Organophosphate Insecticide Enquiry Response
Organophosphate insecticides are is commonly used in the control of bunch pests. The following document provides guidance on the health effects associated with commonly used organophosphate insecticides, potential routes of exposure and risk control measures.
Note: Research by SHSS often includes sourcing generic SDS information from CHEMWATCH database and while HICB advice aims to be as complete and accurate as possible, consider that HICB is not privy to all specific information inputs which are available to a PCBU. For example, PCBUs must always refer to the product manufacturer’s SDS/product label information which accounts for specific product formulations and variations in compositions. The individual work environment and tasks undertaken must also be considered. This forms the basis of a workplace specific risk assessment to ensure the appropriate risk control measures are implemented.
Potential Adverse Health Effects (sourced from best-fit CHEMWATCH database SDS)
e.g. Strike-out 500
· Exposure to chlorpyrifos primarily affects the central nervous system. However it also adversely affects the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and respiratory systems. It is a skin and eye irritant.
· Symptoms of mild exposures include headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, watery eyes, contracted pupils of the eye, excessive sweating and salivating, slowed heart beat and muscular twitching.
· Moderate and severe exposures can result in the above symptoms in addition to an inability to walk, chest discomfort and tightness, incontinence, unconsciousness, seizures or death.
· Exposure to imidacloprid can adversely affect the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, reproductive, gastrointestinal system and respiratory system. It can also cause irritation to the skin and eyes. It may impair fertility and cause harm to an unborn child.
· Symptoms of exposure include nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, depressed muscular tone, muscular cramps or twitching, respiratory disturbances and trembling.
e.g. Titan 970
· Exposure to acephate can adversely affect the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system and respiratory system. It can also cause irritation to the skin and eyes. Animal carcinogenicity studies indicate an increase incidence of liver tumours, carcinoma and adenoma in rats and mice when large quantities are ingested.
· Symptoms of exposure include nausea, vomiting, increased or decreased heartbeat, blurred or impaired vision, teary and painful eyes, inflammation of the eyes, cataracts, abdominal cramps, heart burn, chest tightness, shortness of breath, airways constriction, coughing, respiratory dysfunction, respiratory failure leading to death and central nervous system depression. Long term exposure can damage the liver.
· Exposure to bifenthrin can adversely affect the central nervous system, respiratory system and gastrointestinal system. It may also cause skin and eye irritation. Animal carcinogenicity studies indicate an increased risk of bladder tumours in mice.
· Symptoms of exposure include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, incoordination, tremors, paralysis, skin rash, burning sensation in the nose and mouth, bloody nose and sensitivity to sound or touch.
· Exposure to omeothoate can adversely affect the central nervous system, respiratory system and gastrointestinal system. It may also cause skin and eye irritation.
· Symptoms of exposure include headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, blurred vision, contraction of pupils, sweating, salivation, slowed heartbeat, inability to walk, involuntary urination and defecation, chest discomfort and tightness, muscle twitching, and seizures.
· Exposure to fipronil can adversely affect the central nervous system, respiratory system and gastrointestinal system. It may also cause skin and eye irritation. Animal carcinogenicity studies indicate an increased incidence of thyroid cancer in rats.
· Symptoms of exposure include lethargy, headache, nausea, dizziness, tremors, convulsions, abnormal posture and loss of appetite. Long term exposure can damage the brain, liver and thyroid.
e.g. Movento energy (also contains spinetoram)
· Exposure to spirotetramat can adversely affect the central nervous system, respiratory system and reproductive system. It can also cause skin sensitisation. Spirotetramat is an irritant to the eyes and respiratory tract. It may also impair fertility and harm the unborn child.
· Exposure to spinetoram can adversely affect the central nervous system, respiratory system and cardiovascular system. It may cause skin sensitisation. Spinetoram may also cause skin, eye, nose and throat irritation.
· Symptoms of exposure include dizziness, weakness, fatigue, headache, lack of coordination, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Routes of exposure
Potential routes of exposure depend on the form that the substance is in (powder, pellet, liquid, mist etc). They include inhalation, ingestion and dermal exposures.
