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Dicofol – toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Monday, December 04, 2017 by

Dicofol is an organochloride insecticide known largely for being chemically related to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT). This chemical is noted for being effective against the various types of mites that damage vegetable crops. Dicofol is equally notorious for being moderately toxic to mammals and for having a high tendency to bioaccumulate. These qualities have led to dicofol not being approved for use in countries under the European Union (EU).

List of known side effects

As an organochloride compound, dicofol can induce a wide array of symptoms when ingested or inhaled, primarily:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Hypersensitivity to stimulation
  • Incoordination
  • Mental confusion
  • Nausea
  • Prickling or tingling sensations on skin
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

In the event that overexposure occurs, the affected person can experience convulsions, enter a coma, or may even die from respiratory failure.

Dermal contact with dicofol can be just as dangerous. This chemical is a skin irritant, so repeated or prolonged skin contact can lead to skin sensitization, moderate skin irritation, or dermatitis.

Dicofol is a potential reproductive hazard. This designation is based on studies that have shown dicofol causing ovarian toxicity among female rats.

Honeybees, earthworms, birds, and fish are at high risk of toxicity when exposed to dicofol.

Body systems affected by dicofol

Dicofol can irritate the skin, eyes, respiratory and digestive systems, depending on the route of entry. If swallowed or inhaled, dicofol can effect the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Note that chronic dicofol exposure can lead to organ damage, making it all the more important to minimize contact with dicofol.

Items that can contain dicofol

Following its introduction into the insecticide market, dicofol has been marketed and sold under numerous brand names, which include:

  • Acarin
  • Carbax
  • Hilfol
  • Kelthane
  • Mitex
  • Mitigan

How to avoid dicofol

As per the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, the following practices should be adhered to in order to prevent dicofol exposure:

  • Wearing solvent-, splash- and impact-resistant gear when handling dicofol.
  • Immediately washing or showering the affected area on skin contact.
  • Using a special vacuum or the wet method to clean up dicofol in case of spillage.
  • Avoiding any activities that would increase the risk of swallowing or breathing in dicofol, namely eating, drinking, and smoking.

Where to learn more


Exposure to dicofol is highly dangerous as this chemical can irritate or even damage several organs and organ systems. To be more exact, dicofol can harm or even permanently damage the respiratory system, kidney, liver and central nervous system. Acute and chronic contact with this chemical has been found to cause dizziness, tremors, convulsions and even comas.

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