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Chlorpyrifos-methyl — toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Thursday, December 07, 2017 by

Pesticide Properties DataBase entry categorizes chlorpyrifos-methyl as an organophosphorous insecticide. The chemical is first introduced in 1966 and is used to eliminate various pests such as leaf rollers and cockroaches as well as flea beetles, termites and fire ants.

List of known side effects

Chlorpyrifos-methyl may compromise the body’s overall well being  through various exposure routes such as the respiratory tract, the digestive tract, and direct skin and eye contact. The insecticide is particularly harmful to the respiratory system and may trigger the onset of respiratory depression, tightness in chest, and wheezing as well as productive cough and fluid accumulation in the lungs. An article published on the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) website also reveals that prolonged chemical exposure may result in reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity and acute toxicity.

The hazardous insecticide is known to negatively affect digestive health as well. The article notes that ingesting the chemical may lead to nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps as well as diarrhea and incontinence. The harmful compound is also detrimental to the central nervous system and may cause headache, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Still according to the PANNA article, the compound may cause muscle twitching, general weakness, tremors, and reduced muscle coordination. Direct contact with the hazardous substance may also trigger the onset of severe skin irritation and serious eye conditions such as blurred vision and pinpoint pupils, which occurs when in normal light, the pupil of the eye constricts less than two millimeters.

An entry posted on the Pub Chem website has also showed that the toxic compound may impact waterways and threaten aquatic flora and fauna. The hazardous chemical is known to imperil certain species of fish, invertebrates, and crustaceans as well as aquatic plants, algae, and sediment-dwelling organisms. Chlorpyrifos-methyl is found to contaminate soil and groundwater too. The insecticide is notoriously toxic to birds and other mammals. Likewise, chlorpyrifos-methyl is detrimental to other beneficial organisms such as honeybees, arthropods, and earthworms.

Body systems affected by chlorpyrifos-methyl

Chlorpyrifos-methyl is particularly hazardous to the respiratory system. Likewise, the insecticide may wreak havoc on both the digestive tract and the central nervous system. The harmful chemical is found to affect skin, eye, and muscle health as well.

Items that can contain chlorpyrifos-methyl

Many commercially available insecticides — such as Reldan, Storecide, and Gustafson — contain chlorpyrifos-methyl. The chemical comes in emulsifiable concentrate formulations, and is widely used in many parts of Europe, Australia, and the United States.

How to avoid chlorpyrifos-methyl

A material safety fact sheet published by the Clearsynth website recommends using protective clothing, gloves, and respiratory equipment to mitigate direct chemical contact. The safety guidelines also recommend that workplaces install adequate ventilation and provide educational materials and posters to reduce the risk of exposure. Moreover, the data sheet advises that people exposed to the chemical be taken to an area with fresh air. Victims are also advised to thoroughly wash their eyes and skin should direct contact occur. The fact sheet also recommends using suitable containers during clean up to reduce workplace exposure at the event of an accidental spill.

Where to learn more


Chlorpyrifos-methyl triggers reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and acute toxicity.

Chlorpyrifos-methyl causes respiratory depression, wheezing, tightness in chest, and lung fluid accumulation.

Chlorpyrifos-methyl raises the odds of  diarrhea, incontinence,  seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Chlorpyrifos-methyl may also induce general weakness, reduced muscle coordination and severe skin and eye irritation.

Chlorpyrifos-methyl is particularly detrimental to the respiratory system’s overall health.

Chlorpyrifos-methyl also affects both the digestive tract and the central nervous system.

Chlorpyrifos-methyl negatively impacts muscle health and skin and eye condition.

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