Volume 37, Issue 1 (January 1992)
Poisoning from Oral Ingestion of Carbofuran (Furadan 4F), a Cholinesterase-Inhibiting Carbamate Insecticide, and Its Effects on Cholinesterase Activity in Various Biological Fluids
A case is presented of a fatal ingestion of Furadan (carbofuran), a cholinesterase-inhibiting carbamate insecticide. A 26-year-old white male was found dead with a partially filled 1-gal (3.8-L) container of Furadan 4F insecticide-nematocide (44.9% carbofuran). The individual had ingested approximately 345 mL of the mixture. Analysis of cholinesterase activity in various biological fluids was performed spectrophotometrically using propionylthiocholine and 5,5'-dithiobis-2-nitrobenzoic acid [Sigma Diagnostics, cholinesterase procedure No. 422 (PTC)] which was measured at 405 nm and 30°C in a Gilford Stasar III Spectrophotometer. The cholinesterase activities were as follows: plasma, 245 units (U)/L (93% inhibition/7% normal activity); serum, 208 U/L (95.3% inhibition/4.7% normal activity); whole blood, 297 U/L (92.8% inhibition/7.2% normal activity); erythrocytes, 58 U/L (99% inhibition/1% normal activity); vitreous humor, 7 U/L; and bile, 148 U/L. Carbofuran was detected in the blood and gastric contents by thin-layer chromatography. No alcohol or other drugs were detected in the blood, urine, or gastric contents. Ingestion of the carbofuran produced acute visceral congestion and pulmonary edema. Death was caused by anoxia due to respiratory paralysis produced by cholinesterase inhibition from Furadan (carbofuran) ingestion.