What are the uses for organophosphate (OP) compounds?

Updated: Sep 22, 2018
  • Author: Kenneth D Katz, MD, FAAEM, ABMT; Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
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Answer

Organophosphate compounds were first synthesized in the early 1800s when Lassaigne reacted alcohol with phosphoric acid. Shortly thereafter in 1854, Philip de Clermount described the synthesis of tetraethyl pyrophosphate at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences.

Eighty years later, Lange, in Berlin, and, Schrader, a chemist at Bayer AG, Germany, investigated the use of organophosphates as insecticides. However, the German military prevented the use of organophosphates as insecticides and instead developed an arsenal of chemical warfare agents (ie, tabun, sarin, soman).

A fourth agent, VX, was synthesized in England a decade later. During World War II, in 1941, organophosphates were reintroduced worldwide for pesticide use, as originally intended.


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