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Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) - Final Regulatory Action
Hexachlorobenzene CAS number:
Date circular:

Chemical name: Benzene, hexachloro-

Final regulatory action has been taken for the category: Pesticide

Final regulatory action: The chemical is Banned

Use or uses prohibited by the final regulatory action:

Common Formulation:
HCB was used as pesticide and intermediary or additive in the industrial production. It is also a POP formed unintentionally.
HCB was used as wood preservative and fungicide for seed treatment in cereals such as wheat, barley, oats and rye. Moreover, was used as an intermediary or additive in several manufacturing processes, including production of a large number of chlorinated compounds, such as pesticides (may be an impurity in chlorotalonil and propanil (DCPA)).
Uses: Pesticide - seeds protection (fungicide). During manufacture of chlorinated pesticides, chlorine and chlorinated solvents, HCB can be generated as by-product.

Pesticide use or uses that remain allowed:

Import of this chemical is not authorised in Venezuela

The final regulatory action was based on a risk or hazard evaluation: No

Summary of the final regulatory action:

Law approving the Stockholm Convention, which is part of the legal framework of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
NOTE: The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has signed and ratified the provisions of the Stockholm Convention related to pesticides, stipulated in Art. 3 and Annex A of the Convention.
Act on Hazardous Substances, Materials and Wastes
In Article 7, prohibits all uses, importation and distribution of polluting organic-persistent chemicals, with the exception of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), which may be used in a restricted manner, and only by government agencies, under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and Social Development, and with the approval of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, in case of need to control epidemies. The list of polluting organic-persistent chemicals will be determined by the technical regulations and the international conventions, regulating this issue, ratified by the Republic.
Resolution of the Ministries of Health and Welfare, Agriculture and Livestock and Environment and Renewable Natural Resources
Official Gazette of the Republic of Venezuela
It is the duty of the national executive to watch for the public health, and the protection and preservation of the environment;
Organochlorine insecticides carry pollution problems of soils, water and air which should cause ecological imbalances in the environment;
as has been detected by the indiscriminate use of organochlorine insecticides, which results in public health problems by the permanence of these residues in foods of vegetal and animal origin.
For provision of the citizen President of the Republic and in accordance with the provisions of Article 36, paragraph 2 of the Organic Law of Central Administration, Article 10 of the National Health Act, Articles 4 and 5 of the Fertilizer Act and other Agents Susceptible to operate a beneficial action in plants, animals, soil or waters and Article 1 of the Sanitary Defense Law for Plant and Animal.
Article 1- Preparation, import, export, storage, purchase, sale and distribution of organochlorine insecticides are only allowed for the following uses:
1.Vector control for medical reasons, provided that its application is executed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare or under its supervision and technical advice.
2.Control of agricultural pests, wherever an emergency situation and its application is executed or directed by the Ministry of Agriculture and breeding.
3.Control of leaf-cutting ants and ants, only grainy formulations containing Aldrin and Chlordane and in direct applications to the ground.
4.Control of termite in formulations containing Aldrin and Chlordane.
Article 2- The Ministries of Health and Welfare and Agriculture and Breeding will publish timely, for the purpose of this Resolution, the list of the substances considered as organochlorine compounds.
Article 3- Those cases not covered by this resolution, will be remitted to the National Executive through Joint Resolution of the Ministries of Health and Welfare, Agriculture and Livestock and the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources.
Article 4- To obtain authorizations to import, formulate and trade organochlorine insecticides, will be followed the procedure established in the general regulation of pesticides.
Article 5- The relevant officials of the respective Ministries will ensure strict compliance of this resolution.
Article 6- The infractions to the provisions contained in the present resolution shall be punished according to the rules specified in the Law on Sanitary Protection of Plants and Animals, without prejudice of the application of other sanctions contained in the existing legislation.
Article 7- The present resolution will enter into force two months after the date of publication in the official gazette of the Republic of Venezuela.

