CAS number 1596-84-5 YesY
PubChem 15331
ChemSpider 14593 YesY
KEGG C10996 YesY
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula C6H12N2O3
Molar mass 160.171 g/mol
Appearance White crystalline powder
Melting point

154-156 °C

 YesY (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Daminozide (Alar, Kylar, B-NINE, DMASA, SADH, B 995) is a plant growth regulator, a chemical sprayed on fruit to regulate their growth, make their harvest easier, and enhance their color. First approved for use in the U.S. in 1963, it was primarily used on apples until 1989 when it was voluntarily withdrawn by the manufacturer after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‎ proposed banning it based on unacceptably high cancer risks to consumers.[1]

It has been produced in the U.S. by the Uniroyal Chemical Company, Inc, (now integrated into the Chemtura Corporation) which registered daminozide (or Alar) for use on fruits intended for human consumption in 1963. In addition to apples and ornamentals, it was also registered for use on cherries, peaches, pears, Concord grapes, tomato transplants and peanut vines. On fruit trees, daminozide affects flow-bud initiation, fruit-set maturity, fruit firmness and coloring, preharvest drop and market quality of fruit at harvest and during storage.[1] In 1989, it became illegal to use daminozide on food crops in the US, but it is still allowed for use on non-food crops like ornamentals.[2]


The campaign to ban Alar

In 1986, concern developed in the U.S. public over the use of Alar on apples, over fears that the residues of the chemical detected in apple juice and applesauce might harm people. The outcry led some manufacturers and supermarket chains to announce they would not accept Alar-treated apples.

The Natural Resources Defense Council had for years urged the EPA to ban daminozide and in a 1989 report, largely using the government's own figures, they reported that on the basis of a two-year peer reviewed study children were at "intolerable risk" from a wide variety of potentially lethal chemicals, including daminozide, that they ingest in legally permissible quantity. By their estimate "the average pre-schooler's exposure was estimated to result in a cancer risk 240 times greater than the cancer risk considered acceptable by E.P.A. following a full lifetime of exposure."[3]

In February, 1989 there was a broadcast by CBS's 60 Minutes highlighting a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council highlighting problems with Alar (daminozide).

This followed years of background work. According to Environmental Working Group:

Prior to 1989, five separate, peer-reviewed studies of Alar and its chemical breakdown product, unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH), had found a correlation between exposure to the chemicals and cancerous tumors in lab animals. In 1984 and again in 1987, the EPA classified Alar as a probable human carcinogen. In 1986, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged the EPA to ban it. Well before the 60 Minutes broadcast, public concern had already led six national grocery chains and nine major food processors to stop accepting apples treated with Alar. Washington State growers had pledged to voluntarily stop using it (although tests later revealed that many did not). Maine and Massachusetts had banned it outright.[4]

In 1989, following the CBS broadcast, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to ban Alar on the grounds that "long-term exposure" posed "unacceptable risks to public health." However before the EPA's preliminary decision to ban all food uses of Alar went into effect, Uniroyal, the sole manufacturer of Alar, agreed in June 1989 to halt voluntarily all domestic sales of Alar for food uses.[5]


Apple growers in Washington filed a libel suit against CBS, NRDC and Fenton Communications, claiming the scare cost them $100 million.[citation needed] The suit was dismissed in 1994.[citation needed]

While Alar has been verified as a human carcinogen, the amount necessary for it to be dangerous may well be extremely high.[6] The lab tests that prompted the scare required an amount of Alar equal to over 5,000 gallons (20,000 L) of apple juice per day.[citation needed] Consumers Union ran its own studies and estimated the human lifetime cancer risk to be 5 per million, as compared to the previously-reported figure of 50 cases per million.[7] Generally, EPA considers lifetime cancer risks in excess of 1 per million to be cause for action.[citation needed]

Elizabeth Whelan and her organization, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), which had received $25,000 from Alar's manufacturer,[8] worked to establish a narrative of the Alar episode as a scare. The ACSH claimed that Alar and its breakdown product UDMH had not been shown to be carcinogenic. Whelan's campaign was so effective that today, "Alar scare" is shorthand among news media and food industry professionals for an irrational, emotional public scare based on propaganda rather than facts. There remains disagreement about the appropriateness of the response to Alar, but daminozide is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the EPA and is listed as a known carcinogen under California's Prop 65,[8] while its breakdown product UDMH is listed as Prop 65 carcinogen and IARC classifies it as "possible" carcinogen and EPA as a "probable" carcinogen.[9]


  1. ^ a b Daminozide (Alar) Pesticide Canceled for Food Uses | EPA History | US EPA
  2. ^ http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/0032fact.pdf
  3. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1989/03/30/opinion/a-silent-spring-for-kids.html?ref=naturalresourcesdefensecouncil
  4. ^ "Myth of 'Alar Scare' Persists; How the chemical industry rewrote the history of a banned pesticide" (in en). Environmental Working Group. 1999-02-01. http://www.ewg.org/reports/alar. Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  5. ^ Environmental Regulation: Law, Science, & Policy by Percival, et al. (4th ed.) Page 391.
  6. ^ Much Ado About Alar, FALL 1990
  7. ^ Alar and apples - SourceWatch
  8. ^ a b Neff RA, Goldman LR (2005). "Regulatory parallels to Daubert: stakeholder influence, "sound science," and the delayed adoption of health-protective standards". Am J Public Health 95 Suppl 1: S81–91. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2004.044818. PMID 16030344.  Free full-text.
  9. ^ "Pesticide Info: 1,1-Dimethyl hydrazine". Pesticideinfo.org. http://pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC33356. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 

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  • daminozide — /deuh min euh zuyd /, n. Chem. a plant growth retardant, C6H12N2O3, used commercially on apples. [d(imethyl) + amino + (hydra)zide components of the chemical name] * * * …   Universalium

  • daminozide — noun a chemical sprayed on fruit trees to regulate their growth so the entire crop can be harvested at one time • Syn: ↑Alar • Usage Domain: ↑trademark (for: ↑Alar) • Hypernyms: ↑chemical, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

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