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E X T O X N E T
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EXTOXNET primary files maintained and archived at Oregon State
Revised June 1996
Trade and Other Names:
Cacodylic acid is also known as dimethylarsinic acid. Trade names
include Ansar 138, Arsan, Bolls-Eye, Broadside, Check-Mate,
Cotton Aide HC, Dilic, Moncide, Montar, Phytar, Phytar 138,
Phytar 600, Rad-E-Cate 25, Silvisar 510, and Sylvicor.
Cacodylic acid is a General Use Pesticide (GUP). Products
containing cacodylic acid are categorized toxicity class III -
slightly toxic and bear the Signal Word CAUTION.
Cacodylic acid is an arsenical nonselective contact herbicide
which defoliates or desiccates a wide variety of plant species.
It is used as a cotton defoliant, for lawn renovation, for weed
control in non-crop areas such as around buildings, near
perennial ornamentals, along fence rows, and in forest
management. Its phytotoxic properties are quickly inactivated
upon contact with the soil. It is available in concentrated
Formulation: It is
available in concentrated solution formulations.
- Acute toxicity: Cacodylic acid is
slightly toxic by inhalation and by ingestion. It is
absorbed into the bloodstream more readily through
inhalation than through ingestion or dermal exposure .
Arsenate, formed from the breakdown of cacodylic acid,
slows the production of energy in cells. The symptoms of
poisoning with arsenicals such as cacodylic acid include
a salty taste, burning in the throat, colicky pains in
the stomach and intestines, and garlicky odor of the
breath, urine, and sweat. In persons exposed to
sufficient arsenical dust, the onset of illness is
usually characterized by difficult or short breath with
pain in the chest, followed by nausea and diarrhea.
Severe arsenic poisoning causes headache, dizziness,
vomiting, profuse and watery diarrhea, followed by
dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, gradual fall in blood
pressure, stupor, convulsions, general paralysis, and
possible death within 3 to 14 days . Cacodylic acid
is irritating to skin or eyes . Product formulations
may be irritating, depending on their acidity or
alkalinity. Blistering or conjunctivitis may occur .
The oral LD50 for cacodylic acid in rats is 644 to 830
mg/kg [1,58]. The inhalation LC50 for cacodylic acid in
rats is 3.9 mg/L .
- Chronic toxicity: Blanching or flushing
of the skin (especially of the fingers), cirrhosis of the
liver, atrophy of the bone marrow, kidney damage, and
loss of sensory and motor functions have been reported.
About 6 weeks after exposure to cacodylic acid, white
bands may appear across the toe and finger nails [30,58].
Signs of chronic arsenate exposure include loss of
appetite, weight loss, weakness, nausea, alternating
diarrhea and constipation, colic, pain and tenderness in
the limbs (usually starting in the fingers or toes),
dermatitis, abnormal changes in skin color, loss of hair,
giddiness, and headache. Prolonged exposure may cause
gradual mental and physical deterioration. There may be
disturbances of sight, taste, smell, and bladder function
. Prolonged or repeated exposure of the skin to
arsenicals may cause dermatitis. Prolonged eye contact
may cause conjunctivitis and has caused eruptions of
eyelids, conjunctiva, and even the cornea. Repeated
exposure to low levels of arsenic may produce increased
tolerance for arsenic .
- Reproductive effects: Large dietary
doses of cacodylic acid for extended periods of time
decrease fertility. Male rats fed 226 mg/kg/day for 3
weeks showed reduced sperm production . Such effects
are unlikely in humans at expected exposure levels.
- Teratogenic effects: Oral doses 0.35
mg/kg/day to pregnant rats produced smaller fetus size
and decreased body weight. In rabbits, doses of 48
mg/kg/day decreased food intake and body weight in the
offspring . Cacodylic acid is unlikely to cause
teratogenic effects in humans at expected exposure
- Mutagenic effects: Cacodylic acid did
not show mutagenicity in a variety of gene and chromosome
assays on bacterial and mammalian cells .
- Carcinogenic effects: No data are
- Organ toxicity: Cacodylic acid affects a
variety of organ systems. The kidney, liver, heart,
digestive tract, and central and peripheral nervous
systems are all targets [8,58].
- Fate in humans and animals: Cacodylic
acid is readily absorbed into the bloodstream when
ingested. It is broken down in the liver. It accumulates
in the skin, finger and toe nails, and hair, which also
serve as means of excretion .
- Effects on birds: No data are currently
- Effects on aquatic organisms: Cacodylic
acid presents a low toxicity hazard to most fish. The
LC50 for cacodylic acid in bluegill sunfish is 1000 mg/L
- Effects on other organisms: Cacodylic
acid is not toxic to bees with LD50 values reported in
the 100 to 1000 ppm range .
- Breakdown in soil and groundwater:
Cacodylic acid has low to moderate persistence in soil.
Cacodylic acid is quickly inactivated upon contact with
the soil by adsorption to soil particles and ion exchange
[8,58]. Soil microorganisms degrade most of the cacodylic
acid in the soil . A breakdown product, arsenic,
competes with phosphorus in the soil. It forms insoluble
salts with chromium, silver, or other metals .
- Breakdown in water: No data are
- Breakdown in vegetation: Arsenic, from
the metabolism of cacodylic acid, poisons cell division
in plants .
- Appearance: Cacodylic acid is a
colorless crystalline solid with an offensive odor .
- Chemical Name: dimethylarsinic acid 
- CAS Number: 75-60-5
- Molecular Weight: 138.00
- Water Solubility: 2000 mg/L @ 25 C 
- Solubility in Other Solvents: diethyl
ether, i.s.; alcohol, s.s.; ethanol, s.; acetic acid, s.
- Melting Point: 192-198 C 
- Vapor Pressure: Not Available
- Partition Coefficient: Not Available
- Adsorption Coefficient: 1000 (estimated)
- ADI: Not Available
- MCL: Not Available
- RfD: 0.003 mg/kg/day 
- PEL: Not Available
- HA: Not Available
- TLV: Not Available
Drexel Chemical Company
1700 Channel Avenue
Memphis, TN 38113
- Phone: 901-774-4370
- Emergency: Not Available
References for the information in this PIP can be found in
Reference List Number 10
information in this profile does not in any way replace or
supersede the information on the pesticide product labeling or
other regulatory requirements. Please refer to the pesticide