Malathion is an organophosphate insecticide and specifically an organophosphate parasympathomimetic, which binds to the enzyme group cholinesterase. Malathion products are usually available in the form of dusts, liquid, powder or emulsions. Their toxicity was believed to only affect pests and insects. In the past few decades however, malathion was found to exhibit low levels of human toxicity as well. When used with caution and in the right amount, mosquito and insect infestations are treated with the chemical without causing any harmful effects on human and animal life. The chemical was known as carbophos in the former USSR, as maldison in Australia and New Zealand, and mercaptothion in South Africa. The U.S. first registered its use in the year 1956.
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Malathion is a widely used pesticide, which helps to get rid of insects and pests in the soil and on the plants. It kills insects by stunning their nervous systems, thus preventing them from functioning normally. it helps in the eradication of mosquitoes and fruit flies and are used in public health programs. Malathion is also used in small quantities in lice-killing shampoos. Hair lice and body lice are killed using malathion, but some studies have shown that only some of the lice were killed and that it had absolutely no effect on lice-eggs. Most agricultural programs make use of this chemical in order to stop the infestation of insects in fields. In order to get rid of pests, tanks of malathion were mounted on trucks or aircrafts and were sprayed in the infested surroundings. In order to reduce health effects, the people in that area were advised to close their windows and stay indoors in order to avoid physical contact with the chemical. Malathion is also used in medical applications in the treatment of scabies.
Pesticides and insecticides are the main drivers for the malathion market. Pesticides are used globally as remedial methods for various agricultural issues caused by mosquitoes and fruit flies.. Agriculture is one of the most important industry segments that drive the market for malathion. Recent studies have proven that if not used with caution this material can cause serious health issues to human population and animals as well. Malathion itself is less toxic but when inhaled or ingested metabolizes into malaoxon, which is comparatively more toxic than malathion itself. When exposed to the chemical for too long, it has been found that cancer-risk could increase. Many countries have not yet banned the use of this insecticide, but have put forward regulations for the safe usage of the product in public environment so as not to cause any inconvenience to people. At the same time, the U.S. has come up with a safer alternative for this insecticide called spinosad. As it is one of the newest findings, availability of the pesticide is relatively low. However, the market for malathion is still mature and is expected to exhibit a healthy growth rate over the next few years in some regions.
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The key market segments include Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Rest of the World. Asia Pacific exhibits the highest demand for malathion, especially in countries such as India and China, owing to their booming agricultural sector. The U.S. being one of the biggest manufacturers of malathion has huge demand for the chemical as well. Malathion was off the market in Europe for a while owing to its ill effects but has been recently brought back into the European market by public demand. Due to its harmful properties, most of the countries have stringent regulations about its use in areas, which are heavily populated but can be used with extreme caution to get rid of their pest infestation.
A few of the companies that manufacture malathion include Dow AgroSciences India Pvt. Ltd., Suven Life Sciences, Paramount Pesticides Ltd. among others.