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Pesticide Information Profiles
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TRADE OR OTHER NAMES: Some trade names for products containing chloropicrin include "Chlor-O-Pic,"
"Metapicrin" "Timberfume" and "Tri-Clor." A partial list of trade names for chloropicrin mixtures with methyl bromide
includes "Tri-Con," "Terr-O-Gas," "Preplant Soil Fumigant" and "Pic-Brom." Chloropicrin mixtures with
1,3-Dichloropropene include "Telone C-17," "Tri-Form" and "Pic-Clor."
REGULATORY STATUS: Chloropicrin is currently undergoing USEPA FIFRA reregistration. It is a Class I toxicity,
Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP), labeled with the signal word "Danger" (231). The U.S. Department of Transportation
(DOT) proper shipping name is "Chloropicrin, 6.1, UN 1580, PGI, Poison Inhalation Hazard, Hazard Zone B." The
Emergency Response Guide (ERG) number is 56. NFPA designations are 4-Health, 0-Fire, 3-Reactivity. Chloropicrin is not
listed under the EPA Clean Air Act, EPA Clean Water Act or the EPA Marine Pollutant List (258). A tolerance is not
required for preplant soil fumigation uses of chloropicrin.
INTRODUCTION: Chloropicrin is a clear, colorless, oily liquid with a strong, sharp, highly irritating odor. It is a strong
lachrymator (231). Chloropicrin has been used as an insecticide since 1917 and as a soil fumigant since 1920 (259). The
primary use today is for preplant soil fumigation to control soil borne fungi, diseases and nematodes (231). It also is used to
treat wood poles and timbers for internal decay by fungi and insects; as a warning/clearing agent for sulfuryl fluoride
(structural fumigant) and methyl bromide (soil and structural fumigant); and is also used in organic synthesis. For soil
fumigation and wood treatment, chloropicrin is packaged in DOT 4BW240 steel cylinders and bulk tanks which may be
pressurized. When used as a warning agent for methyl bromide, chloropicrin is packaged along with the methyl bromide in
steel cylinders. When used as a structural fumigation warning agent for sulfuryl fluoride, chloropicrin is packaged in small
plastic bottles in DOT approved overpacks. Chloropicrin has a moderate vapor pressure (18.3 mmHg at 20 degrees C) and
exists as a liquid at room temperature. Chloropicrin/methyl bromide mixtures will volatilize readily upon opening of the
cylinder valve. Materials incompatible with chloropicrin are PVC, fiberglass, aluminum and magnesium and their alloys
- Acute Toxicity: Undiluted chloropicrin is highly toxic by ingestion or direct contact with the skin or eyes. According to
the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (261), airborne exposure to 0.3-0.37 ppm (2-2.5
mg/meters cubed) for 3-30 seconds results in eye irritation. This response is reported to be highly variable among
individuals and tearing (lachrymation) may occur at airborne exposures of 0.15-0.3 ppm (1-2 mg/meters cubed) (261).
Inhalation exposure to 4 ppm (26 mg/meters cubed) for a few seconds may cause some degree of incapacitation (261)
and an exposure of a few seconds to 15 ppm (100 mg/meters cubed) can cause injury to the respiratory track. Exposure
to concentrations above 15 ppm can result in lacrimation, vomiting, and if allowed to continue for a minute or longer,
can cause pulmonary edema and possibly death (261). The American Industrial Hygiene Association Emergency
Response Planning Guideline for one hour exposure to chloropicrin is 3 ppm (20 mg/meters cubed)(262). Animal studies
established that the 4-hour inhalation LC50 for chloropicrin vapor in rats is 11.9 ppm (79.7 mg/meters cubed)(293) and
the respiratory irritation potential threshold (RD50) in mice is 7.98 ppm (53.5 mg/meters cubed)(293). The FIFRA
Toxicity Classification for chloropicrin acute effects is Category I and the signal word for that classification is "Danger."
- Signs and Symptoms of Poisoning: Undiluted chloropicrin is severely and immediately irritating to the upper
respiratory tract, eyes and skin upon direct contact. Exposure to airborne concentrations of chloropicrin exceeding 0.15
ppm (1 mg/meters cubed) can cause tearing and eye irritation which is reversible upon termination of exposure.
