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The Toxicologic Effects of the Carbamate Insecticide Aldicarb in Mammals: A Review

John F. Risher, Franklin L. Mink and Jerry F. Stara
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 72 (Jun., 1987), pp. 267-281
DOI: 10.2307/3430304
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3430304
Page Count: 15
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The Toxicologic Effects of the Carbamate Insecticide Aldicarb in Mammals: A Review
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Abstract

Aldicarb, 2-methyl-2-(methylthio)propionaldehyde-O-methylcarbamoyloxime, is an oxime carbamate insecticide manufactured by the Union Carbide Corporation and sold under the trade name Temik. It is a soil-applied systemic pesticide used against certain insects, mites, and nematodes, and is applied below the soil surface for absorption by plant roots. It is generally applied to the soil in the form of 5, 10, or 15% granules, and soil moisture is essential for the release of the toxicant. Uptake by plants is rapid. Aldicarb is currently registered for use on cotton, sugar beets, sugar cane (Louisiana only), potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, oranges, pecans (Southeast only), dry beans, soybeans, and ornamental plants. Home and garden use is not permitted. Discovery of aldicarb and its oxidative sulfoxide and sulfone metabolites in well or ground water in Florida, Wisconsin, and New York, and accidental poisonings from ingesting contaminated watermelons and cucumbers in the South and West have spurred interest and concern about this pesticide. The primary mechanism of toxic action of aldicarb is cholinesterase inhibition. However, unlike the relatively irreversible anticholinesterase activity of the organophosphate pesticides, the carbamylation process which produces the anti-AChE action is quickly reversible. Aldicarb is readily absorbed through both the gut and the skin, but is rapidly metabolized and excreted in the urine almostly completely within 24 hr. Although it is acutely toxic to humans and laboratory animals, aldicarb is not known to be carcinogenic, teratogenic, conclusively mutagenic, or to produce other long-term adverse health effects. In cases of accidental poisoning, the cholinergic symptoms have generally subsided within 6 hr, with no side effects or complications.

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