ATSDR Finalizes Toxicological Profiles for Methyl Bromide, Other Chemicals
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has published a final toxicological profile for bromomethane, or methyl bromide, a gas primarily used to make other chemicals and as a fumigant for pest control. According to ATSDR, the production and use of bromomethane, an environmental hazard, was phased out in the United States in 2005. The agency explains that workers who breathe bromomethane experienced health effects such as lung damage and signs of nervous system damage, including dizziness, muscle weakness, and seizures. According to the toxicological profile, bromomethane vapor can also irritate workers’ eyes and skin. Though bromomethane is banned for use in residential settings in the U.S., it was used by a pest control company at a resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands in March 2015, severely sickening a family of four. Three of the family members required endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation. More information about the incident is available in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. New final toxicological profiles are also available for 2-hexanone, which is no longer made or used in the U.S. due to its harmful health effects; bromodichloromethane, a colorless, nonflammable liquid produced in small quantities in the U.S. for use in laboratories or to make other chemicals; and the defoliant tribufos, or S,S,S-tributyl phosphorotrithioate, which is used to remove the leaves from plants. A full list of toxic substances with published profiles is available on ATSDR's website.
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