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Phorate is a highly toxic organophosphate pesticide used to control control sucking and chewing insects, leafhoppers, leafminers, mites, some nematodes, and rootworms in pine forests and on root and field crops, including corn, cotton, coffee, some ornamental and herbaceous plants, and bulbs (#EXTOXNET).


  1. #Chemical Description
  2. #Uses
  3. #Health Effects
  4. #Environmental Effects
  5. #Regulation
  6. #External Links
  7. #References



    Just the facts

    Physical Information

    Name: Phorate

    Synonyms: himet; o,o-Diethyl s-(ethylthio) methyl phosphorodithioate

    Chemical Formula: C 7 H 17 O 2 PS 3

    Use: insecticide

    Source: synthetic chemistry

    Recommended daily intake: none

    Absorption: dermal, inhalation, ingestion

    Toxicity/symptoms: highly toxic

    Chemical Structure

    Structure retrieved from the American Chemical Society.

Chemical Description

Phorate is a relatively stable clear to yellow liquid at room temperature (#INCHEM).

Health Effects

Main Article: Cholinesterase Inhibitor
Phorate's health effects are consistent with other Organophosphates and cholinesterase inhibitors.

Environmental Effects

Phorate is highly toxic to birds, fish, and bees (#EXTOXNET). It is moderately persistent in the soil - a half-life of 2-173 days depending on the conditions. It binds relatively well to soil and is not neither highly mobile or highly soluble in water so it would reach water sources mainly through run-off and not leaching (#EXTOXNET).



Most of the uses for phorate have been canceled and it is labeled as "HIGHLY TOXIC - POISON" chemical and as a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) which allows only certain applications for use (#PAN and #EXTOXNET). It is not listed as a UNEP Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) and is registered for use in around half of the world's countries including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and India among others (#PAN - Pesticide Registration Status).


Pesticide Action Network (PAN). "Pesticide Registration Status - Phorate". 2007. Accesed 9-25-07.

Pesticide Action Network. "PAN Pesticide Database - Phorate". 2007. Accessed 9-25-07.

Extension Toxicology Network. "Pesticide Information Profile - Phorate". June, 1996. Accessed 9-25-07.

World Health Organization's International Program on Chemical Safety. "Data Sheets on Pesticides no. 75 - Phorate". 1988. Accessed 9-25-07.

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