Acephate – toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Thursday, December 07, 2017 by

Acephate is an insecticide that belongs to the organophosphate group of chemicals. It is typically used as a foliar spray against chewing and sucking insects, such as aphids, leaf miners, Lepidopterous larvae, sawflies, and thrips on fruits, vegetables, potatoes, sugarbeet, vines, rice, hops, ornamentals, and greenhouse crops like peppers and cucumbers. It can also be applied on food crops and citrus trees as a seed treatment, on golf courses, and in commercial or institutional facilities. Acephate has been registered for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 1973. Acephate has the molecular formula of C4H10NO3PS.

List of known side effects

There are several known side effects of acephate. It can be harmful if swallowed, cause serious eye irritation, and can potentially damage fertility or the unborn child. Chronic or repeated exposure to the chemical can also cause damage to body organs. Furthermore, the EPA classifies acephate as a “possible human carcinogen” as it has been shown to cause liver cancer in animals. Repeated exposure may also damage the nerves, resulting to weakness, “pins and needles,” poor condition in the arms and legs, and may cause personality changes, such as depression, anxiety or irritability.

Acephate can also cause poisoning to humans. Similar to all other organophosphorus compounds, acephate poisoning can cause symptoms of excessive salivation, sweating, rhinorrhea and tearing. Moreover, it can cause muscle twitching, weakness, tremor, incoordination, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Furthermore, it can cause respiratory depression, tightness in chest, wheezing, productive cough, fluid in lungs, and pin-point pupils sometimes with blurred or dark vision. In severe cases, it can cause seizures, incontinence, respiratory depression and loss of consciousness.

For its environmental side effects, it is moderately toxic to birds, slightly toxic to fish and amphibians, and highly toxic to bees and other beneficial insects.

Body systems affected by acephate

The body systems that are adversely affected by acephate include the ocular, reproductive, muscular, nervous, excretory, digestive and respiratory systems.

Items that can contain acephate

Some of the trade names for products that contain acephate include Orthene, Asataf, Pillarthene, Kitron, Aimthane, Ortran, Ortho 12420, Ortril, Chrevron RE 12420, Orthene 755, Tornado, Cekucefate, Sunphate, and Orthene. Products that can contain acephate may be sold in powders, liquids, granules, tablets and water-soluble packets.

How to avoid acephate

An individual can be exposed to acephate by breathing in the spray mist or getting spray or granules on the skin. Moreover, people may ingest acephate residues on crops that were treated with acephate. Therefore, in order to avoid acephate, follow label instructions carefully. Another way to avoid acephate exposure is to wear protective clothing, including gloves, footwear and headwear. For eye protection, wear indirect-vent, impact and splash-resistant goggles or a face shield with goggles when working with the chemical. Lastly, it is important to remember to wash hands carefully right after working with the chemical and refrain from eating, smoking, drinking in areas where the chemical is being handled, processed or stored.

Where to learn more

Summary

Acephate an organophosphate insecticide is used to control chewing and sucking insects on various plants and crops.

Acephate can be harmful if swallowed, cause serious eye irritation, and can potentially damage fertility or the unborn child.

Severe cases of acephate poisoning can cause seizures, incontinence, respiratory depression, and loss of consciousness.

Acephate can potentially cause cancer in humans.

Acephate is moderately toxic to birds, slightly toxic to fish and amphibians, and highly toxic to bees and other beneficial insects.

Sources include:

Sitem.Herts.AC.uk

NPIC.ORST.edu

PubChem.NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov

NJ.gov[PDF]

PesticideInfo.org

PMEP.CCE.Cornell.edu



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