Two incidents involving the misuse of unlabelled or out-of-date diazinon products are described. In the first incident, 81 of a group of 210 five-month-old lambs died within 12 hours of being dipped with the contents of a partly used tin of 15-year-old sheep dip. Analysis showed that the diazinon had decomposed by hydrolysis into a range of breakdown products, including tetraethyldithiopyrophosphate (sulfotepp) and monothiono-tetraethylpyrophosphate (monothiono-tepp), which are much more toxic to mammals than diazinon. In the second incident, four yearling bulls were affected within 48 hours of being treated with a liquid that the farmer believed to be a lice treatment but was actually old diazinon sheep dip. Three of the bulls recovered but one died four days after the treatment. Analysis of the dip confirmed the presence of diazinon but in this incident no breakdown products were detected.
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