organophosphorus compounds Chemical compounds in the molecules of which an atom of phosphorus is linked to the carbon atom of a hydrocarbon group. These compounds have a number of industrial uses, but their principal application is as insecticides. Early organophosphorus insecticides (e.g. parathion) were highly toxic to mammals and birds. Later compounds were less toxic and dangers to wildlife were reduced, although careless or improper use can cause serious harm.
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