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Carbetamide — toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Friday, December 15, 2017 by

Carbetamide is a pre- and post-emergence herbicide used against annual grasses and some broad-leaved weeds such as blackgrass, ryegrass, common chickweed, speedwell, meadowgrass, forget-me-not, red deadnettle and mayweed. Carbetamide is also a carbamate insecticide, which is a cholinesterase or acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor; it suppresses the action of acetylcholine esterase, and such chemicals are potent neurotoxins.

Carbetamide is widely used in homes, gardens and agriculture – it is applied to oilseed rape, beans, brassica, root crops, alfalfa and grapes. The first carbamate, carbaryl, was introduced in 1956, and has had wide use in lawn and garden settings.

Carbetamide is the common name for 1-(ethylcarbamoyl)ethyl N-phenylcarbamate. It has a molecular formula of C12H16N2O3.

List of known side effects

Most carbamates are extremely toxic to Hymenoptera (bees, ants, wasps and sawflies), as well as to birds, fish, aquatic invertebrates and earthworms. Additionally, it shows a low toxicity to aquatic plants and algae.

In human poisoning and exposure, carbetamide may be fatal if swallowed. It is also suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child. The side effects may range from mild to severe, depending on the level of exposure. These symptoms include:

  • Contraction of the pupils
  • Blurred vision
  • Lacrimation, or eye-watering (in low doses)
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea (higher levels of exposure)
  • Sweating
  • Profuse salivation
  • Tightness in chest
  • Wheezing
  • Increased bronchial secretions
  • Bradycardia
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Fasciculation
  • Paralysis
  • Anxiety
  • Ataxia
  • Respiratory depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Hypotension
  • Collapse
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Sweating
  • Peristalsis
  • Incoordination
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle twitching and tremors
  • Slurred speech

Body systems affected by carbetamide

Oral administration of carbetamide mainly targets the liver and thyroid, as seen in animal studies.

Items that can contain carbetamide

These are some of the products that contain carbetamide as the active ingredient:

  • Carbetamex
  • Crawler
  • Riot
  • Scrum
  • Legurame

Carbetamide may be found under other trade names, such as Carbetamex; Carbetamid; Carbethamide; D-n-ethylacetamide carbanilate; D-(-)-1-(Ethylcarbamoyl)ethyl phenylcarbamate; (Phenylcarbamoyloxy)-2-N-ethylpropionamide; (R)-N-Ethyl-2-(((phenylamino)carbonyl)oxy)propanamide; 1-(Ethylcarbamoyl)ethyl phenylcarbamate; 2-(Ethylamino)-1-methyl-2-oxoethyl phenylcarbamate; and 2-Phenyl-carbamoyloxy-N-aethyl-propionamid.

Manufacturers that supply products containing carbetamide include:

  • Makhteshim-Agan
  • Fenchemie
  • Rhone-Poulenc
  • May & Baker

How to avoid carbetamide

Avoid products that use carbetamide as an active ingredient. Handlers, mixers and applicators of carbetamide may be exposed to its fumes in the workplace. The following are some protective measures to avoid any contact with carbetamide:

  • Use this material only in well ventilated areas. In case of accidental aspiration, leave the area of contamination and go to an open area with fresh air. Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Avoid contact with skin or clothing. Wear a protective suit, chemical-resistant gloves and safety footwear or safety gumboots. Remove any contaminated clothing item carefully. Rinse the contaminated part of the skin with soap and water.
  • Do not get this material in your eyes. Wear goggles or a face shield. In case of contact, remove contact lenses (if applicable), then rinse with running water for several minutes. Seek medical help at once.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke near this substance. In case of swallowing any amount of carbetamide, give plenty of water to drink. Refer for medical attention immediately.
  • Refer to label instructions and workplace regulations regarding proper handling of equipment before applying chemicals.

Where to learn more


Carbetamide is a pre- and post-emergence herbicide used against annual grasses and some broad-leaved weeds. It is also an insecticide that is highly toxic to Hymenoptera (bees, ants, wasps and sawflies).

Carbetamide may be fatal if swallowed. It is also suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child. Oral exposure mainly targets the liver and thyroid.

Sources include:


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