Overview

Organophosphate pesticides are phosphotriester compounds that can be divided into five classes based on their differing alkyl phosphate constituents:

  • phosphates
  • O-phosphorothioates
  • S-phosphorothioates
  • Phosphorodithioates
  • phosphonates/phosphoramidates

Organophosphate insecticides are widely used on a large variety of crops. Examples of work activities involving OPs that require special attention when assessing exposure include:

  • pest control operators who use OPs every day in their work
  • manufacture, formulation and packaging
  • transport, storage and distribution
  • handling used containers, for example in scrap recovery
  • agricultural and horticultural activities like mixing, loading and applications where direct handling of the chemical occurs
  • veterinary activities like cattle and sheep dipping
  • seasonal field workers exposed to pesticide residues
  • laboratory workers undertaking research on OPs

This guide provides information for those registered medical practitioners engaged by a PCBU to carry out or supervise health monitoring for workers. This guidance should be read in conjunction with the following:

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