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Lambda-cyhalothrin — toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Thursday, November 30, 2017 by

Lambda-cyhalothrin is a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide and acaricide. It is used to control pests like aphids and butterfly larvae. It is applied to crops such as cotton and ornamentals. Lambda-cyhalothrin can also be used for structural pest management or in public health applications to control insects such as cockroaches, mosquitoes, ticks, and flies, which can act as disease vectors.

As a Restricted Use Pesticide, lambda-cyhalothrin can only be purchased and used by certified applicators. Since it is in EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Toxicity Class II, products containing lambda-cyhalothrin must bear the signal word WARNING.

Lambda-cyhalothrin appears as a colorless solid, and it is available as an emulsifiable concentrate, a wettable powder, or a ULV liquid. It is commonly mixed with buprofezin, pirimicarb, dimethoate, or tetramethrin. Lambda-cyhalothrin is compatible with a lot of other insecticides and fungicides.

Lambda-cyhalothrin’s other trade names and identifiers include:

  • alpha-cyano-3-phenoxybenzyl 3-(2-chloro-3,3,3-trifluoroprop-1-enyl)-2,2-dimethyl cyclopropanecarboxylate
  • Commodore
  • cyhalothrin
  • Icon
  • Karate insecticide
  • lambclacyhalothrin
  • lambda cyhalothrin
  • lambdacyhalothrin
  • Matador
  • OMS 3021
  • OMS-3021
  • PP 321
  • Sentinel

List of known side effects

Lambda-cyhalothrin is toxic if swallowed. It is also toxic if it comes in contact with skin. It can cause eye irritation, and it may cause respiratory irritation. Lambda-cyhalothrin can damage organs through prolonged or repeated exposure. It is also very toxic to aquatic life, with long-lasting effects.

Dermal and inhalational exposures to lambda-cyhalothrin are associated with no or mild adverse effects. Following substantial ingestion, patients may go into a coma, experience convulsions and severe muscle fasciculations and may take several days, occasionally weeks, to recover.

Fatalities have occurred rarely after pyrethroid exposure, usually following ingestion of lambda-cyhalothrin. No known fatalities have been reported after lambda-cyhalothrin exposure.

Body systems affected by lambda-cyhalothrin

Lambda-cyhalothrin can irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. The substance can cause negative side effects on the peripheral nervous system, resulting in convulsions or ataxia.

Lambda-cyhalothrin can produce an effect described as “subjective facial sensation” in some people working with the compound. Subjective facial sensation is a transient phenomenon, and its symptoms are not associated with objective physical signs and individuals can recover from it completely.

It is possible that subjective facial sensation is caused by direct facial contact with the chemical, such as touching the face with contaminated gloves or hands. This could also explain the effect of formulation or concentration as these could affect the rate of dermal penetration and therefore access of the chemical to the nerve endings.

Items that can contain lambda-cyhalothrin

Lambda-cyhalothrin is a quick-acting insecticide used to control a wide spectrum of agricultural crop and public health pests. It is used to control pests such as aphids, thrips, Colorado beetles, caterpillars, mosquitoes, ticks, and flies. Lambda-cyhalothrin is often applied on cotton, cereals, potatoes, hops, and vegetables.

How to avoid lambda-cyhalothrin

Always wear the proper protective gear when working with lambda-cyhalothrin.

  • Ventilation — While no special ventilation is required for this product, make sure that the work environment remains clean and that dusts and vapors are minimized.
  • Eye protection — Wear protective glasses or goggles when working with lambda-cyhalothrin.
  • Skin protection — Prevent skin contact by wearing impervious gloves, clothes, and an apron. Make sure that all skin areas are covered. Suitable material types include rubber or PVC  for protective clothing.
  • Respirator — A respirator isn’t usually required when handling lambda-cyhalothrin.
  • Others — Safety deluge showers must be provided near areas where lambda-cyhalothrin is used.

Where to learn more


Lambda-cyhalothrin is a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide and acaricide.

Lambda-cyhalothrin can irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.

Lambda-cyhalothrin is often applied on cotton, cereals, potatoes, hops, and vegetables.

Sources include:


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