Dichlorvos is an organophosphate insecticide with contact and vapor action. It has been used widely for control of agricultural, industrial, and domestic pests since the 1950's. Dichlorvos is available in oil solutions, emulsifiable concentrations, and aerosol formulations; the impregnation of dichlorvos in a polyvinyl chloride base (pellets, strips, blocks, etc.) for delayed release is a widely used method for the control of pests in domestic and industrial situations.
A bioassay for the possible carcinogenicity of technical-grade dichlorvos was conducted using Osborne-Mendel rats and B6C3F1 mice. The test material was administered in the diet at two concentrations for 80 weeks to groups of 50 animals of each species and sex. The test animals were held for observation, and surviving rats were killed at 110-111 weeks and surviving mice at 92-94 weeks from initiation of the study. Initial doses in both species were not well tolerated and they were lowered after a few weeks. Time-weighted average doses for both males and females were 150 and 326 ppm for rats and 318 and 635 ppm for mice. The matched controls consisted of 10 rats of each sex and 10 mice of each sex; the pooled controls consisted of 60 rats of each sex, 100 male mice, and 80 female mice. All surviving rats were killed at 106 to 109 weeks; surviving mice, at 92 to 94 weeks.
After the doses were reduced, no toxic signs directlyattributable to the compound were observed. However, average weights of high-dose animals were slightly depressed. Survival was not dose-related in either species. Microscopic study of the tissues of treated animals and matched and pooled controls revealed no statistically significant increase in the incidence of tumors attributable to exposure to dichlorvos in either animal species. The significance of the three esophageal tumors in male and female mice and of malignant fibrous histiocytomas in male mice is unclear and there is insufficient evidence to indicate they were associated with dichlorvos treatment. Thus under the conditions of this study, dichlorvos was not demonstrated to be carcinogenic.