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CAS Number: 1563-66-2
Synonyms: Curaterr, Furadan, Yaltox
Contaminant Type: Chemical

Carbofuran, a broad spectrum systemic insecticide included in the general group of the carbamate derivative pesticides, is widely used in agricultural cultivations and presents a high persistence in water due to its chemical stabiltity. It's IUPAC name is 2,3-dihydro-2,2-dimethylbenzofuran-7-yl methylcarbamate.

More than 5 million pounds of carbofuran were applied in the United States in 1995 [743]. Carbofuran is sprayed directly onto soil and plants just after emergence to control beetles, nematodes and rootworm. The greatest use of carbofuran is on alfalfa and rice, with turf and grapes making up most of the remainder. Earlier uses were primarily on corn crops [759].

Carbofuran is highly toxic by inhalation and ingestion and moderately toxic by dermal absorption. Carbofuran is poorly absorbed through the skin [758].

The maximum contaminant level (MCL) for carbofuran is 0.04 mg/L.  EPA has identified granular activated carbon as the best available technology for the removal of carbofuran from drinking water.

Carbofuran is increasingly detected in surface water and ground water [742].  The detected  carbofuran concentration in groundwater in different U.S. states is at levels between 0.2 mg/L and 0.1 g/L [743].  The half-life of carbofuran in water has been reported from 690 days at pH 5 to 1 week at pH 9 [743] [751]. 

Date of Literature Search: June 2009

742 Kuo, W., Chaing, Y. and Lai, L.; 2006; Degradation of carbofuran in water by solar photocatalysis in presence of photosensitizers; J. Environ. Sci. & Health; 41:6:937
743 Chu, W., Lau, T. and Fung, S.; 2006; Effects of combined and sequential addition of dual oxidations (H2O2/S2O8-2) on the aqueous carbofuran photodegradation; J. Agri Food Chem.; 54:26:10047
751 Katsumata, H., Matsuba, K., Kaneco, S., Suzuki, T., Ohta, K. and Yobiko, Y.; 2005; Degradation of carbofuran in aqueous solution by Fe(III) aquacomplexes as effective photocatalysts; J. Photochem. Photobiol., A; 170:3:239
758 Extension Toxicology Network; 2009; Pesticide information profiles: Carbofuran; http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/carbofur.htm; As posted on Sept 9 2009, Offices of Cornell University, Oregon State University, the University of Idaho, and the University of California at Davis and the Institute for Environmental Toxicology, Michigan State University
759 USEPA; 2009; Basic information about carbofuran in drinking water; http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/basicinformation/carbofuran.html; As posted on Sept 9 2009, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH