Highly toxic substance

The New Straits Times, July14,1995

Q: I have been using a rodenticide containing zinc phosphide. How safe is it?

A: Zinc phosphide is one of the highly toxic rodenticides. Its colour, 'rotten fish' odour, and taste make it unattractive to other animals, but attractive to rats.

Exposure to zinc phophide, through inhalation, absorption through broken skin or ingestion can cause direct toxic effects on the heart within 30 hours.

Victims of zinc phosphide poisoning may suffer from a drop in blood pressure, difficulty in breathing, congestion in the lungs, vomiting, cardiac arrythmias, convulsions and coma. Death has been reported to occur in four days to two weeks.

Based on this information, you should be very careful wit this substance. You should not place it where children can get hold of it. You should not expose it to water or weak acids because it can release a gas called phosphine, which can cause lung congestion and death within a few hours.

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