SPRI Home About SPRI

Diazinon

O,O-diethyl O-(2-isopropyl-4-methyl-6-pyrimidinyl) phosphorothioate., Basudin, Knox out, Dethlac, Murphy Root Guard

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold
0.01 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Water
0.01 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Waste Water
Disclaimer
This sheet is a generic summary, designed to give the reader a basic level of background information about the substance in question. Great care has been taken to represent as effectively and correctly as possible the broad range of (not necessarily consistent) information which is available from a variety of sources. The reader must accept therefore that this sheet has no legal status and cannot be relied upon in any legal proceedings. SEPA disclaims any responsibility or liability whatsoever for errors and omissions in this sheet.
What is it?
Under normal environmental conditions, pure Diazinon is a colourless, oily liquid which sometimes has a very faint smell. Liquid Diazinon boils at 84 degrees celsius and the gas is broken down at temperatures above 120 degrees celsius. It is virtually non-flammable. Diazinon dissolves slightly in water and very well in organic (carbon-containing) solvents.
What is it used for?
Diazinon is widely used as a pesticide, both commercially to control insects, worms and maggots in crops and fruit trees and also to control domestic pests such as ants and cockroaches. It is also used by vets to control parasites in cattle. The way in which Diazinon works is similar to the action of chemicals used to make "nerve gas" during the second world war.
Where does it come from?
Releases of Diazinon occur through its manufacture, transport, storage and widespread use as an agricultural and domestic pesticide. There are not thought to be any natural sources of Diazinon to the environment.
How might it affect the environment?
Diazinon is highly toxic to aquatic organisms and may also harm other wildlife. However, whether in soil, water bodies or the atmosphere, it is fairly quickly broken down to harmless chemicals and does not accumulate in the environment. Small amounts may seep from soils into groundwaters, but again this will be broken down into harmless chemicals. It is not considered likely that Diazinon pollution has any effects on the global environment.
How might exposure to it affect human health?
Diazinon exposure occurs mainly in the occupational setting. Diazinon can enter the body either by inhalation of air containing diazinon, by ingestion of contaminated water or food, or by dermal contact mainly through contaminated soil or water. Inhalation of air containing elevated levels of diazinon can affect the central nervous system and may lead to a range of adverse health effects including headache, dizziness, nausea, breathing difficulties and coma. Exposure to extremely high levels can result in death. Ingestion of diazinon can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea. Ingestion of extremely high levels can result in death. Dermal contact with diazinon can cause skin sensitisation and profuse sweating. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has not classified diazinon in terms of its carcinogenicity to humans. However, exposure to diazinon at normal background levels is unlikely to have any adverse effect on human health.
What steps are being taken to limit the potential impacts?
Releases of Diazinon are controlled through the Food and Environmental Protection Act (FEPA 1985) and the Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR 1986). It is not listed for authorised use as a pesticide in the UK (including Scotland) in the Pesticide Safety Directorate. Diazinon is also regulated through the UK Pollution, Prevention and Control (PPC) Regulations and the UK Surface Waters (Dangerous Substances) Regulations (SI 1997/2560).