EPA Maximum
Contaminant Level (MCL)
0.003 mg/L

Aldicarb (formerly marketed under the trade names Temik® and SmartBox®) is a pesticide used to control nematodes, insects and mites on potato, citrus, cotton, soy, peanut, and tobacco crops. Due to toxicity concerns, its use in the United States is now being phased out by the EPA, with production ending in 2014 and the the last allowed use in 2018.

Aldicarb is highly soluble in water, highly mobile in soil (epecially soil with low organic content) and can persist in the environment for anywhere from a few days to a several years. It can arrive in drinking water through agricultural runoff.

Health Effects of Aldicarb

According to the World Health Organization, aldicarb “is one of the most acutely toxic pesticides in use.” It inhibits the enzyme cholinesterase, leading to symptoms of nausea, dizziness, confusion and, with exposure to very large amounts, respiratory paralysis and death. These symptoms disappear when exposure is removed.

The International Agency for Research on cancer has placed it in Group 3—“not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity.”

Water Treatment for Aldicarb

According to the WHO, aldicarb may be treated with granular activated carbon (GAC) or ozonation.

Sources: EPA, EPA (2), EPA (3), WHO, Photo:, author: Walter Baxter

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