Prolonged inhalation exposures at airborne concentrations above 1 ppm may cause symptoms of respiratory system
damage including irritation of the airways, shortness of breath and/or tightness in chest and difficulty in breathing.
Inhalation exposure to very high levels, even if brief, can lead to pulmonary edema, unconsciousness and even death.
- Chronic Toxicity/Subchronic Effects: Studies with male and female CD rats and CD-1 mice exposed to chloropicrin
vapor in whole body inhalation chambers at concentrations of 0.3, 1.0, or 3.0 ppm for six hours per day, five days per
week for thirteen weeks (263) and male Fisher 344 rats exposed to chloropicrin (264) indicated that respiratory tissue is
the target for chloropicrin inhalation toxicity. Portal-of-entry effects occurred in the upper respiratory tissue of animals
inhaling chloropicrin vapor for 90 days at concentrations at or above 0.1 ppm (0.67 mg/meters cubed).
- Reproductive Effects: A study utilizing chloropicrin vapor administered by whole body inhalation for six hours per day,
seven days per week to male and female CD rats at concentrations of 0.5, 1.0, or 1.5 ppm through two generations of
animals indicated that reproduction fitness is not adversely affected by chloropicrin inhalation even at systemically toxic
levels (265). The No Observable Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) was 1.0 ppm for systemic toxicity and greater than 1.5
ppm for developmental toxicity and reproductive parameters.
- Teratogenic Effects: In a study with sexually mature virgin female Sprague-Dawley rats exposed by whole body
inhalation to chloropicrin vapor for six hours per day for days 6-15 of gestation, there were no treatment-related fetal
malformations (266). The incidence of developmental variations in the mid- and high-dose groups increased over the
control group and was statistically significant in the high-dose group. The NOAEL for maternal toxicity was 0.4 ppm and
the NOAEL for fetal toxicity was 1.2 ppm indicating that the developing fetus is not a target tissue for chloropicrin.The
developmental toxicity of chloro-picrin in sexually mature virgin female New Zealand White SPF rabbits was evaluated
by whole body exposure/inhalation to chloropicrin vapor for six hours per day for days 7-20 of gestation (267). There
were no treatment related fetal malformations reported, the incidence of developmental variations in the mid- and
high-dose groups was increased over the control group and was considered to be treatment related but was not dose
related nor was it statistically significant. The NOAEL for maternal toxicity was 0.4 ppm and the NOAEL for fetal
toxicity was 1.2 ppm indicating that the developing fetus is not a target tissue.
- Mutagenic Effects: Chloropicrin has been evaluated in several in vitro genetic toxicity test systems (268, 271). Bacterial
cell testing for gene mutation produced some evidence of genetic toxicity in one of five tester strains in the presence of
an exogenous metabolic activation system but testing in higher order cells (mammalian cells) did not confirm the
potential for chloropicrin to produce gene mutation. Chloropicrin did not cause damage to mammalian cell DNA. In vitro
testing of mammalian cell chromosomes for damage (breaks, exchange figures, fragments, etc.) produced evidence
suggestive of a clastogenic effect but the data were equivocal.
- Carcinogenic Effects: Six long-term bioassays have been performed to evaluate the potential of chloropicrin to cause
chronic and/or carcinogenic effects by inhalation, oral, and gavage dosing (272, 276). Chronic toxicity was limited to
inflammatory and other degenerative changes associated with chronic wound healing at the portal-of-entry and at
associated tissues (i.e. rodent forestomach following life-long oral dosing). No neoplastic or tumorigenic response was
produced by chloropicrin in any species tested by the three routes of exposure.
- Organ Toxicity: Target organs for chloropicrin toxicity include eyes, skin, respiratory tract and tissue associated with
portal-of-entry into the body.
- Fate in Mammals: The octanol/water partition coefficient (Log10 Kow) is 2.50 at 25 degrees C indicating that
chloropicrin would not be expected to bioaccumulate in mammalian cells (277).
- Effects on Birds: Little information is available about the effects of chloropicrin on bird life. A feeding study in chickens
(278) demonstrated no adverse effects at doses as high as 100 ppm for 120 days. This was the highest dose tested.
