How Malathion Is An Organophosphate Insecticide ( Npic, 2009 ) Essay

How Malathion Is An Organophosphate Insecticide ( Npic, 2009 ) Essay

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Malathion is an organophosphate insecticide (NPIC, 2009). This class of insecticides kills insects by disrupting their brains and nervous systems (Rauner, B. 2016). These chemicals, unfortunately, also have the potential to harm the brains and nervous systems of animals and humans. Specifically, these chemicals stop a key enzyme in the nervous system, cholinesterase, from working. While certain classes are more poisonous than others, over all the effects of Malathion depend on the concentration of exposure, length of time, and way the person is exposed. Malathion is also an ingredient in shampoos, regulated by the USDA to control head lice. While the risks and dangers of Malathion sound daunting, the actual research done shows that these are simply potential harms. In fact, Malathion, when used in moderate doses, typically shows a very low level of toxicity. The possible harm caused from Malathion is generally in extreme cases, with exceptional subjects, and in very high levels of exposure. When it comes down to it, Malathion is a perfectly safe to use as an insecticide.
When the chemical makes contact with skin, is ingested or inhaled, it can be toxic. The result is a binding of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in the nerve endings, a build-up of acetylcholine (ACh) neurotransmitters. This causes in an overstimulation of the nervous system. 4 AChE is found in mammals, amphibians, fish, reptiles and birds. The effect of Malathion exposure, in addition to overstimulation of the nervous system, can lead to overstimulation of glandular cells, autonomic ganglia, the central nervous system, and both smooth and skeletal muscles. Mammals and birds are able to degrade Malathion more quickly than it is oxidized. This accounts for...


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...one hour at a time, twice a day, for 42 consecutive days. Subjects reported nasal and eye irritation at the highest doses, during the first few minutes of exposure. No notable effects occurred. Researchers then tested the effects associated when Malathion used as ground treatment. In an area containing 132,000 people, a total of 230 reports of pesticide-related illness were reported. 34 of these were classified as probable and 89 as possible cases.
All in all, no data has been found that Malathion causes developmental or reproductive effects in humans. Little more than minor irritations have been found in studies involving even high doses. While the potential is there for skin and neurological irritation, Malathion, if ingested, is typically metabolized and excreted within 72 hours. There is little evidence to suggest the need to worry about its use as a pesticide.

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