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Just the facts

Physical Information

Name: Dimethoate

Use: insecticide

Source: synthetic chemistry

Recommended daily intake: none

Absorption: dermal, inhalation

Sensitive individuals: workers

Toxicity/symptoms: moderately toxic

Chemical Structure

Structure retrieved from PAN.


Dimethoate is a widely used organophosphate insecticideused to kill insects on contact. It was first used in the 1960s after it was patented by American Cyanamid. It is moderately toxic to workers though there is little concern about accidental ingestion.


Dimethoate is a widely used organophosphate insecticide used to kill mites and aphids among other insects and is applied on citrus, cotton, fruit, olives, potatoes, tea, tobacco and vegetables (#EPA and #PAN-UK). It is also used on flies in home gardens and on livestock.

From #PAN-UK:
In the US, it has 166 approved labels(9). Its trade names include Afidox (produced by Lucava), Cekutoate (Cequisa), Perfekthion (BASF), Rogor (Isagro), Dimezyl (Agriphar), Hilthioate (Hindustan), and Teeka (Nagarjuna Agrichem)(10). The large number of producers and products reflect the fact that it is one of the most commonly used insecticides in agriculture. In 1998, there were 16,250 metric tonnes of sales globally, with a value of $US 180 million(11).

Health Effects

The population as a whole is not generally subject to exposure to dimethoate from air, water or food(21); however occupational exposure may occur during manufacture, formulation and use. This mainly occurs through inhalation and dermal absorption, although occupational exposure can occur by accident or as a result of incorrect handling (#PAN-UK).

Acute Toxicity
Symptoms of acute poisoning of dimethoate are common with all other Organophosphates and revolve around cholinesterase inhibition. It is considered not as toxic as many other Organophosphates.

Chronic Toxicity
Chronic effects result in some of the same symptoms as the acute effects.
There was not enough evidence of teratogenic, carcinogenic, or reproductive effects on humans to state anything definatevely but it may have negative effects on all three of the categories listed above. Studies on rats and mice have shown certain negative reproductive and carcinogenic effects (#EXTOXNET).

Environmental Effects

Dimethoate is highly mobile in the soil, labeled as a class II Moderately Toxic insecticide, somewhat persistent, and is not often found in large quantities in water (#EPA EFAD Dimethoate Team). It is however, highly toxic to honeybees, moderately to highly toxic to birds, and moderately toxic to aquatic organisms (#EXTOXNET PIP).

External Links


EPA EFED Dimethoate Team. "Reregistration Eligibility Document on Dimethoate". January 23, 1998. Accessed 5-22-07.

Extension Toxicology Network. Pesticide Information Profiles - Dimethoate. Accessed 5-22-07.

Pesticides Action Network. Dimethoate Fact Sheet. Accessed 5-22-07.

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