diffuses to the surface of the adsorbent, and is retained because of attractive forces. The primary raw material used in the production of our activated carbons is bituminous coal that is crushed, sized, and processed in low temperature bakers followed by high-temperature activation furnaces. Activation develops the pore structure of the carbon. Through adjustments in the activation process, differentiated pores for a particular purification application are developed. Who do I need to contact to find out more information about water quality in my area? Every community water supplier must provide an annual report to its customers, known as a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). The report provides information on your local drinking water quality, including the water’s source, contaminants found in the water, and how consumers can get involved in protecting drinking water. How often does the local public water system preform drinking water testing? Frequency of drinking water testing depends on the number of people served, the type of water source, and types of contaminants. Certain contaminants are tested more frequently than others, as established by the Safe Drinking Water Act. You can find out about levels of regulated contaminants in your treated water for the previous calendar year in your annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).

MCL’s: 0.0002 ppm
MCLG’s: None

Drinking Water Testing - Parameter Types


Important Terms

  • MCL’s (Maximum Contaminant Levels) MCL’s are levels that set by the USEPA and are enforceable to Public Water Utilities, requiring additional treatment, when the levels are exceeded. These same guidelines should be at least considered, by owners of private wells. Some states have more strict guidelines than the USEPA. Not all parameters have MCL’s. If the parameter has an MCL, it’s listed.
  • MCLG’s (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals) MCLG’s are goals set by the USEPA that we should all strive for when consuming drinking water from any water supply. Concentrations of certain parameters (even below the MCL’s), are still not healthy for humans and animals to drink. These same guidelines should at least be be considered, by owners of private wells. Some states have more strict guidelines than the USEPA. Not all parameters have MCLG’s. If the parameter has an MCLG, it’s listed.
  • ACTION LEVELS ACTION LEVELS are a specified concentration of a respective parameter in drinking water, that is above a “treatment level” set by the USEPA. When these levels are exceeded, further treatment and monitoring is required by the respective utility who’s water violated this limit.Action Levels apply to parameter-rules such as but not limited to the Copper/Lead Rule.
  • PARTS PER MILLION (ppm) PPM is a scientific measurement which represents milligrams of the parameter being tested per liter of the respective liquid. Example: If Copper in your water supply is at a concentration of 1.00 mg/L, this is the same as saying the concentration is 1.00 ppm.
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