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Just the facts

Physical Properties

CAS number: 6923-22-4

IMIS number: 2690

Molecular weight: 233.16

Molecular formula: C 7 H 14 NO 5 P

Melting point: 54-55°C

Boiling point: 125°C

Solubility: soluble in ethanol, Acetone, and water; practically insoluble in diesel oils and kerosene

Chemical name: dimethyl 2-methylcarbamoyl-1-methyl-vinyl phosphate

Synonyms: Apadrin, Azodrin, Biloborn, C1414, Crisodrin, Hazodrin, SO9129, Monocron, Nuvacron, Plantdrin, Pilladrin

Description: reddish brown solid with a mild ester odor

Chemical Structure



Monocrotophos is a highly toxic organophosphate insecticide that has been discontinued from use in the United States but is still used internationally, especially in Latin America (#EXTOXNET and #Strutchbury, 2008).

Health Effects

Main Article: Cholinesterase Inhibitor
Monocrotophos is a highly toxic, broad spectrum, fast-acting cholinesterase inhibiting organophosphate insecticide with both systemic and residual contact actions (#OSHA and #INCHEM. It is highly toxic via all three routes of exposure - oral, dermal, and through inhalation (#PAN UK). The oral LD 50 17 mg/kg in male rats and 20 mg/kg in female rats (#OSHA).

Early symptoms of poisoning may include excessive sweating, headache, weakness, giddiness, nausea, vomiting, hypersalivation, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, blurred vision and slurred speech (#PAN UK).

Key Health Cases

From #Pan UK:

  • Brazil, Parana State
    Monocrotophos caused 107 of 412 reported incidents analysed in 1990, and the toxicology centre and health clinics also noted 1,650 incidents involving monocrotophos between 1982 and 1991 (#Dirnham, 1993).
  • Paraguay
    In a region where monocrotophos is one of the most commonly used active ingredients there have been numerous cases of pesticide poisoning; monocrotophos was identified as the cause of paralysis in children in cotton-growing areas by the Ministry of Public Health and Welfare which found that 2-3 weeks of frequent exposure caused paralysis in children and acute poisoning in adults (#Dirnham, 1993).
  • Egypt
    In a cotton growing region of Egypt the health of 14 farmers who spray was compared with a control group from the same region. Monocrotophos is widely used and 61% of those surveyed showed symptoms of chronic pesticide poisoning (#Dirnham, 1993).
  • Philippines, Cordillera region
    Monocrotophos was one of the pesticides widely used by farmers in a survey that found all farmers suffered some adverse health effects (#Cheng and Bagiu, 1993).
  • Indonesia
    In observations of 906 spray operations of 214 farmers commonly using monocrotophos and other OPs, over a three-month period, researcher found a significant increase-from two to fifty-fold-in the symptoms of pesticide toxicity during the spraying period. Of these spray operations, 21% brought on three or more neurobehavioural and intestinal signs of poisoning (#Hirschhorn, 1995).

Environmental Effects

Monocrotophos is highly toxic to birds and bees and moderately toxic to aquatic organisms (#EXTOXNET). It is biodegradeable and has a low environmental persistance (#EXTOXNET).

Effects on Birds

  • Argintina Use
    American biologists tracked a group of migrating Swainson's hawks to their wintering grounds in Argentina in the mid-1990s and found thousands of them dead from monocrotophos poisoning. One single application of monocrotophos poisoning can kill 7-25 birds per acre (#Strutchbury, 2008).

Produciton, Regulation, and Use

Monocroptophos is a widely used insecticide. The chemical, now out of patent, is produced by 15 manufactures around the world, but the company Novartis accounts for around 40% of that which is produced (#PAN UK). Monocrotophos is also manufactured and exported by companies in India, China, Brazil and Argentina. In India, for example, DowElanco makes monocrotophos in a joint venture with the Indian company NOCIL (#INCHEM). The total sales for monocrotophos accounts for 3% of all insecticide-product sales worldwide.

Monocrotophos is registered for use in 60 countries. Only 8 countries, which are responsible for 60% of its use, require detailed data on performance, chemistry, safety and environmental aspects while the remaining countries, accountable for 40% of use, only require "assessments, summaries, or very limited data" (#PAN UK).

The use of monocrotophos on potatoes and tomatoes was withdrawn in the United States in 1985 and then all applications were discontinued in 1988 (#EXTOXNET). Additionally, it is banned from use in the EU,

It is mainly used against cotton pests, but can also be used on citrus, olives, rice, maize, sorghum, sugar cane, sugar beet, peanuts, potatoes, soya beans, vegetables, ornamentals, tobacco, coffee, bananas, melons, green beans, bell peppers, and strawberries (#PAN UK and #Strutchbury, 2008).


From #OSHA

  • Avoid skin contact and air exposure to monocrotophos.
  • Avoid skin contact with all solvents.
  • Wear safety glasses at all times.


Dinham, B., The Pesticide Hazard: A global health and environmental audit, Zed Books, London and New Jersey, 1993, pp 87-88.

Cheng, Dr. Charles L., Medical Director, Baguio Philipino-Chinese General Hospital, Baguio city, Philippines 'Pesticides and Hazardous Effects on the Benguet Vegetable Farmers, 1993, (In Dinham, 1995 pp 76-7. Op. cit. 22.)

Hirschhorn, Norbert, 'Study of the Occupational Health of Indonesian Farmers who Spray Pesticides, the Indonesian National IPM Program', FAO (UTF/INS/067/INS), Jakarta, August 1993 (In Dinham, 1995, pp 59-60). Op. cit 5.)

Extension Toxicology Network. "Pesticide Information Profile - Monocrotophos". Revised 9/95.

Pesticide Action Network-United Kingdom. "Monocrotophos". This article first appeared in Pesticides News No.38, December 1997, p20-21.

International Programme on Chemical Safety. " MONOCROTOPHOS HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDE". 1993.

Bridget Stutchbury, "Did Your Shopping List Kill a Songbird?". The New York Times, March 30, 2008.

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