Organophosphate exposure is a very common cause of kidney disease and kidney injury.

Kidney Injury and Kidney Disease due to Organophosphate Exposure


Organophosphate exposure has become one of the most important public health issues since World War II when these substances began to be used regularly throughout the world. According to the WHO, there are over 3 million organophosphate poisonings that happen each year. Of these, over 250,000 individuals die. 


About 30% of suicides throughout the world involve the use of organophosphates as a tool. Individuals who take a high dose of organophosphates experience toxicity-related health complications including:


  • Motor neuropathy
  • Respiratory failure
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Fluid in the lungs
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Pneumonia
  • Kidney Failure


The fact that kidney failure is a common cause of death following ingestion of high doses of organophosphates has alerted scientists to the fact that organophosphates are extremely toxic to the kidneys. In this article, we will discuss how high doses and low doses of organophosphates impact the kidneys. 

Kidney Disease, Kidney Injury, and Kidney Failure: Organophosphate Poisoning Basics


Organophosphates all contain carbon as well as phosphate. The kidneys are responsible for excreting about 90% of the daily phosphate load from the body to maintain a balance of phosphorus and calcium in the body. This balance between calcium and phosphorus is essential for health and it depends on various other nutrients and hormones such as boron and parathyroid hormone to be maintained within a healthy range. If the kidneys are not functioning optimally, the balance of calcium and phosphorus can be upset which can lead to an array of different diseases. 


Scientific studies have shown that exposure to organophosphates can worsen chronic kidney disease in both children and adults. Organophosphates are excreted through the kidneys and metabolites of organophosphates such as dialkyl phosphate can cause renal tubular injury. Though the injury may not be immediately apparent, it is detectable clinically. Over the course of time, injury to the kidneys becomes a downward spiraling affair with kidney injury leading to phosphorus-calcium imbalances that cause further injury to the kidneys.  


Organophosphate Poisoning: Kidney Failure, Kidney Injury, and Kidney Disease Studies


In one study, children with chronic kidney disease who were also exposed to organophosphates were examined over the course of 3 years. Metabolites of organophosphates were measured during that time as well as glomerular filtration rate, proteinuria (protein in the urine), and blood pressure. The scientists who pioneered this study determined that children with chronic kidney disease were able to determine that the kidneys were injured by organophosphate metabolites.


Another study, used the National Health Insurance Research Database to examine how organophosphate poisoning affects acute kidney injury risk. In this study, the scientists looked at patients over 20 years of age who had been poisoned by organophosphates between 2000 and 2011 in comparison with similar patients who had not been poisoned by organophosphate pesticides. The overall incidence of acute kidney injury was higher in the patients who had experienced organophosphate poisoning than in the control group that had not been poisoned by organophosphates.


The risk of acute kidney injury in this study was 6.17 times higher in patients who had had organophosphate poisoning than in those who had not been poisoned. Severe organophosphate poisoning was associated with a much higher risk of kidney injury.


Organophosphate poisoning is acknowledged by scientists and doctors as one of the most important causes of kidney failure today. When organophosphate poisoning causes kidney failure, it’s important for doctors to be aware of the fact that this is a very common underlying cause so that it can be treated using the correct strategies. Scientists believe that kidney damage from organophosphates occurs at the renal tubules.


Patients who are suffering from kidney failure due to organophosphate toxicity may be able to be treated successfully using dialysis. Indeed, case studies have shown that doctors have been able to use dialysis to treat organophosphate poisoning induced kidney failure. 


Dialysis and Supportive Therapies for Kidney Failure due to Organophosphate Poisoning

Dialysis has been used as a treatment for organophosphate poisoning in hospitals and clinics. Sometimes doctors also combine dialysis with other medicines to treat organophosphate poisoning including:


  • Noradrenaline / norepinephrine treatments
  • Atropine (to treat muscarinic receptors)
  • Pralidoxime (to treat nicotinic receptors)


Certain probiotics such as certain strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus have also been shown to be able to break down organophosphates

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Other Important Links:

Introduction to Organophosphates and Organophosphate Poisoning

Organophosphate Drugs: Bisphosphonates 

What’s the Link Between Osteoporosis and Dementia?

Secrets of Reproductive Organ Health: Molecular Soul Mates and Intimate Nutrient Connections That Balance Hormone Levels Naturally

Organophosphate Exposure Protection and Vitamin K2: Cure Lymphoma, Leukemia, Multiple Myeloma, Brain Cancer, Breast Cancer and More

How to Prevent Organophosphate Poisoning and Treat Organophosphate Poisoning Naturally Using Probiotics

Organophosphate Exposure Through Food, Food Additives, and More…

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Jacobson, M. H. et al. (2021). Organophosphate pesticides and progression of chronic kidney disease among children: A prospective cohort study. Retrieved October 2, 2022 from 


Lee, F. Y. et al. (2015). Organophosphate Poisoning and Subsequent Acute Kidney Injury Risk. Retrieved October 2, 2022 from 


Rubio, C. R. et al. (2012). Acute renal failure due to the inhalation of organophosphates: successful treatment with haemodialysis. Retrieved October 2, 2022 from 

Zafar, R. et al. (2017). Acute Renal Failure due to Organophosphate Poisoning: A Case Report. Retrieved October 2, 2022 from