Definition of Chlorpyrifos

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Chlorpyrifos: An organophosphate insecticide that has adverse neurological effects. Also known as Dursban. Introduced in 1965, chlorpyrifos was a well known home and garden insecticide, and at one time it was one of the most widely used household pesticides in the US.

Chlorpyrifos causes weakness, vomiting, diarrhea and other ill effects in children. It can also cause blurred vision and memory loss.

Anyone can be exposed when the chemical is applied in a backyard or a building and through residue on fruits or other foods. Dursban was in hundreds of products including some of Raid sprays, Hartz yard and kennel flea spray, and Black Flag liquid roach and ant killer.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned chlorpyrifos from domestic use. The manufacture of chlorpyrifos for most residential uses and all uses where children could be exposed was to halt by December 2001 and its use for termite control was to be phased out in all buildings used by children.


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