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DNOC — toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Saturday, December 02, 2017 by

DNOC, also known as 4,6-Dinitro-ortho-cresol, is an organic compound that appears as a slightly soluble, yellow solid. This multi-use substance had a variety of applications throughout the years, ranging from being utilized as a non-systemic stomach poison and contact insecticide to a contact herbicide. DNOC was widely used as a pesticide until 1991; that year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) canceled its registration because of the various health complications caused by DNOC.

List of known side effects

According to, DNOC can cause dinitrophenol compound poisoning, the symptoms of which include:

  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Malaise (General feeling of discomfort or illness)
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Thirst
  • Yellow coloring of the hands, nails, and hair

In the event that severe dinitrophenol compound poisoning occurs, the affected individual can experience hyperthermia, tachycardia (abnormally rapid heart rate), and tachypnea (abnormally rapid breathing).

As per the Pesticide Properties Database (PPDB), DNOC is “very toxic by inhalation, skin contact, and ingestion.” Animal experiments that involved chronically exposing rats to DNOC via ingestion lead to the animals displaying changes in their blood and urine, showing signs of increased organ weight, and loss of appetite accompanied by decreased weight gain. Some cases have even linked DNOC as the cause behind people experiencing bilateral cataracts or going blind. Moreover, DNOC can be absorbed though the skin.

Numerous organisms can be affected by DNOC. For example, birds have been observed showing signs of acute toxicity (e.g. tail tremors, tachypnea, and ataxia or lack of voluntary muscle movement coordination). DNOC can impact plants too, as was stated in a 2002 study. The study stated that DNOC could induce high phytotoxicity in plants, meaning that DNOC could negatively impact plant growth.

DNOC is combustible and can release irritating or toxic fumes when exposed to high temperatures.

Body systems affected by DNOC

DNOC is said to target the cardiovascular and endocrine systems, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Specifically, DNOC targets the adrenal gland, thyroid gland, and gonads (testicles and ovaries).

The ingestion of DNOC has been found to affect numerous other organs, namely:

  • Brain
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Spleen

Additionally, the eyes can be affected by DNOC too, as chronic occupational exposure has been found to result in cataracts and sometimes glaucoma.

Items that can contain DNOC

Prior to its cancellation as a pesticide, DNOC was marketed under a variety of different names, most notably:

  • Dekrysil
  • Detal
  • Lipan
  • Nitrador
  • Sinox
  • Trifocide
  • Trifrina

Furthermore, the following companies are known to have manufactured and supplied DNOC in the past:

  • AH Marks
  • Blue Spruce
  • Cerexagri Inc.
  • Pennwalt Holland

How to avoid DNOC

There are numerous steps an individual can take to minimize their exposure or contact with DNOC. As per the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, these include:

  • Wearing the appropriate protective personal clothing  Chemical-resistant gloves, headgear, and footwear are highly recommended. If necessary, wear respirators. Clothing that has been contaminated by DNOC should not be brought home for cleaning as this risks exposing other people to this chemical.
  • Equip the immediate work area with the necessary facilities — Eye wash fountains and showers should be provided in case of emergencies. Explosion-proof electrical equipment and fittings should be utilized wherever DNOC is used, handled, or stored.
  • Follow handling and storage procedures — Store DNOC in a tightly closed container and keep it in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated area as far from ignition sources as possible.

Where to learn more


DNOC is a multi-use substance that is no longer widely distributed due to the wide array of health problems and risks associated with its usage. For one, exposure to DNOC has been known to induce acute toxicity, with the symptoms ranging from headache to fever to general discomfort. Moreover, DNOC targets various organs and organ systems, such as the cardiovascular and endocrine systems.

Apart from humans, DNOC has been found to harm other organisms, namely birds, fish, and plants.

Sources include:


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