e. Proper exposure time is essential for effective and safe fumigation with
phosphine. Label instructions regarding exposure at different temperature ranges must
f. Phosphine gas is chemically inert and will not combine in any form to produce
a food residue.
4-14. SYMPTOMS OF PHOSPHINE POISONING
The early symptoms of phosphine poisoning are acute, obvious, and readily
a. Slight Poisoning. The symptoms include a sensation of tightness in the
chest and diaphragm, vomiting, and diarrhea.
b. Medium to Severe Poisoning. This is evidenced by vertigo, numbness and
cold sensation in the limbs, anxiety, tinnitus, dyspnea, dry cough.
c. Serious Poisoning. Symptoms include cyanosis, muscular spasms, cardiac
insufficiency, and coma.
4-15. FIRST AID MEASURES
a. Remove immediately into the open air.
b. Call for medical assistance.
c. Treat as for shock -- place in recumbent position and keep quiet and warm.
d. Apply oxygen breathing equipment, if available.
e. Do not give any antidote. In particular, do not give any substance comprised
of fats and oils (e.g., castor oil, butter, milk).
4-16. SAFETY MEASURES
a. One distinct advantage of fumigation with aluminum phosphide is the limited
requirement for respiration safety equipment. It is important, however, to keep the
containers for the tablets and pellets tightly closed except when they must be opened
for use. Under normal conditions, the use of gas masks is not necessary. However, a
gas mask and canister specific for phosphine gas must always be available to provide
protection in the event of an unforeseen accident, or when using an expedient
modification of guideline procedures. Only masks and canisters approved by the U.S.
Department of Interior, Bureau of Mines, will be used in conjunction with aluminum
phosphide fumigation (not GI masks).
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