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E X T O X N E T
Extension Toxicology Network
Pesticide Information Profiles
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University of Idaho, and the University of California at Davis and the Institute for Environmental Toxicology, Michigan
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TRADE OR OTHER NAMES: The active ingredient sodium chlorate is found in a variety of commercial herbicides.
Some trade names for products containing sodium chlorate include Atlacide, Defol, De-Fol-Ate, Drop-Leaf, Fall,
Harvest-Aid, Kusatol, Leafex, and Tumbleaf. The compound may be used in combination with other herbicides such as
atrazine, 2,4-D, bromacil, diuron, and sodium metaborate (1, 242, 205, 223).
REGULATORY STATUS: Sodium chlorate is not a restricted use pesticide. Check with specific state restrictions which
may apply. Products containing the active ingredient sodium chlorate must bear the Signal Word "Warning" on their label
INTRODUCTION: Sodium chlorate is a non-selective herbicide. It is considered phytotoxic to all green plant parts. It can
also kill through root absorption. Sodium chlorate may be used to control morningglory, Canada thistle, johnsongrass and
St. Johnswort (205, 207). The herbicide is mainly used on non-crop land for spot treatment and for total vegetation control
on roadsides, fenceways, ditches, etc. Sodium chlorate is also used as a defoliant and desiccant for cotton, safflower, corn,
flax, peppers, soybeans, grain sorghum, southern peas, dry beans, rice and sunflowers (1, 207). If used in combination with
atrazine, it increases the persistance of the effect. If used in combination with 2,4-D, it improves performance of the
material. Sodium chlorate has a soil-sterilant effect. Mixing with other herbicides in aqueous solution is possible to some
extent, so long as they are not susceptible to oxidation (1)
FORMULATION: Sodium chlorate comes in dust, spray and granule formulations. There is a risk of fire and explosion in
dry mixtures with other substances, especially organic materials, i.e. other herbicides, sulphur, powdered metals, strong
acids, etc. (1). Marketed formulations contain a fire depressant (242).
- Acute Toxicity: The acute oral LD50 for sodium chlorate in rats ranged between 1,200-7,000 mg/kg (1, 242, 205, 223,
348). The compound was a mild skin irritant in rabbits (348). The dermal LD50 was 500 mg/kg over 24 hours (223, 348,
349). The oral LD50 was 7,200 mg/kg for rabbits (348). The acute toxicity values for mice were 8,350 mg/kg for the
oral toxicity and 596 mg/kg for the intraperitoneal LD50 (348). Another study found sodium chlorate to have an oral
LDlo of 700 mg/kg for dogs; and an oral LDlo of 1350 mg/kg for cats (348). A single dose of 5-10 g/person of sodium
chlorate can prove to be fatal in adults, as can a single dose of 2 g/child in small children. Another source reported that a
dose of 15 to 30 g/person may be fatal to humans (207). Irritation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes has been
noted (1, 242, 205). Symptoms of oral ingestion of sodium chlorate include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,
pallor, blueness, shortness of breath, unconsciousness and collapse (205, 348).
- Chronic Toxicity: Chronic exposure may render lack of appetite and weight loss, as well as all those symptoms listed
under acute exposure to sodium chlorate. A prolonged chronic exposure to inhalation of sodium chlorate may cause
mucous membrane irritation (348).
- Reproductive Effects: No information was available.
- Teratogenic Effects: No information was available.
- Mutagenic Effects: No information was available.
- Carcinogenic Effects: No carcinogenic effects were noted for sodium chlorate (348).
- Organ Toxicity: Sodium chlorate may affect blood cells and damage kidneys. Acute exposure to the compound may
damage the liver. The kidney tubules may be severely damaged without producing detectable methemoglobinemia.
Repeated ingestion of small doses may cause anorexia and weight loss (348).
- Fate in Humans and Animals: No information was found.
- Effects on Birds: The long-term toxicity of sodium chlorate to birds resulted in reduced egg production and fertility
- Effects on Aquatic Organisms: Sodium chlorate is considered non-toxic to fish. The possible 48-hour LC50 for various
species of fish was 10,000 mg/l (1).
- Effects on Other Animals (Nontarget species): Sodium chlorate is considered non-toxic to bees (1). Toxicity to
animals may occur if they feed on freshly treated areas. This chemical has a salty taste and salt-hungry animals may eat
enough to become poisoned (207).
- Breakdown of Chemical in Soil and Groundwater: The duration of residual activity for sodium chlorate in soil was
3-4 months after using 1,000 liters of a 1% solution/ha (1). Sodium chlorate may persist in soil for 6 months to 5 years,
depending on rate applied, soil type, fertility, organic matter, moisture, and weather conditions. Toxicity in soil is
decreased considerably by a high nitrate content, alkaline conditions, and high soil temperatures. Decomposition of the
compound occurs more readily in moist soils above 70 degrees F (207).
- Breakdown of Chemical in Surface Water: No information was available.
- Breakdown of Chemical in Vegetation: Plants absorb sodium chlorate through both roots and leaves. The herbicide is
carried downward through the xylem since it kills the phloem tissue. It also increases the rate of respiration, decreasing
catalase activity, and depleting the plant's food reserves. Chlorate-injured plants are more susceptible to frost. Sodium
chlorate is 30-50 times more toxic to plants than sodium chloride (table salt) (207).
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES AND GUIDELINES
- Appearance: colorless powder
- Chemical Name: Sodium chlorate
- CAS Number: 7775-09-9 (1)
- Molecular Weight: 106.4
- Water Solubility: In water at 0 degrees C, 79 g/100 ml; at 100 degrees C, 230 g/100 ml (1, 242, 205)
- Solubility in Other Solvents: In 90% alcohol, 1.6 g/100 g (1); soluble in ethanol and glycerol (242)
- Melting Point: 248 degrees C (1, 242, 205); 478-502 degrees F (348)
- Vapor Pressure: Zero (1)
- Partition Coefficient: Not Available
- Adsorption Coefficient: Not Available
- ADI: Not Available
- MCL: Not Available
- RfD: Not Available
- PEL: Not Available
- HA: Not Available
- TLV: Not Available
Drexel Chemical Co.
2487 Pennsylvania St.
Memphis, TN 38109
- Fax: 901-774-4666
- Telephone: 901-774-4370
320 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
- Fax: 415-772-4011
- Telephone: 415-772-4000
- Emergency: 209-226-1934
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.