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A volatile or aerosol biocide dispersed throughout an enclosed space to kill bacteria, insects, pests and plants. Examples of materials that have been used as fumigants are Formaldehyde, Arsenic trichloride, Paradichlorobenzene, Ethylene oxide, Methyl bromide, Sulfuryl fluoride, Thymol, Hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen phosphide, Sulfur dioxide and Carbon tetrachloride. Because of their high toxicity, the use of fumigants is regulated and must be done by a licensed contractor. Fumigants are primarily used in ports of entry, barns, greenhouses, ships holds, and storage facilities. Once, the space is aerated, most fumigants leave no residual toxic material.

Synonyms and Related Terms

fumigants; fumigation


  • Fumigants are toxic to all life forms.

Resources and Citations

  • Lynda A. Zycherman, J.Richard Schrock, A Guide to Museum Pest Control, FAIC and Association of Systematics Collections, Washington DC, 1988
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 414
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • A Glossary of Paper Conservation Terms, Margaret Ellis (ed.), Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York City, 1998
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998