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  • Fenthion (O,O-dimethyl O-4-methylthio-m-tolylphosphorothioate ) is a broad spectrum organophosphorus (OP) insecticide.
  • Fenthion was first registered domestically in 1965 by the Mobay Corp., a U.S. subsidiary of Bayer AG of West Germany.
  • Fenthion was formerly called DMTP. Trade names include Bay 29493, Baycid, Baytex, Dalf, DMTP, Entex, Lebaycid, Mercaptophos, Prentox Fenthion 4E, Queletox, S 1752, Spotton, Talodex, and Tiguvon.
  • Fenthion is available in dust, emulsifiable concentrate, granular, liquid concentrate, spray concentrate, ULV, and wettable powder formulations.
  • Fenthion works by systemic action and inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, interrupting the transmission of nerve impulses in the insect.
  • Pure fenthion is a colorless liquid while technical fenthion is a yellow or brown oily liquid with a weak garlic odor.It is very slightly soluble in water  but miscible in a wide range of organic solvents.


  • Fenthion is used to kill pest insects in horticultural production, the home garden, around commercial/industrial buildings and domestic/public areas.
  • It was used extensively preharvest on sugar cane, rice, field corn, beets, pome and stone fruits, citrus fruits, pistachio, cotton, olives, coffee, cocoa, vegetables, and vines.
  • It is also used in a spot-on formulation to control external parasites on cattle, as well as to control pest non-native birds around commercial and  industrial buildings.
  • The use of fenthion for treatment of stagnant water and septic tanks is mainly for mosquito control.


  • Fenthion is a moderately toxic compound in EPA toxicity class II. It is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) due to the special handling warranted by its toxicity.
  • Fenthion can cause cholinesterase inhibition in humans; that is, it can overstimulate the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and at very high exposures (e.g., accidents or major spills), respiratory paralysis and death.
  • It is slightly toxic via inhalation with a reported 1-hour airborne LC50 for fenthion in rats of 2.4 to 3.0 mg/L.
  • Acute poisoning of fenthion results into myosis (pinpoint pupils), headache, nausea/vomiting, dizziness, muscle weakness, drowsiness, lethargy, agitation, or anxiety.
  • Fenthion is moderately toxic via the oral route, with reported oral LD50 values of 180 to 298 mg/kg in rats, 150 mg/kg in rabbits, and 88 to 145 mg/kg in mice.


  • As at September 2005, there were one active constituent approval for fenthion; 10 registered products containing the active constituent fenthion used in non-food-producing situations; and one home garden product used on food-producing plants that is being considered only in regard to toxicology.
  • The chemistry aspects (manufacturing process, quality control procedures, batch analysis results, and analytical methods) of fenthion active constituent were evaluated and found acceptable. The level of fenthion is quantified using reverse-phase HPLC with UV detection.
  • Photodegradation and biodegradation are common mechanisms of fenthion degradation in the environment.
  • In the atmosphere, vapor phase fenthion reacts rapidly with photochemically produced hydroxyl radicals, and its half-life is about 5 hours.
  • In soil and water, photodegradation is again predominant mechanism if there is enough presence of sunlight. Under normal aquatic environment,  half-life of fenthion in water is 2.9 to 21.1 days

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