Azinphos-methyl – toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Friday, November 17, 2017 by

Azinphos-methyl, more commonly known as guthion, is classified as an organophosphorous pesticide. The chemical is characterized by its colorless brown, waxy or white crystalline solid appearance. The pesticide is primarily used as a foliar application agent against leaf feeding insects, mites and ticks as well as snails and slugs. The hazardous chemical works as a direct insecticide and as a stomach poison for pests. According to a Pub Chem article, the pesticide is commonly dissolved in a liquid carrier.

List of known side effects

Azinphos-methyl exposure may occur through various routes such as respiratory tract, digestive tract and direct skin and eye contact. The organophosphorous pesticide is particularly detrimental to the lungs and may cause respiratory depression, tightness in chest and wheezing, as well as productive cough and fluid accumulation in the organs. Ingesting the harmful chemical may also result in various gastrointestinal conditions such as nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps, as well as diarrhea and incontinence.

Data from the Pesticide Action Network North America website also reveal that azinphos-methyl exposure may lead to reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and acute toxicity. Likewise, the toxic chemical is found to negatively impact the central nervous system. Azinphos-methyl exposure is shown to trigger headache, seizures and loss of consciousness.

The hazardous pesticide is also known to cause muscle twitching, general weakness, tremor and reduced muscle coordination. Moreover, direct contact with the harmful compound is associated with the onset of severe skin irritation and serious eye conditions such as blurred vision and pinpoint pupils.

Azinphos-methyl is found to contaminate water ways and affect aquatic ecosystems and animals as well. An Extension Toxicology Network entry adds that the pesticide is highly toxic to birds and other mammals.

Body systems affected by azinphos-methyl

Azinphos-methyl is particularly harmful to the respiratory system’s overall health. Likewise, the toxic chemical is found to impact the digestive tract and the central nervous system. The pesticide is also known to negatively affect the muscular system and both eye and skin health.

Items that can contain azinphos-methyl

Azinphos-methyl is the primary ingredient in many commercially available pesticides across the U.S. The harmful pesticide is currently available in emulsifiable liquid, liquid flowable, ULV liquid and wettable powder formulations. It is commonly used in a variety of crops such as almonds, apples and peaches as well as cherries, pears and cotton. Likewise, the pesticide is used in field crops, ornamental plants, tobacco and forest and shade trees.

How to avoid azinphos-methyl

Experts advise that pesticide users wear protective clothing, eye gear and breathing equipment to prevent direct exposure. It is also recommended that people who inhaled the chemical be taken to an area with fresh air. People who had direct eye and skin contact are advised to thoroughly wash their eyes and affected skin area. Experts also suggest inducing vomiting only when the victim is conscious. Moreover, health experts recommend that the chemical be placed in a sealed container should users accidentally spill it, in order to reduce the risk of environmental contamination.

Where to learn more


Azinphos-methyl causes respiratory depression, tightness in chest and respiratory fluid accumulation.

Azinphos-methyl triggers gastrointestinal conditions, seizures and loss of consciousness.

Azinphos-methyl reduces muscle coordination and causes severe skin and eye conditions.

Azinphos-methyl is harmful to both the respiratory and central nervous systems.

Azinphos-methyl also affects the skin, eyes, the digestive tract and the muscular system.


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