E X T O X N E T
Extension Toxicology Network
A Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of
Cornell University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, and
University of California at Davis. Major support and funding was provided
by the USDA/Extension Service/National Agricultural Pesticide Impact
Publication Date: 9/93
TRADE OR OTHER NAMES
Trade names for products containing this compound include Apl-Luster,
TBZ, Mertect, Mycozol, Tecto and Thibenzole. The product is often used in
combination with other fungicides and insecticides.
Thiabendazole is a systemic benzimidazole fungicide used to control
fruit and vegetable diseases such as mold, rot, blight and stain. It is also
active against storage diseases and Dutch Elm disease. In livestock,
thiabendazole is also applied to treat roundworms. Thiabendazole is also used
medicinally as a chelating agent to bind metals (2).
Thiabendazole is classified as a slightly toxic pesticide and carries
the signal word CAUTION on the label. Effects of acute overexposure to the
fungicide include dizziness, anorexia, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms
such as itching, rash, chills, and headache occur less frequently. The
symptoms are brief and are related to the dose level (8).
The rat oral LD50 is 3,100-3,600 mg/kg, mouse oral LD50 1,395-3,810 mg/kg
and the rabbit oral LD50 is greater than 3,850 mg/kg. The lethal dose in
sheep is 1,200 mg/kg. Thiabendazole is not a skin irritant or a sensitizer.
Rats force-fed 200 mg/kg/day or less showed little or no growth effects.
At higher levels (400 mg/kg) there was growth suppression. Death occurred in
a few days at 1,200 mg/kg and 30% mortality occurred within 30 days at 800
mg/kg. A decrease of active bone marrow at high doses was also noted (3). At
doses somewhat below the LD50, mice had liver, spleen, and intestinal effects.
In dogs, high daily doses (200 mg/kg) for two years produced few effects
other than occasional attacks of vomiting and persistent anemia. Sheep
experience toxic depression and anorexia at very high doses (800-1,000 mg/kg).
Studies on cattle, sheep, goats, swine, horses and zoo animals have shown few
chronic symptoms at low doses (8).
A three-generation study in rats showed no adverse effects on
reproduction at 20-80 mg/kg. However, four times this rather low therapeutic
dose produced serious pregnancy-related disorders (eclampsia) in sheep (3).
Mice studied for five generations showed no effects at 10 mg/kg,
decreased weanling weights at 50 mg/kg, and decreased weanling weight and size
at 250 mg/kg.
Pregnant rats fed low doses (about 25 mg/kg) produced offspring with no
abnormalities, but when pregnant rats were fed higher doses (200 mg/kg) on the
11th day of pregnancy, their offspring had skeletal defects. When fed the
same dose on the 12th day of pregnancy, the young had cleft palates, brain
hernia and absence of tails.
Several studies with bacteria have failed to produce any chromosome
changes or mutations due to thiabendazole. It appears that the compound is
A two-year feeding study with rats at levels of 10-160 mg/kg produced no
cancer related effects attributable to thiabendazole. There is no evidence of
carcinogenic effects in humans from exposure to thiabendazole.
Dogs autopsied after a two-year feeding study had incomplete development
of bone marrow, a wasting away of lymph tissue, and other abnormalities (2).
Most dogs tested at around 100 mg/day for two years developed anemia. The
dogs recovered at the end of the study (8).
Fate in Humans and Animals
Excretion of thiabendazole in the urine and feces is rapid in most
species and is almost complete after 48 hours in rats and 96 hours in sheep.
The excretion products are metabolites reaching peak levels in the blood
stream one hour after administration to rats, one to two hours after in
humans, and four hours after in cattle. These metabolites, are distributed
throughout most body tissues in sheep but detectable in only a few tissues at
low levels (less than 0.2 ppm) in 16 days and at very low levels (0.06 ppm or
less) after 30 days.
Oral doses given cattle and sheep reached a peak concentration in the
milk at 0.1 to 1.0% of the dose in 24 hours. When cattle were continuously
fed a diet of 30 ppm, residues in the milk were 0.05 to 0.17 ppm. No evidence
of bioaccumulation in animal tissues was found.
There is no evidence of toxicity or hazard to bobwhite quail from non-
target applications. Thiabendazole is weakly toxic to fish. Earthworms are
sensitive to the compound (LD50 = approx. 20 ug/worm), while bees are not
Thiabendazole binding to soil increases with increasing soil acidity.
It is quite persistent. In one study, nine months following application, most
of the residues (85-95%) were recovered from soil. It is not expected to
leach readily from soil.
No metabolism was seen with potatoes or corn, but photoproducts were
detected on sugar beet leaves (3). Total residues were 78% parent compound
with the remaining 22% being benzimidazole, benzimidazole-2-carboxamide and
unidentified products. Thiabendazole is readily absorbed by roots and
translocated to all parts of a plant but predominantly to the leaf margins.
It is non-toxic to plants when used as directed (1).
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES AND GUIDELINES
|ADI: ||0.1 mg/kg/day (ppm) (EPA); 0.3 mg/kg/day (ppm) (WHO)
|RfD: ||0.1 mg/kg/day (OPP)
|Common name: ||thiabendazole
|CAS #: ||148-79-8
|Chemical name: ||2-(4-thiazolyl)-1H-benzimidazole
|Chemical class/use: ||benzimidazole fungicide
|Solubility in water: ||50 mg/l (pH 7.0)
|Solubility in solvent: ||acetone, 0.42 g/100 g; ethanol, 0.21 g/100g; benzene, 0.023 g/100 g; chloroform, 0.008 g/100g
|Melting Point: ||304-305 degrees
|Vapor Pressure: ||non-volatile at room temperature; 4 x 10-9 mm Hg
Division of Merck & Co., Inc.
PO Box 2000
Rahway, NJ 07065-0912
Review by Basic Manufacturer:
Comments solicited: October, 1992
Comments received: December, 1992
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National Library of Medicine. 1992. Hazardous Substances Databank.
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Academic Press, Inc. NY.