- Effects on Aquatic Organisms: Chloropicrin is toxic to fish. For trout and bluegill the 96-hour LC50 was 0.0165 mg/L
and 0.105 mg/L respectively (278).
- Effects on Other Animals (Nontarget species): When used according to label, exposure to nontarget species is
unlikely. However, because of its toxicity to mammals and invertebrates, it can be assumed that chloropicrin may be
harmful to many nontarget organisms.
- Breakdown of Chemical in Soil and Groundwater: The half-life of chloropicrin in sandy loam soil was 8-24 hours
(279) and 4.5 days (280) with carbon dioxide being the terminal breakdown product (280). Chloropicrin moves rapidly in
soils within twelve inches of injection but may diffuse to a maximum depth of four feet in sandy soil (281). Since it is
only slightly soluble in water, it will not move rapidly in aquatic environments. In an anaerobic aquatic/soil system,
chloropicrin was converted to nitromethane with a half-life of 1.3 hours (282). In the absence of sunlight or
microorganisms, chloropicrin does not undergo hydrolysis (283, 284). The calculated Henry's Law Constant is 2.51 x 10
to the minus 3 atm meters cubed mole-1 (285). The Koc for silt loam and agricultural sand soils was 5.29 and 93.59
respectively (289). Chloropicrin can be produced during chlorination of drinking water if nitrated organic contaminants
are present (286, 287). In a sampling of 1,386 wells in California between 1984 and 1989, no chloropicrin was detected
(288). In a sampling of 15,175 wells in Florida, chloropicrin was found in three wells at 0.035-0.068 Hg/L (288).
- Breakdown of Chemical in Surface Water: Since chloropicrin has a higher density than water (1.65 g/ml) and is only
slightly soluble, it will sink to the bottom of surface water. The half-life of chloropicrin in water exposed to light was
31.1 hours with carbon dioxide, bicarbonate, chloride, nitrate and nitrite being the breakdown products (284).
- Breakdown of Chemical in Plants: No chloropicrin or nitromethane was detected in crops grown in soil treated with
radiolabelled chloropicrin (290). Carbon dioxide, as the terminal breakdown product, was metabolized by plants and
incorporated into natural plant biochemical compounds via the single carbon pool (291).
- Breakdown of Chemical in Air: Chloropicrin is efficiently photolyzed in the atmosphere. The half-life of chloropicrin in
air exposed to simulated sunlight was 20 days (292). The photoproducts were phosgene (which will hydrolyze to carbon
dioxide and hydrogen chloride), nitric oxide, chlorine, nitrogen dioxide and dinitrogen tetroxide.
- Analytical Methods: The concentration of chloropicrin in air may be measured using Kitagawa direct reading gas
detector tube#l72 (Matheson-Kitagawa, East Rutherford, NJ). Gas chromatography methods are available to measure
chloropicrin in air (283) and may utilize XAD-4 solid sorbent tubes (SKC Inc., Eighty Four, PA).
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES AND GUIDELINES
- Appearance: Heavy, colorless, liquid with a sharp odor
- Chemical Names: Trichloronitromethane; Methane,trichloronitro; Nitrotrichloro-methane, Nitrochloroform
- CAS Number: 76-06-2
- Molecular Weight:164.38
- Water Solubility: 1.6 g/L @ 25 degrees C
- Solubility in Other Solvents: Miscible in most organic solvents
- Melting Point: -64 degrees C
- Vapor Pressure: 18.3 mmHg @ 20 degrees C, 24 mmHg @ 25 degrees C
- Partition Coefficient: Not Available
- Adsorption Coefficient: Not Available
- ADI: Not Available
- MCL: Not Available
- RfD: Not Available
- PEL: 0.1 ppm
- HA: Not Available
- TLV: 0.1 ppm TWA
Niklor Chemical Corp.
2060 E. 220th Street
Long Beach, CA 90810
References for the information in this PIP can be found in Reference List Number 10
DISCLAIMER: The information in this profile does not in any way replace or supersede the information on the pesticide
product label/ing or other regulatory requirements. Please refer to the pesticide product label/ing.