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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 Assessment Program.


Publication Date: 9/93


Trade names for products containing ziram include AAprotect, AAvolex, Antene, Attivar, Carbazine, Corozate, Cumin, Drupine, Fuklasin, Fungostop, Mezene, Milbam, Pomarsol Z Forte, Prodaram, Tricarbamix, Triscabol, Z-C Spray, Zerlate, Zincmate, Zinkcarbamate, Ziram, Zirasan, Zirex and Zirberk. The compound may be found in formulations with other fungicides such as bitertanol, dodine, myclobutanil, thiram, and zineb.

Ziram is a General Use Pesticide in the United States.


Ziram is a carbamate, agricultural fungicide. It may be applied to the foliage of plants, but it is also used as a soil and/or seed treatment. Ziram is used primarily on almonds and stone fruits. It is also used as an accelerator in rubber manufacturing, packaging materials, adhesives, and textiles. Another use of the compound is as a bird and rodent repellent.



Ziram is a toxic compound which carries the signal word DANGER on its label due to eye irritation hazard. Acute exposure among industrial and farm workers in the former USSR caused irritation of the skin, nose, eyes and throat (10).

The oral LD50 for ziram is 1,400 mg/kg in rats and 480 and 400 mg/kg for mice and rabbits, respectively. Ziram has an LD50 of 100 to 150 mg/kg in guinea pigs (2). The acute dermal LD50 for rats is greater than 6,000 mg/kg. Ziram can cause skin and mucous membrane irritation. Humans with prolonged inhalation exposure to ziram have developed nerve and visual disturbances (5). Ziram is corrosive to eyes and may cause irreversible eye damage (13).


Female rats administered relatively small amounts of ziram in their diets (2.5 mg/kg/day) for nine months showed decreased antibody formation. Rats fed diets containing 0.25% ziram for an unknown time period exhibited poor growth and development (3). In a one-year feeding study with rats, no effects were seen at the low dose of 5 mg/kg/day nor were any effects seen in weanlings receiving 5 mg/kg in their diet for 30 days (6). At unknown doses and duration, rats developed a peculiar hind leg grasping reaction plus other motor changes when given ziram. Dogs also showed convulsive seizures (4). Another study with dogs fed ziram in their diets also showed no harmful effects for 12 months at 5 mg/kg/day (3).

Reproductive Effects

When female and male rats were given moderate doses of ziram (50 mg/kg) for nearly two months prior to pregnancy, the rats had marked reductions in fertility and litter size (3). The rats in this study became largely sterile (10). A lower dose of 10 mg/kg had no effect on reproduction.

Female mice fed moderate doses (50 mg/kg/day) of ziram for 15 days exhibited reduced fertility but no effects on fertility appeared in male mice (2). Wasting away of the testes has been noted as a toxic effect of ziram (4).

Teratogenic Effects

Pregnant rats administered ziram at doses of 12.5 to 100 mg/kg during the organ forming period of pregnancy showed embryotoxic effects at doses of 25 mg/kg and greater. The compound also had a slight growth inhibiting effect on the embryos at 100 mg/kg. Maternal toxicity was observed at all test levels (2).

Mutagenic Effects

Numerous tests have established that ziram is mutagenic. For example, there was an increase in the number of chromosome changes in bone-marrow cells in mice treated with oral doses of 100 mg/kg (2).

Chromosomal changes have also been observed in workers exposed to the compound in industrial settings for three to five years (10). The concentration in the air averaged 1.95 mg/m3 but reached as high as 71.3 mg/m3 in some of these cases. Thus, there is a risk of mutation in humans chronically exposed to ziram at moderate concentrations in the air.

Carcinogenic Effects

A carcinogenicity study was performed in 1983 by the National Toxicology Program on rats and mice exposed to ziram for a 103-week period. Under the conditions of the study, ziram was carcinogenic to male rats, causing an increase in thyroid cancer. There was no increase in carcinogenicity in female rats or in male mice. Female mice showed an increase in lung tumors, but this was complicated by a virus infection making interpretation impossible (4). There is insufficient data to make any determinations about the risk of cancer to humans from chronic exposure to ziram. The compound is not classifiable due to its carcinogenicity.

Organ Toxicity

The primary target organ is the thyroid as shown in a study of workers who experienced thyroid enlargement after ziram exposure (4). Information on the length of exposure or the dose amount was not available.

Fate in Humans and Animals

Ziram is poorly absorbed in the absence of oils. However, it may be readily absorbed into the body in the presence of oil, including through the skin.

Rats that had been fed low doses (30 mg/kg) of the compound for two years had very low levels in their livers (0.03 mg). However, the zinc component of the parent compound is stored in the body to a slightly higher degree. It was found in bone in amounts related to the dose over a two year experiment. Female rats had some water-soluble residues in blood, kidneys, liver, ovaries, spleen, and thyroid 24 hours following a single oral dose (amount was not specified) (2). Ziram that had remained unchanged in the rat was excreted in the feces (2). This indicates that, though ziram has only a slight potential to persist and concentrate in living tissue, the compound may be selectively localized in the body, as are other dithiocarbamates, at sites where toxicity may occur (2).

