Dieldrin - is it linked to cancer?

The most widely recognised classification of cancer risk from environmental factors comes from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). This agency assesses the risk of human cancer from environmental factors including chemicals, occupational exposures, biological agents and lifestyle factors.

In 1987, the IARC determined that dieldrin was ‘not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity’. However, when dieldrin was last reviewed by the IARC in 2016, its classification was changed to ‘a probable carcinogen’ based on ‘limited evidence’ for breast cancer in humans and ‘sufficient evidence’ for liver cancer in experimental animals. 

Some pesticides (like DDT) have previously been associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and multiple myeloma. However, this association has not been found for dieldrin.

Page last updated: Wednesday, 19 January 2022