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Fenarimol — toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Saturday, December 02, 2017 by

Fenarimol is a pyrimidin-5-yl benzhydrol foliar agricultural fungicide that eliminates powdery mildew, dollar spots, snow molds, scabs, leaf spots and rusts. This compound belongs to the class of chemicals called diphenylmethanes. It was first reported in 1975 and was introduced in 1977 in Lebanon. Fenarimol has low acute oral and dermal toxicity, and no data is given on human poisoning side effects. However, it greatly affects the reproductive system of rats. It is highly flammable. Its vapors, when mixed with air, may cause an explosion.

Other names and synonyms of fenarimol include Rubigan-4; alpha-(2-Chlorophenyl)-alpha-(4-chlorophenyl)-5-pyrimidinemethanol; Rubigan 12 RC; and (2-chlorophenyl)(4-chlorophenyl)pyrimidin-5-ylmethanol. It is often supplied as a wettable powder or emulsifiable concentrate especially for fungicide preparations.

Trade names include Fenarimol technical, Lesco twosome flowable fungicide, Broadway fungicide, Riverdale patchwork, Rubigan 50 wsp, Rubigan 50W turf & ornamental, Rubigan A.S., Rubigan E.C., and Rubigan technical.

List of known side effects

Evidence show that fenarimol is a Group C possible human carcinogen (may cause cancer in humans). Some side effects of exposure to fenarimol or poisoning from it include hyperactivity followed by sedations, irritation including rash and erythema to the skin, mouth, throat, and eyes, headaches, cough, nausea, sneezing, nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, generalized weakness, numbness of hands, tongue numbness, polyreticular and bulbar neuropathy, and loss of deep tendon reflexes.

It is highly toxic to fish and other aquatic life forms such as crustaceans, fishes, molluscs and zooplankton. It is also toxic to aquatic birds and other animals that ingest contaminated water. Do not allow animals to ingest contaminated feeds or fenarimol-exposed water.

Body systems affected by fenarimol

The skin and eyes are most prone to exposure to fenarimol. It was also found to cause reproductive disorders in rats, mostly infertility. The chemical is known to cause teratogenic and oncogenic effects in laboratory animals. It inhibits testosterone aromatase activity resulting in irreversible infertility (male rat studies). Fenarimol is disruptive to the endocrine system and may be fatal even to humans.

Items that may contain fenarimol

Food items that may contain traces or residues of fenarimol include bananas, cherries, filberts, grapes, pears. Other plants such as ornamental trees and flowers and turf may have traces of the toxic chemical as well.

How to avoid fenarimol

Fenarimol is mainly used as an agricultural fungicide, therefore occupational hazards are likely. Do not touch the chemical with bare hands or allow eyes to catch its dust. Avoid inhaling the dust or its vapors. Fenarimol is a toxic chemical and should not be ingested at all costs.

Exposure is part of the occupational hazard, and first aid measures must be taken. Protective gear is necessary. These include chemical gloves, boots, chemical suit, goggles and full-face respirator (see picture above). Accidental exposure and poisoning must be treated immediately. Exposed individuals must be examined thoroughly to identify any such abnormalities as consequence of poisoning. Symptomatic treatments must be administered only by a medical professional.

If the toxic chemical causes irritation to the skin, wash the affected part with soap and water. If eye contact happens, flush out the eye with clean running water for at least 10 minutes. In case of inhalation of vapors or dust, move victim to clean, open air, and instruct to stay in a resting position. In case of ingestion, deliver or transport the victim to the nearest emergency department. For all cases mentioned, seek medical attention as soon as possible to avoid fatality.

Where to learn more


Fenarimol is likely to be a carcinogen, and has many adverse effects when exposure happens through routes of exposure including dermal exposure, eye contact, oral ingestion and inhalation.

Fenarimol causes mortality in laboratory experiments, especially in aqueous species.

Fenarimol must not be ingested at all costs.

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