The reasons for the final regulatory action were relevant to: Human health and environment

Summary of known hazards and risks to human health:

Acute: same to those of exposure to organochlorines
Prolonged exposure can lead to excite the central nervous system, abnormalities in the electroencephalogram and convulsions.
Classified as Group 2b by IARC (possible human carcinogenic), and also promoter of tumors.
Children exposed to contaminated bread showed low stature, atrophy in hands and fingers, osteoporosis and arthritic modifications. It is teratogenic in test animals. There have been tests in animals showing a relation with reproduction problems of males, adverse effects on the fetus and offspring.
Children breastfed by mothers who ate contaminated bread with hexachlorobenzene develop a disease that caused them skin lesions known as "pink ulceration". Others symptoms observed were weakness and convulsions. Many of the sick children died of this disease. Children older than 2 did not contract pink ulceration, but developed many abnormalities in the skin, nervous system and bones, later. Animal studies suggest that young animals are very sensitive to hexachlorobenzene. With lower doses than in adults, effects on the liver, nervous system and immune system were observed in young animals.
Classified as Group 2B by IARC, possible human carcinogenic, also appears to be a promoter of tumors. HCB can damage the development of the fetus, liver, immunologic system, thyroid, kidney and central nervous system. Liver and nervous system are particularly sensitive to its effects. The porphyry is a common toxicity of HCB. A high or repeated exposure to HCB can damage the nervous system and cause irritability, difficulty to walk and coordination, muscle weakness, tremors and needles sensation in the skin.

Summary of known hazards and risks to the environment:

HCB is strongly absorbed by soils, where it is not considered mobile. However, it has been indicated that can be transported in soils with low organic carbon contents.
HCB is a very persistent chemical in the environment due to its stability and its resistance to degradation. The biodegradation is scarce.
Degradation products:
HCB degradation products are 1,3-dichlorobenzene and 1,3,5- trichlorobenzene.
The volatilization of the compound in water is fast (semi disintegration 8 hours), but its strong absorption in sediments can lead to prolonged periods of persistence. If released into the atmosphere, HCB is present mostly in vapor phase and the estimated degradation is two years.
HCB accumulates considerable in the bodies.
Phytotoxicity: Non applicable.
Moderate and high toxicity for fish; not considered toxic for bees. It's strongly bioaccumulative and very persistent; it's strongly linked to soil and sediments. It has been estimated that its half-life in soil is 3 to 6 years. Not easily dissolved in water.
HCB is persistent in the environment; in soil its half-life is up to 6 years, and it has been measured in the atmosphere, in drinking water, food and breast milk. When adding dioxins to breast milk, the inclusion of HCB results in a TEQ (toxic equivalence factor total levels) higher than those obtained when measurements considered only dioxins and PCBs.
The particles of airborne dust containing HCB are a significant source of exposure near industrial areas. In the air of some cities levels of 0.3 mg/m3 have been estimated. In the years of peak use, between 1971 and 1976, the concentrations in lake sediments were up to 460g/kg. There have been traces of HCB as impurities in some pesticides (IPCS, 1996).
When HCB enters in the environment:
HCB can remain in the environment for long time. It degrades very slowly.
It adheres firmly to soil. Half of the total HCB in soil will disappear in 3-6 years.
Do not dissolves easily in water. Once in the water, adheres to sediment and is deposited on bottom.
Half of HCB on surface water will disappear in 3-6 years.
Under normal conditions, little HCB evaporates into the air. Once in the air, can be transported long distances.
HCB can accumulate in fish and other aquatic organisms.

Date of entry into force of the final regulatory action: 18/07/2005

Law approving Stockholm Convention
Ratification 03 January 2005, Official Gazette N 38.098, (Entered into force 18-07-05).
Act on Hazardous Substances, Materials and Wastes
LAW N 55
Official Gazette Extraordinary No. 5554 dated 13 November 2001.
Resolution of the Ministries of Health and Welfare, Agriculture and Livestock and Environment and Renewable Natural Resources
Official Gazette Extraordinary No 32741 dated 6 June 1983.