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General Description

  • Synonyms: o,o-Diethyl-o-p-nitrophenyl phosphorothioate; O,O-diethyl O-(p-nitrophenyl) ester Phosphorothioic acid; Diethyl parathion; Ethyl parathion; Parathion-ethyl
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1984
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 56-38-2
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: TF4550000
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 2783 152
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Parathion: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

  • OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
  • American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2000): 0.05 mg/m3 TWA (inhalable fraction vapor); Skin; A4
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 0.05 mg/m3 TWA; Skin

Health Factors

  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Group 3, not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans
  • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 10 mg/m3
  • Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, respiratory system; miosis, blurring or dimness of vision; rhinorrhea; headache; chest tightness, wheezing, laryngeal spasm; salivation; cyanosis; anorexia; nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea; sweating; muscle fasciculation, lassitude (weakness, exhaustion), paralysis; dizziness, confusion, ataxia; convulsions, coma; low blood pressure; cardiac irregularities.
  • Health Effects: Cholinesterase inhibition (HE6); Suspect teratogen (HE5)
  • Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system, CNS, cardiovascular system, blood cholinesterase
  • Notes:
    1. Parathion is activated to paraoxon by several cytochrome P-450 isoforms.
    2. Polymorphism in the expression and activity of the enzyme paraoxonase, which inactivates paraoxon, may play a role in susceptibility of workers to have symptoms from occupational parathion exposure.
  • Literature Basis:
    • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Parathion.
    • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Parathion.
    • EPA Air Toxics Website: Parathion. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Technology Transfer Network.
    • Lee, B.W., London, L., Paulauskis, J., Myers, J. and Christiani, D.C.: Association between human paraoxonase gene polymorphinsm and chronic symptoms in pesticide-exposed workers. J. Occup. Environ. Med. 45(2): 118-122, 2003.
    • Mutch, E., Daly, A.K., Leathart, J.B.S., Blain, P.G. and Williams, F.M.: Do multiple cytochrome P450 isoforms contribute to parathion metabolism in man? Arch. Toxicol. 77(6): 313-320, 2003.
    • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Parathion. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1788-1791.
  • Date Last Revised: 07/12/2004

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • OSHA Versatile Sampler (OVS-2) - 13 mm XAD-2 tube (270/140 mg sections, 20/60 mesh) with Glass Fiber Filter enclosed
  • analytical solvent: Toluene
  • maximum volume: 480 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 1.0 L/min
  • current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FPD
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 62)
  • method classification: Fully Validated
  • note: OSHA personnel may obtain sampling tubes from the Salt Lake Technical Center.
Wipe Sampling Method:
  • Glass Fiber Filter
Bulk Method:
  • Limit the amount of bulk submitted to one gram or one mL.

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