The highest concentrations of zinc are found in the male reproductive system and specifically in the prostate. High concentrations also are found in bone, liver, kidney, pancreas, and endocrine glands.

Rats that were fed low doses of ziram followed by ethyl alcohol had higher alcohol levels in their blood stream over a four-hour period (2).


There have been no reports of ziram use resulting in adverse effects on mammalian wildlife (7). In birds, ziram was non-toxic at 100 mg/kg (European starlings), but the LD50 for red-wing blackbirds is 100 mg/kg. The latter value indicates that the compound is moderately toxic to this species of bird. Ziram is only slightly toxic to the Japanese quail. In a two-year study, the dietary LC50 for quail was 3,346 ppm (7). In chickens, doses of 56 mg/kg were toxic (3). Ziram has an antifertility action in laying hens. When given to chickens in unknown amounts for unknown lengths of time, there were adverse effects on body weight and retarded testicular development (2).

Based on data from only one species, the goldfish, the compound appears to be moderately toxic to fish. The five hour LC50 for ziram was between 5 and 10 mg/l (11). Based on its low solubility in water, ziram should have a low bioconcentration potential (7).

Because of the limited data available, the potential risk to wildlife and aquatic species is currently unknown.


Of the metallic dithiocarbamate fungicides, ziram is the most stable. Ziram moderately binds to soil where it breaks down. Because the compound is toxic to bacteria, biodegradation may be rather slow, or occurs only at very low concentrations.

In the environment, ziram would primarily be found in the atmosphere as an aerosol or dust and eventually in the soil through wet and dry precipitation. In the air and in soil, the compound is readily degraded by ultraviolet light (2).

On plants, persistent breakdown products were formed. A significant amount of carbon disulfide was released during the breakdown process. The leaf surface was slightly acidic probably due to dissolved carbon dioxide (2).

There is little or no research available on the fate of the compound in natural waters (12).

Ziram has not been detected in food or in groundwater (12).


Exposure Guidelines:

ADI: 0.02 mg/kg/day (WHO)
LEL: Rat - 3 mg/kg/day

Physical Properties:

Common name: Ziram
CAS #: 137-30-4
Chemical name: (T-4)-bis(dimethyldithio-carbamato-S,S')zinc
Chemical class: carbamate
Chemical use: fungicide
Solubility in water: 65 mg/l
Solubility in solvents: alcohol, acetone and benzene < 0.5 g/100 g; carbon tetrachloride < 0.2 g/100 g
Melting point: 240 - 250 degrees C
Vapor pressure: negligible at room temperature


FMC Corporation
Agricultural Chemicals Group
2000 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Telephone: 215/299-6565
FAX: 215/299-5999

Review by Basic Manufacturer - FMC:

Comments solicited: April, 1993
Comments received: May, 1993

UCB Chemicals Corp.
5505-A Robin Hood Rd.
Norfolk, VA 23513
Fax: 804-855-7975
Telephone: 804-857-8610

Review by Basic Manufacturer - UCB:

Comments solicited: April, 1993
Comments received:

Elf-Ato Chem North America, Inc.
Three Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: 215-587-7885

Review by Basic Manufacturer - Elf-Ato Chem:

Comments solicited: April, 1993
Comments received:


  1. Food and Drug Administration. 1986. The FDA Surveillance Index. Bureau of Foods, Department of Commerce, National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA.
  2. National Library of Medicine. 1993. Hazardous Substances Databank. TOXNET, Medlars Management Section, Bethesda, MD.
  3. National Research Council. 1977. Drinking Water and Health, Advisory Center on Toxicology, Assembly of Life Sciences. Safe Drinking Water Committee, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.
  4. National Toxicology Program. 1983. Carcinogenesis Bioassay of Ziram (CAS No. 137-30-4) in F344/N Rats and B6CF1 Mice (Feed Study). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, Technical Report Series No. 238.
  5. Meister, R.T. (ed.). 1992. Farm Chemicals Handbook. Meister Publishing Co., Willoughby, OH.
  6. Worthing, C.R. (ed.) 1983. The Pesticide Manual, A World Compendium. The British Crop Protection Council, The Ravenham Press Limited, Ravenham, Suffolk, England.
  7. Smith, G.J. 1993. Pesticide Use and Toxicology in Relation to Wildlife: Organophosphorus and Carbamate Compounds. United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Resource Publication 170.
  8. Gosselin, R.E., R.P. Smith and H.C. Hodge. 1984. Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products, Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.
  9. Menzie, C.M. 1969. Metabolism of Pesticides, U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Special Scientific Report, Wildlife No. 127.
  10. Edwards, I.R., D.G. Ferry and W.A. Temple. 1991. Fungicides and Related Compounds. In Handbook of Pesticide Toxicology, Volume 3, Classes of Pesticides. Wayland J. Hayes and Edward R. Laws (eds.) Academic Press, NY.
  11. The Agrochemicals Handbook. 1992. The Royal Society of Chemistry. Cambridge, England.
  12. Howard, P.H. 1991. Handbook of Fate and Exposure Data for Organic Chemicals. Volume III. Lewis Publishers. Chelsea, MI.
  13. MSDS For Ziram. 1991. FMC Corporation. Philadelphia, PA.