The Toxic Effects of Organochlorines


Organochlorines are compounds that contain carbon, chlorine, and hydrogen. Their chlorine-carbon bonds are very strong which means that they do not break down easily. They are highly insoluble in water, but are attracted to fats.

Since they resist metabolism and are readily stored in fatty tissue of any animal ingesting them, they accumulate in animals in higher trophic levels. This may occur when birds eat fish that have been exposed to the contaminant.

Organochlorines are some of the chemicals found most often in the hundreds of tests of human body tissue – blood, adipose tissue, breastmilk – that have been conducted around the world. Because of their chemical structure, organochlorines break down slowly, build up in fatty tissues, and remain in our bodies for a long time.

Pesticide residues on food are a major source of organochlorine exposure.

Table:  Nutraceuticals/Herbs that may reduce the toxic effects of Organochlorines






Phospholipid Exchange






Green Tea



[2] Crinnion, W. J. Chlorinated pesticides: threats to health and importance of detection. Altern Med Rev. 14(4):347-359, 2009.

Chlorophyll and chlorophyll-containing foods have been shown to increase excretion of fat-soluble persistent toxins (including organochlorines) via the feces. Increasing chlorophyll-containing foods or daily supplementation with chlorophyll can slowly increase the excretion of these compounds.

[3] Umemura, T., et al. Prevention of dual promoting effects of pentachlorophenol, an environmental pollutant, on diethylnitrosamine-induced hepato- and cholangiocarcinogenesis in mice by green tea infusion. Carcinogenesis. 24(6):1105-1109, 2003. Division of Pathology, National Institute of Health Sciences, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


    Print This Post Print This Post