Dichlorvos

What is Dichlorvos?

Dichlorvos, also known as DDVP, is an oily liquid that is amber in colour. It is slightly soluble in water and has a mild aromatic/sweet odour. It is a dangerous poison that is only available for industrial and manufacturing uses. Dichlorvos does not occur naturally in the environment, but is instead manufactured synthetically.  

What is Dichlorvos used for?

Dichlorvos is most commonly used as an insecticide to control insects and parasites that invade greenhouses, barns, food storage areas, livestock and pets. It is sometimes used to control insects around the home and workplace and is not typically used to treat outdoor crops.

For these reasons, dichlorvos is found in surface sprays, dog flea collars and of course, insecticides. 

Due to its toxicity and the numerous potential hazards to humans and the environment, operators must be trained in procedures for the safe use of the material. It has also been banned in Europe since 2012. 

Dichlorvos is an active ingredient in some pet flea collars
Dichlorvos is an active ingredient in some pet flea collars

Dichlorvos Hazards

The routes of exposure for dichlorvos include; inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact. 

Inhalation of mists/fumes generated by dichlorvos can cause severely toxic effects. If a relatively small amount is absorbed by the lungs, it can be fatal. Symptoms of acute exposure to cholinesterase-inhibiting compounds may include numbness, tingling sensations, incoordination, headaches, dizziness, tremors, nausea, sweating, blurred vision among others. The chance of inhaling the chemical increases at higher temperatures. 

If dichlorvos is ingested, symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, anorexia, abdominal cramps, headache, giddiness, blurred vision and diarrhoea. Delayed symptoms may also occur 1 to 4 weeks after the acute exposure and those might include; numbness, tingling, weakness, cramping of the lower limbs, incoordination and paralysis. Improvement may occur over months or years, with possible residual effects remaining. 

Skin contact with the chemical may produce toxic effects. While dichlorvos is not thought to be a skin irritant, more harmful effects can occur as a result of absorption and open cuts and wounds must be kept away from the chemical to avoid entry into the bloodstream. Symptoms of skin absorption are the same as those for inhalation in addition to localised sweating of the skin. 

Direct eye contact with the chemical may cause irritation and lesions on the eye. Repeated or prolonged exposure may result in inflammation characterised by redness, temporary vision impairment and other transient eye damage. 

Based on studies conducted on animals, dichlorvos is a suspected carcinogen.

Dichlorvos Safety

If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source. Lay the patient down and remove any contaminated clothing. If the patient is not breathing and you are qualified to do so, perform CPR (preferably with a demand valve resuscitator). Give patient atropine if instructed. Seek medical attention without delay. 

If swallowed, activated charcoal or atropine may be recommended. If medical attention is not available in the immediate surroundings, send the patient to the hospital together with a copy of the SDS. 

If skin exposure occurs, immediately remove all contaminated clothing, footwear and accessories and cleanse the affected area with plenty of water and soap. Give patient atropine if instructed and seek medical attention without delay.. 

If the chemical is exposed to the eyes, flush the eyes out immediately with fresh running water for at least 15 minutes, remembering to wash under the eyelids. Removal of contact lenses should only be done by a skilled individual. Seek medical attention without delay.

Dichlorvos Safety Handling

Emergency showers and eyewash fountains should be accessible near the area of the potential exposure to the chemical and adequate ventilation should be available to remove/dilute the contaminant, otherwise local exhaust should be installed.

The PPE recommended when handling dichlorvos include; safety glasses with side shields, chemical goggles, chemical protective gloves (e.g. PVC), safety footwear/gumboots, respirators and full body protective clothing.

You can find more comprehensive information on the safe handling of dichlorvos on your SDS. Click here for a trial of our SDS Management Software or contact us at sales@chemwatch.net for more information about our chemicals management solutions.