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Dibromochloropropane

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Overview


Dibromochloropropane, also known as DBCP, is a nematicide Pesticide that was widely used agriculturally from 1955-1977 in the United States and was, at one time, the most heavily used pesticide in the US. DBCP was found to cause infertility in male workers who handled it regularly, and it is no longer produced in the US.

 

Just the facts


Physical Information

Name: Dibromochloropropane

Use: pesticide

Source: synthetic chemistry

Recommended daily intake: none

Absorption: ingestion, inhalation, dermal

Sensitive individuals: workers

Regulatory facts: no production allowed in the US

Chemical Structure



Structure retrieved from NIH

 

Chemical Description


DBCP is a colorless liquid with a sharp smell. It is not naturally occurring and was sold under the trade names Nemagen, Nemafone, Fumaxone, Fumagon, Nemabron and others.

Uses


Dibromochloropropane was widely used from when it was first synthesized, in 1955, until 1977. It was, at one point, the highest use pesticide in the US but all registrations for use were canceled in 1979 (#ATSDR). It was used to protect field crops, vegetables, nuts, fruits, nursery and greenhouse crops, and others from pests and especially from worms. DBCP was used extensively. In 1974 alone, around 9.8 million pounds were applied. From 1977-1979, DBCP registrations were suspended by the EPA which stopped most applications except for use on pineapples in Hawaii. In 1985, the EPA canceled all registrations (#ATSDR).

Health Effects


Acute exposure to high levels of DBCP have shown to cause kidney and liver damage as have chronic exposure. DBCP was canceled initially because it was thought to cause infertility in male workers. Lately, mush discussion has centered around whether or not DBCP is a carcinogen, especially whether it causes mammalian tumors and breast cancer (#Cornell University, 2007).

Environmental Effects


DBCP has the potential to leach into groundwater sources and the EPA has put strict limits on levels allowed in water supplies. See #ATSDR for more details.

External Links


References



Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors. "Pesticides and Breast Cancer: Dibromochloropropane (DBCP)". (2007). Accessed on 5-09-10.


ATSDR. Toxicologica Profile - Dibromochloropropane. Accessed on 5-09-07.

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