Risk Assessment and Control Measures
Following a risk assessment, control measures must be implemented using the hierarchy of control. Further guidance is provided in the How to manage work health and safety risks code of practice 2011:
Specific guidance on hazardous chemical risk management can be found in the Managing risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace Code of Practice 2013:
Control measures applicable to organophosphate insecticides include:
· Selection of the least toxic product needed to be effective
· Use of the least amount of product needed to be effective
· Mixing within a well ventilated environment or use mechanical ventilation where there is risk of aerosolisation of dusts or mists.
· Ensuring that SDSs are accessible, risk assessments have been completed for hazardous chemicals, a register of hazardous chemicals has been completed and that hazardous chemicals are suitably labelled/signed.
· Developing and providing adequate systems of work, training and supervision for workers who use hazardous chemicals. Specific guidance the content of training, information and instruction for workers can be found in the Managing risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace Code of Practice 2013. However items/issues to consider include:
o Transport of hazardous chemicals that is in keeping with DG requirements. Suitability of vehicles used for transportation and the location of chemicals during transportation (e.g. in a sealed container, bunding, in the tray of truck, movement via forklift, prevention of damage/spillage in transit)
o Storage of product (integrity of containers both original and decanted, labelling) and spill containment (absorbent material, saw dust, kitty litter, bunding)
o Product mixing and application concentration as per manufacturers or APVMA permit requirements
o Formulation of product, the environment in which this task is performed and post formulation clean up (adequate processes, tools, equipment, PPE and ventilation to minimise contact between the worker and product)
o Plant and equipment integrity, suitability, cleanliness and ongoing maintenance
o Calibration of equipment according to manufacturers’ recommendations (e.g. scales to weigh concentrate, spray nozzles of application equipment)
o Product application and post application clean up (adequate processes, tools, equipment, PPE and ventilation to minimise contact between workers and product)
o Disposal of unwanted product, empty chemical containers or other contaminated items as recommended by the SDS and in compliance with applicable environmental or local council requirements.
o Accident and emergency situations – emergency plan, emergency response, first aid, emergency contacts.
· Upon finishing tasks involving organophosphate insecticides:
o Worker should remove clothing (including washable hat). Clothing should be cleaned in a dedicated washing machine at the workplace that is only used for contaminated clothing. Doing so minimises spread of product to personal vehicles, homes and other people. Clothing should be washed after every use regardless of whether visible contamination can be seen.
o Items of reusable PPE should be cleaned after every use. For example:
§ Goggles should be cleaned with soap and running water
§ Reusable RPE should be wiped down and stored in an air tight container.
o Item of single use PPE should be disposed of as recommended by the SDS and in compliance with applicable environmental or local council requirements.
o Wash exposed skin with running water and soap. Then dry with single use paper towels. Do not eat, drink or smoke before washing hands and face.
· Personal Protective Equipment. Check SDS for guidance on specific products, however as a minimum:
o Where product is in a dust form use a type P1 or P2 Respirator/Dust mask that is compliant with AS/NZ1715. Tight fitting RPE must be fit-tested.
o Where product is in a mist or vapour form use a respirator fitted with a type A cartridge. It must be compliant with AS/NZ1715 and fit-tested (E.g. Bifenthrin).
o Chemical goggles or safety glasses with side shields
o Chemical resistant gloves e.g. PVC.
o Cotton overalls buttoned at the neck and wrist
o A washable hat
o Closed in shoes
Further information on fit testing requirements can be found in the WHSQ guidance document Fit Testing Requirements for Tight-Fitting Respirators
· Health monitoring. If health monitoring is required ensure that it is suitable. For further information see:
o Safe Work Australia’s guide on Hazardous Chemicals requiring health monitoring particularly the section on Organophosphate Pesticides
o Health Monitoring for exposure to Hazardous Chemicals Guide for Medical Practitioners
o Health Monitoring for exposure to Hazardous Chemicals Guide for Workers
o Health Monitoring for exposure to Hazardous Chemicals Guide for PCBUS
Guidance may also be sought from Dean Saunders on compliance matters for health monitoring.