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Ethion is an organophosphate insecticide that is banned in numerous countries worldwide, though not such notable countries as Canada and Australia (#PAN Pesticide Registration Status). It was used widely in agriculture, mainly to control insects on citrus trees, but also on cotton, fruit and nut trees, and some vegetables. It may also be used on lawns and turf grasses, but it is not used in the home for pest control (#ATSDR).


Just the facts

Physical Information

Name: Ethion

Use: organophosphate insecticide

Source: synthetic chemistry

Recommended daily intake: none

Absorption: dermal, inhalation, ingestion

Sensitive individuals: workers

Regulatory facts: see below

Chemical Structure

Structure retrieved from INCHEM


Chemical Description

Ethion is a clear to yellowish liquid with an unpleasant sulfur-like smell (#ATSDR Tox FAQs).

Health Effects

Ethion affects the nervous system as do other Organophosphates and its primary mechanism is inhibition of cholinesterase with resulting symptoms such as nausea, sweating, diarrhea, loss of bladder control, blurring or dimness of vision, muscle tremors, and labored breathing (#ATSDR Tox FAQs).

Environmental Effects

Ethion binds tightly to soil and is therefore not likely to leach into groundwater but it is quite persistent but may not be bioaccumulative #ATSDR, 2000 and [#EXTOXNET). Its toxicity to birds depends on the species. It can be nontoxic to some, yet highly toxic to others (#EXTOXNET). It is highly toxic to aquatic organisms and nontoxic to bees (#EXTOXNET).


Ethion is banned in numerous countries including the Unites States, the European Union, most of Africa, and New Zealand but is also still registered in certain countries including Australia and Canada (#PAN Pesticide Registration Status).


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). TOX Faqs - Ethion. Accessed 6-28-07.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). "Toxicological Profile for Ethion". September, 2000.

Extension Toxicology Network. "Pesticide Information Profile - Ethion". Accessed 6-28-07.

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) - Pesticides Registration Status. "Ethion". Accessed 6-28-07.

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