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Aldicarb: a case series of watermelon-borne carbamate toxicity.

Improper use of pesticides on food plants can result in significant toxicity. In spite of regulations, enforcement, and prior episodes of poisonings, poisonings from misapplication of pesticides continues to occur. The objective of this study was to present a case series of toxicity resulting from ingestion of watermelon inappropriately treated with the carbamate insecticide aldicarb. A restrospective review of medical records, impounding the suspected watermelons, and chemical analysis of the watermelon samples using liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy were carried out. Seven farm workers shared a watermelon and presented to a rural emergency department with symptoms of cholinergic poisoning. They were treated empirically with atropine and pralidoxime. The farmer denied use of insecticides other than rat poison on the watermelon patch. Chemical analyst verified aldicarb in the watermelon samples from the field, but none in control samples. Despite government regulations, application of restricted pesticides such as aldicarb continues to occur and cause significant poisonings.

D'Haenens JP, McDonald KW, Langley RL, Higgins SA, Scott R, Farquhar PN,  Meggs WJ.  Aldicarb: a case series of watermelon-borne carbamate toxicity. J Agromedicine 2013; 18:174-177.

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