Cypermethrin — toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Thursday, December 07, 2017 by

Cypermethrin is a pyrethroid insecticide that mainly affects an insect’s central nervous system, used against a number of insect pests such as aphids, weevils, caterpillars, yellow cereal fly, flea beetles, blossom beetles, pod midge and moth pests on wheat, barley, oats, rye, triticale, peas and beans, brassicas, oilseed rape, sugar beets, fodder beet and mangels, potatoes, apples and pears.

According to data from the National Pesticide Information Center fact sheet, it is a “synthetic chemical similar to the pyrethrins in pyrethrum extract (which comes from the chrysanthemum plant).”

Cypermethrin appears as colorless crystals or white powder, or dark yellow or brownish solid. Cypermethrin is available in emulsifiable concentrate, ULV and wettable powder formulations.

Some trade names for cypermethrin include Ammo, Arrivo, Barricade, Basathrin, CCN52, Cymbush, Cymperator, Cynoff, Cypercopal, Cyperguard 25EC, Cyperhard Tech, Cyperkill, Cypermar, Demon, Flectron, Fligene CI, Folcord, Kafil, NRDC 149, Polytrin, PP383, Ripcord, Siperin, Stockade and Super.

List of known side effects

Effects of cypermethrin depend on how much of the chemical is present and the length and frequency of exposure. Animal models in experimental exposures exhibited a nervous system response, such as restlessness, incoordination, prostration and paralysis. Other side effects include writhing, salivation, fatigue, headache, dizziness, listlessness, loss of bladder control, tremors, seizures, and numbness, tingling, burning and itching of the skin. Cypermethrin may also irritate the eyes.

The online chemistry database PubChem notes that inhaling the fumes of cypermethrin may cause shortness of breath, burning sensation in the throat and esophagus, cough and overall respiratory tract discomfort. Severe aspiration may lead to hypersensitivity pneumonitis, pulmonary edema and asthmatic wheezing.

Likewise, accidental ingestion of cypermethrin may cause abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Severely poisoned patients may experience nausea, prolonged vomiting with colicky pain and diarrhea, followed by convulsions, unconsciousness and coma.

Cypermethrin is also noted to be a serious aquatic pollutant. It is highly toxic to various aquatic organisms and insects, particularly honey bees.

Body systems affected by cypermethrin

The highest concentrations of cypermethrin are found in body fat, skin, liver, kidneys, adrenals and ovaries, based on animal studies. Cypermethrin may also affect the lungs and thymus gland.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified cypermethrin as a possible human carcinogen; tests with female mice revealed that high doses can cause benign lung tumors to develop.

Items that can contain cypermethrin

As per the Extension Toxicology Network data, some or all products containing cypermethrin may be classified as Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP) by the EPA. Cypermethrin can be found in the following products and formulations:

  • Termiticides
  • Household insecticides
  • Outdoor insecticides
  • AmmoTM
  • CybushR
  • Cynoff TM
  • Cyperkill
  • DemonR
  • Permasect C

Pesticides containing cypermethrin must bear the signal word “Danger” or “Caution” on the product label. Manufacturers that supply such products include AgriGuard, Fargro and Nufarm.

How to avoid cypermethrin

Avoid products that use cypermethrin as an active ingredient. It is unlikely to contaminate groundwater as it has a strong tendency to adsorb to soil particles.

Where to learn more

Summary

Cypermethrin is an insecticide that attacks an insect’s central nervous system.

Cypermethrin is a highly toxic substance that can affect the liver, kidneys, adrenals, ovaries, lungs, thymus and skin.

Cypermethrin is a serious aquatic pollutant.

Sources include:

ChemSpider.com

NPIC.ORST.edu

PubChem.NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov

ToxNet.NLM.NIH.gov

PesticideInfo.org

ExToxNet.ORST.edu

InChem.org

PMEP.CCE.Cornell.edu

Sitem.Herts.ac.uk



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