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Endosulfan is a widely used insecticide.  It is a polychlorinated compound, basically a poison. It carries the word DANGER on its label. Some of its side effects are itching, burning, tingling of skin. Headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, lack of coordination, tremor, mental confusion. Seizures, respiratory depression, coma.

It is an acute poison which depends partly on the manner the pesticide is administered, in an undiluted form, it is slowly and incompletely absorbed into the body whereas absorption is more rapid in the presence of alcohols, oils and emulsifiers. The pesticide is most likely to affect kidneys, liver, blood chemistry and the parathyroid gland.

Chronic toxicity of Endosulfan

Rats fed low doses of endosulfan (2.5 mg/kg/day) for three generations showed no ill effects. The same dose in dogs, however, produced vomiting, tremors, and convulsions. These are the symptoms of acute endosulfan poisoning. Higher doses of endosulfan (5.0 mg/kg/day) caused death in rats, increased resorption and caused skeletal deformities in the rat fetuses. Female mice fed the compound for 78 weeks (0.1mg/kg/day) had damage to their reproductive organs.

Blindness was noted among cows that grazed in a field sprayed with the compound, the animals were able to recover only after a month following the exposure. Also it was noted in in an accidental exposure, sheep and pigs grazing on a sprayed field suffered a lack of muscle coordination and blindness.

A National Cancer Institute study done with both mice and rats, showed that the males of both groups experienced such a high mortality rate that no conclusions could be drawn. However, the females of both species failed to develop any carcinogenic conditions 78 weeks after being fed diets containing up to 445 ppm (about 23 mg/kg). There are no reports of cancer in humans exposed to endosulfan. The EPA has placed endosulfan in the “not classifiable” category due to the lack of data on its carcinogenicity.


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