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Definition of dicofol:
Dicofol belongs to the group of organochlorine pesticides. It's produced from DDT, therefore it has a similar chemical structure and similar properties[1].
This is the common definition for dicofol, other definitions can be discussed in the article



The main source of dicofol in the environment is its use as a pesticide used on a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, ornamentals and field crops. A total amount of over 2700 tonnes of dicofol is used around the world each year, of which 290 tonnes is used in Western Europe. The only European countries which do allow its use are Belgium, Spain, Portugal and France. There are indications that through atmospheric transport, dicophol used in other continents might also end up in the North Sea. [1]

The degradation of dicofol in soil is moderately slow, with a half-life of 30 to 60 days. In water systems and soils with a high organic matter content, the half-life can reach 84 days. Like DDT, it also has a high affinity to lipids, which causes it to adsob to organic particles rather than dissolve in water. It's also highly bioaccumulative, and biomagnifying, therefore it poses a greater threat to high trophic level species such as birds and mammals.

Dicofol has been shown to be highly toxic for marine species. Fishes can die by chronic exposure to concentrations above 4,5 µg/l and concentrations above 12 µg/l can cause acute toxicity. In birds exposure to 20 mg of dicofol per kg body weight can cause eggshell thinning. It has also been shown to be a endocrine disrupting compound: male juvenile birds with a daily food intake of 5 mg dicofol per kg body weight showed effects of feminisation, which affected their mating behaviour and reproduction success[1].

Environmental standards and legislation

Included in the OSPAR list of substances of priority action

Included in the water framework list of priority substances

See also

Dicofol on the ED North Database

OSPAR background document on dicofol


The main author of this article is Daphnis De Pooter
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.

Citation: Daphnis De Pooter (2020): Dicofol. Available from http://www.coastalwiki.org/wiki/Dicofol [accessed on 20-05-2024]