CAS RN: 50782-69-9

Health Effects

  • A) USES: Nerve agents are organophosphate (OP) chemical compounds. They are probably the most poisonous of the known chemical warfare agents and confer high lethality in exposed populations, both military and civilians. Liquid or vapor exposure can cause death within minutes by inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) function. Exposure to relatively small amounts can be fatal.
  • B) TOXICOLOGY: Toxic effects are caused by the presence of excess acetylcholine. Toxicities are expressed by cholinergic overdrive at muscarinic, nicotinic, and CNS cholinergic sites. The military nerve agents differ from other OPs in potency, tendency to produce rapid CNS effects, and, in the case of soman, by the rapidity of "aging" of the OP-enzyme complex. After aging of AChE enzyme, oximes therapy will not be effective. At least two weeks is required for restoration of AChE.
  • C) EPIDEMIOLOGY: These agents are particularly toxic following inhalation exposure, but can be absorbed following ingestion, dermal, or eye contact.
    • 1) MILD TO MODERATE TOXICITY: Because AChE inhibition affects both muscarinic and nicotinic sites, a mixed nicotinic-muscarinic clinical picture is often present. MUSCARINIC EFFECTS: Bradycardia, wheezing, bronchorrhea, sweating, salivation, miosis, vomiting and diarrhea, and urinary and fecal incontinence. NICOTINIC EFFECTS: Tachycardia, mydriasis, muscle fasciculations, and hypertension. CNS EFFECTS: Anxiety and headaches.
    • 2) SEVERE TOXICITY: Death is a result of respiratory failure due to increased work of breathing (bronchospasm, bronchorrhea) combined with respiratory muscle weakness, and/or CNS effects (status epilepticus, central apnea). MUSCARINIC EFFECTS: More severe manifestations of the signs listed above. Bronchospasm and bronchorrhea may severely impair both ventilation and oxygenation. NICOTINIC EFFECTS: More severe manifestations of the signs listed above. Fasciculations may progress to flaccid paralysis of skeletal muscles, including the diaphragm. CNS EFFECTS: Seizures, coma, and central apnea.
  • A) Healthy, normal infants were delivered to mothers who ingested organophosphate insecticides and sarin, after maternal symptoms were treated.
  • B) Post-implantation mortality, fetotoxicity, and behavioral changes were observed in rat studies.
  • A) At the time of this review, no data were available to assess the carcinogenic potential of these agents.
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