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From "zink" from old HighGerman "zint" = sharp point. The term "zink" was 1st used by Paracelsus for the metal and its ores, in analogy of the form of its crystals after smelting.
Italian: Fosfato di Zinco
English: Phosphide of Zinc
Common name: French: Phosphure de zinc;
Minerals; Inorganic; Zinc-Group
Introduced by Thompson, Practitioner, 1873(2) p. 271; Allen: Encyc. of Pure Mat. Med., Vol. X, p. 221.
Description of the substance
Phosphide of zinc is a more or less metallic - looking friable mass, whose surface is strewn with small rhombic prisms; it has the odor of phosphorus, and when powdered resembles iron reduced by hydrogen, or it is a gray, permanent powder having a metallic lustre without any unchanged particles of zinc. Out of contact with the air it is completely volatile by heat and melts at a higher temperature than the fusing point of zinc. Acids decompose it with the evolution of phosphoretted hydrogen and the formation of zinc salts; nitric acid changes it however into zinc oxide and zinc phosphate. It is unaffected by alkalies. By heating in the air it is gradually changed into zinc phosphate.
Zinc Phosphide is an inorganic chemical that is used to control rats, mice, voles, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, nutria, muskrats, feral rabbits and gophers. It is also uses as a tracking powder for the control of house mice. It is used on crop areas and on non-crop areas including lawns, golf courses, highway medians, and areas adjacent to wetlands (2). It may be formulated as a grain based bait, as scrap bait or as a paste. Rodenticide baits usually contain 2.0 percent of zinc phosphide.
Zinc Phosphide is highly toxic to wild birds and freshwater fish. It is also toxic to non-target mammals. Nearly sixty studies have been conducted on the toxicity of this rodenticide to wild animals. The most sensitive bird species which have been evaluated are geese (LD50 of 7.5 mg/kg for the White- fronted Goose). Pheasants, morning doves, quail, mallard ducks and the horned lark are also very susceptible to this compound. Blackbirds are less sensitive (2).
The fish species which have been evaluated include bluegill sunfish (LC50 = 0.8 mg/l) and rainbow trout (0.5 mg/l) (5). Carp were also found to be susceptible to zinc phosphide, especially in weakly acidic water.
Secondary toxicity to mammalian predators from zinc phosphide is rather low (2) primarily because the compound does not significantly accumulate in the muscles of target species. Some of the toxic effects to predators have been due to the ingestion of zinc phosphide that was in the digestive tract of the target organism (the prey). However, most predators will not eat the digestive tract. Studies on secondary organisms have focused on coyotes, fox, mink, weasels and birds of prey. Under field conditions most of the toxic effects to non-target wildlife are due to misuse or misapplication of this rodenticide (2).