What is Methoxychlor?

Methoxychlor (chemical formula: C16H15Cl3O2), is a white crystalline solid that changes to a tan colour when exposed to light. It does not mix with water, but is soluble in most aromatic solvents. Technical methoxychlor appears as a grey flakey powder. 

What is Methoxychlor used for?

Before methoxychlor was discovered to be an environmentally hazardous substance, methoxychlor was commonly used to protect crops, livestock and pets against insects such as fleas, mosquitoes and cockroaches. 

Methoxychlor was banned in the US in 2003 due to its acute toxicity, possible carcinogenic effects, toxicity to aquatic life and suspected endocrine disrupting effects. 

Because methoxychlor is not water soluble, its presence in nature can take months before eventually degrading to minuscule amounts.
Because methoxychlor is not water soluble, its presence in nature can take months before eventually degrading to minuscule amounts.

Methoxychlor Hazards

The routes of exposure for methoxychlor include inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact. 

Inhalation of methoxychlor over prolonged periods may cause respiratory discomfort and distress. Individuals with existing respiratory diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis as well as circulatory/nervous system or kidney damage, may incur further disablement if excessive concentrations are inhaled. 

Ingestion of methoxychlor may be harmful if ingested, with animal experiments indicating less than 150g to be the fatal dose. Symptoms of ingestion include  coughing, a prickling/tingling in the mouth or lower face, dizziness, stomach pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, confusion, weakness, tremors and convulsions. Higher exposures can lead to death, likely caused by respiratory failure.  

Skin exposure to methoxychlor may be harmful following absorption. Open cuts and wounds should be protected adequately to ensure methoxychlor does not enter the bloodstream to produce further systemic injury. In animal experiments, symptoms following skin exposure included severe anorexia, emaciation, paralysis of the forelimbs and more.

Eye exposure is expected to cause tearing or redness. Slight abrasive damage may also result.

Methoxychlor Safety

If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source. Lay the patient down and keep them warm and rested. If the patient is not breathing and you are qualified to do so, perform CPR, preferably with a bag-valve mask device. Seek medical attention. 

If swallowed, urgent hospital treatment is likely to be required. Personnel qualified in first-aid should observe and treat the patient in the meantime. If medical attention is more than 15 minutes away, inducing vomiting is recommended. It is important that the patient is leaned forward or placed on their left side during this process in order to prevent aspiration. 

If skin exposure occurs, remove all contaminated clothing and footwear and immediately flush the affected area with plenty of soap and water. Seek medical attention in the event of irritation. 

If the chemical is exposed to the eyes, flush the eyes out immediately with fresh running water, remembering to wash under the eyelids. Contact lenses should only be removed by skilled personnel. Seek medical attention without delay. 

Methoxychlor Safety Handling

Emergency eyewash fountains should be accessible in the immediate area of the potential exposure to the chemical and there should always be adequate ventilation to remove or dilute any air contaminants to prevent overexposure (install local exhaust if necessary). 

The PPE recommended when handling methoxychlor includes, safety glasses with side shields, chemical goggles, filter dust respirators, PVC/rubber gloves, PVC aprons, overalls and safety footwear. Skin cleansing and barrier creams are also recommended in the event skin contact occurs. 

Refer to the SDS before handling methoxychlor to ensure you follow the correct handling procedures. Click here for a trial of our SDS Management Software or contact us at sa***@ch*******.net for more information about our chemicals management solutions. 

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