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The Dangers of Chlorpyrifos

Jun  7, 2021

Chlorpyrifos is an insecticide used to control pests, like termites, mosquitoes, and roundworms. Its scientific name is an organophosphate. So, How People Are Exposed? It has been determined that If you live or work near an agricultural area, chlorpyrifos particles can drift from nearby fields into your location by just a mere breeze. 

Dangers of chlorpyrifos to adults

Scientists have discovered that exposure to small amounts of the chemical can cause a wide range of symptoms from runny nose, excessive salivation, drooling, and headaches, tearing of the eyes, dizziness, and nausea. These symptoms can occur within 24-48 hours of exposure. However, as exposure prolongs and increases over time, vomiting, abdominal cramping, tremors, weakness, muscle twitching, and loss of coordination, diarrhea, and vision loss can develop. In extreme cases, unconsciousness, trouble breathing, and paralysis may occur. Scientists have also discovered that young people appear more sensitive to chlorpyrifos exposure than adults. 

Dangers of chlorpyrifos in infants

Extensive studies carried out show that babies who were born to mothers who lived close to fields treated with organophosphates and other pesticides were more likely to be diagnosed with autism or a developmental disorder. The risk grew way higher for babies who were exposed to pesticides during the last three months of pregnancy.

Studies further allude to information that by 3 years old, children with high exposure performed lower on a psychomotor development assessment than those with lower exposure levels.

Dangers of chlorpyrifos in animals

Chlorpyrifos exposure in animals like young mice, rats, and rabbits was linked to changes in social behavior and brain development as well as developmental delays in young laboratory animals. 

Exposure to chlorpyrifos may result in an Intermediate syndrome where signs appear close to 24 hours after exposure but can last several days or even weeks depending on the animals’ metabolism and tolerance to diseases. Signs from intermediate syndrome include weakness of the neck, front limbs, and respiratory muscles, diarrhea, muscle tremors, unusual posturing and behavior, diminished appetite, depression, and death. 


This dangerous chemical does not only cause harm to humans and other organisms but also the environment as it pollutes the air, water, and plants that we feed on. Chlorpyrifos is widely spread and its use is massive, therefore making it difficult to avoid it but eating organic fruits and vegetables may help limit your exposure. Wearing the proper PPE (respirators, gloves, and coveralls) is essential when working with chlorpyrifos in any capacity.

 Adamson Analytical Laboratories can be an excellent resource for analysis to get an idea of potential pesticide levels. Our pesticides multi-method can analyze over 600+ chemicals in one run down to ppb levels.

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