Methyl parathion - MP (C8
PS) is a restricted-use pesticide that has been widely used as an agricultural insecticide. It belongs to the class of organophosphate chemicals characterized by their ability to inhibit acetylcholinesterase activity. The main route of human exposure is inhalation, but dermal contact and inadvertent ingestion can also be substantial. Populations that are susceptible to MP exposure primarily are applicators, manufacturers and individuals living near application and/or disposal sites. Exposure has also been reported as a result of illegal indoor application. MP related health effects include headaches, nausea, night-waking, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, excessive sweating and salivation, incoordination, and mental confusion. Other symptoms including behavior problems, motor skill problems and impairment of memory recall have also been reported. The primary targets of toxicity are the hematopoietic system (serum cholinesterase inhibition), the cardiovascular system (cardiovascular lesions, abnormalities in heart rate and increase in heart-to-body ratio), the reproductive system (placental morphology, fibrosis and hemorrhage, and inhibition of DNA synthesis in seminiferous tubules), and the nervous system (headache, muscle weakness, insomnia, dizziness, and impaired memory). MP is believed to not have any carcinogenic effects. In an attempt to update its toxicologic profile, we hereby provide a critical review of MP-related environmental and toxicologic effects, with a special emphasis on their potential implications for public health.