Dimethylphosphate (DMP) is a metabolite of organophosphates which are one of the most common causes of poisoning worldwide and are frequently intentionally used as pesticides. Organophosphates function by inhibiting the action of cholinesterase enzymes in nerve cells. They can be absorbed through the lungs or skin or by eating them on contaminated food. Even at low levels, organophosphates may be hazardous to the nervous system, especially for fetuses and young children.
Repeated or prolonged exposure may induce impaired memory and concentration, disorientation, severe depression, irritability, confusion, headache, speech difficulties, delayed reaction times, nightmares, sleepwalking, drowsiness, or insomnia. Organophosphates can also induce an influenza-like condition with headache, nausea, weakness, loss of appetite, and malaise. A direct correlation between usage of organophosphates and diabetes has also been reported among agricultural populations.
High exposure levels have been associated with attention deficit, memory impairment and pervasive developmental disorders. Exposure has also been linked to violent behavior, depression, suicide and may have played a role in the onset of Gulf War syndrome. If levels are high, toxicity can be measured by decreased cholinesterase or pseudocholinesterase activity in plasma. Acute toxicity is treated with atropine and/or pralidoxime. DMP is a major metabolite of the following pesticides: methyl azinphos, methyl chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, dicrotophos, dimethoate, fenitrothion, fenthion, methyl isazaphos, malathion, methidathion, methyl parathion, naled, methyl oxydemeton, phosmet, and methyl pirimiphos.
Possible treatment options:
Organophosphate exposure can be reduced by eating organic foods, avoiding using pesticides in house or garden, avoiding residence near agricultural areas or golf courses, and staying indoors if insecticides are being sprayed. Lice shampoo, pet flea collars, and flea spray are also major sources of organophosphates. Remove sources of exposure if possible. Elimination of organophosphates can be accelerated by sauna treatment.
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