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Chlorothalonil – toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Thursday, December 07, 2017 by

Chlorothalonil is a wide spectrum chloronitrile fungicide that is used to control different crop diseases, which include rust, purple spot, leaf blight, anthracnose, downy mildew, ring spot, stalk rot, botrytis rot, pod blight, and stem blight. It can be applied on several crops, such as cereals, asparagus, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, onions, celery and cucurbits, corn, cranberries and melon, mushrooms, peanuts and potatoes. Moreover, this chemical is used as a wood preservative. It acts by inhibiting the spore germination and zoospore motility.

Chlorothalonil has the molecular formula of C8Cl4N2 and it can be physically described as a gray to colorless solid that is odorless to slightly pungent. It was first registered in 1966. The chemical is not only used on crops, but on some commercial grasses like golf courses. Furthermore, it can be found in residential products for ornamental plants and lawns. This chemical is most commonly used in agriculture.

List of known side effects

Some of the known side effects of chlorothalonil include serious eye damage and allergic skin reaction and it can be fatal if inhaled. Chlorothalonil can cause short-term health effects right after exposure, such as skin and eye irritation. Meanwhile, breathing in the chemical can irritate the nose, throat and lungs that lead to coughing, phlegm and/or tightness in the chest. Furthermore, chlorothalonil can cause long-term health effects that can occur at some time after exposure to the chemical. One of these is it may be a cause of cancer in humans as it has been shown to cause kidney cancer in animals. Moreover, it may cause nosebleeds and skin rash, and may affect the kidneys.

For its environmental side effects, it has been found to be extremely toxic to fish, aquatic invertebrates, and marine organisms.

Body systems affected by chlorothalonil

The body systems affected by chlorothalonil are the ocular, integumentary, respiratory and digestive systems.

Items that can contain chlorothalonil

The items that can contain chlorothalonil are those fungicide products that are used against Alternaria blight, anthracnose, botrytis, brown patch of turf, certain cankers, needle casts, certain scabs and curls, downy mildews, powdery mildews, scab, needle cast, snow molds, rusts and wood rot fungi. Some of the trade names of the fungicide products that use chlorothalonil as an active ingredient are Alto Elite, Amistar Opti, Bravo, Bravo 500, Cherokee, Chloro-thalonil, Credo, Daconil 2787, Exotherm Termil, Folio, Forturf, Joules, Merlin, Midas, Mold-Ex, Nopcocide N-96, Ole, Pillarich, Repulse and Tuffcide.

How to avoid chlorothalonil

A way to avoid skin contact with chlorothalonil is to wear protective gloves and other protective clothing such as suits, footwear and headgear. In order to avoid eye contact with the chemical, it is important to wear eye protection with side shields or goggles that is resistant to impact and splash. Since breathing in the chemical is also hazardous, the best protection is to enclose operations and provide local exhaust ventilation at the site of chemical release. Furthermore, since it can be ingested, avoid eating, smoking or drinking where the chemical is handled, processed or stored and wash hands thoroughly before eating, drinking, smoking or using the toilet.

Where to learn more


Chlorothalonil, a chloronitrile fungicide, is used to control various crop diseases, including rust, purple spot, leaf blight, anthracnose, downy mildew, ring spot, stalk rot, botrytis rot, pod blight, and stem blight.

Chlorothalonil can cause serious eye damage and allergic skin reaction.

Chlorothalonil can irritate the respiratory tract, causing cough, phlegm, and/or tightness in the chest.

Chlorothalonil is a suspected human carcinogen.

Chlorothalonil may cause nosebleeds and may affect the kidneys.

Chlorothalonil is extremely toxic to fish, aquatic invertebrates and marine organisms.

Chlorothalonil can damage the ocular, integumentary, respiratory and digestive systems.

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