Fenthion – toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Saturday, December 02, 2017 by

Fenthion, previously known as DMTP, is a contact and stomach organophosphate insecticide that is used to control a lot of sucking, biting pests, especially fruit flies, stem borers, mosquitoes, and Eurygaster cereal bugs. Like all other organophosphate insecticides, it works by targeting the nervous system of the pests and inhibiting acetylcholinesterase or AchE, an enzyme that hydrolyzes acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a molecule that transmits nervous signals from nerves to muscles and between neurons in the brain.

This insecticide is considered as a moderately toxic compound and is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) because it needs special handling warranted by its toxicity. Fenthion is sold in different formulations, such as in dust, emulsifiable concentrate, granular, liquid concentrate, spray concentrate, ULV, and wettable powder. Fenthion has the molecular formula of C10H15O3PS2.

List of known side effects

The chemical can be absorbed by the body through the exposure routes, such as inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, and eye contact. Moreover, prolonged or repeated exposure to fenthion may be detrimental to body organs. Similar to other organophosphate chemicals, fenthion poisoning may cause excessive salivation, sweating, rhinorrhea, tearing, muscle twitching, weakness, tremor, incoordination, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, respiratory depression, tightness in chest, wheezing, productive cough, fluid in lungs, and pin-point pupils, oftentimes with blurred or dark vision. In extreme situations, it can cause seizures, incontinence, respiratory depression, and loss of consciousness.

For it’s environmental side effects, fenthion is moderately toxic to mammals and extremely toxic to birds. In addition, it is extremely toxic to the aquatic environment.

Body systems affected by fenthion

There are several body systems that fenthion can adversely affect. These include the exocrine system because it causes salivation, excessive secretion of tears or lacrimation, and sudoration or excessive sweating. It also include the ocular system as it causes miosis and uncontrolled eye movements. Moreover, it affects the digestive system because it causes nausea, vomit, diarrhea, tenesmus, and fecal incontinence. The cardiovascular system is also affected because it causes bradycardia or low heart rate and low blood pressure. It also affects the respiratory system as it results to bronchoconstriction, bronchospasms, cough, low breathing rate, and shortness of breath. In addition, it negatively affects the urinary system as it causes frequent urination. Fenthion also adversely affects the nervous system, particularly the central nervous system. It may cause lethargy, fatigue, trembling, spasms, and coma with respiratory paralysis. Another body system that fenthion can negatively affect is the integumentary system as it may cause irritation on the skin.

Items that can contain fenthion

Some of the products that can contain fenthion are sold under the trade names of Bay 29493, Baycid, Baytex, Dalf, DMTP, Entex, Lebaycid, Mercaptophos, Prentox Fenthion 4E, Queletox, S 1752, Spotton, Talodex, and Tiguvon.

How to avoid fenthion

There are several ways on how to protect oneself from fenthion exposure, especially for workers who handle the chemical. One of these ways is to have a proper ventilation or local exhaust in the workplace and a breathing protection are needed in order to avoid breathing in the chemical. To avoid contact with the skin, wear protective gloves and protective clothing that are impermeable and resistant to the product. Since it can also be harmful to the eyes, it is advised to wear a face shield or an eye protection together with breathing protection in order to avoid it getting in contact with the eyes. Lastly, to avoid ingesting the chemical, refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking during work. It is also important to wash hands before eating and at the end of the work.

Where to learn more

Summary

Fenthion is an organophosphate insecticide that is used to control a lot of sucking, biting pests, especially fruit flies, stem borers, mosquitoes, and Eurygaster cereal bugs. It works as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.

Fenthion may cause excessive salivation, sweating, rhinorrhea, tearing, muscle twitching, weakness, tremor, incoordination, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, respiratory depression, tightness in chest, wheezing, productive cough, fluid in lungs, and pin-point pupils, oftentimes with blurred or dark vision.

Fenthion can lead to seizures, incontinence, respiratory depression, and loss of consciousness in severe cases.

Fenthion is toxic to mammals, birds, and the aquatic environment.

Fenthion can affect the exocrine, ocular, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, nervous, and integumentary systems.

Sources include:

PMEP.CCE.Cornell.edu

PubChem.NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov

PesticideInfo.org

Parasitipedia.net

CDC.gov



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