Aldicarb (formerly marketed under the trade names Temik® and SmartBox®) is a pesticide used to control nematodes, insects and mites on potatoes, citrus fruit, cotton, soy, peanut, and tobacco crops. Due to toxicity concerns, its use in the United States was banned in 2018.
Aldicarb is highly soluble in water, highly mobile in soil (especially soil with low organic content) and can persist in the environment for anywhere from a few days to a several years. It can arrive in drinking water through agricultural runoff.
Health Effects of Aldicarb
Aldicarb, a carbamate pesticide, was detected for the first time in groundwater in Suffolk County, New York, in August 1979. Although all laboratory and field studies indicated that the pesticide could not reach groundwater, a combination of circumstances allowed its residues not only to reach groundwater but also to be ingested by humans.
According to the WHO, aldicarb “is one of the most acutely toxic pesticides in use.” It inhibits the enzyme cholinesterase, leading to symptoms of nausea, dizziness, confusion and, with exposure to very large amounts, respiratory paralysis and death. These symptoms disappear when exposure is removed.
The International Agency for Research on cancer has placed it in Group 3—“not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity.”