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Permethrin

Technical Fact Sheet

As of 2011, NPIC stopped creating technical pesticide fact sheets. The old collection of technical fact sheets will remain available in this archive, but they may contain out-of-date material. NPIC no longer has the capacity to consistently update them. To visit our general fact sheets, click here. For up-to-date technical fact sheets, please visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s webpage.

Molecular Structure -
Permethrin

Laboratory Testing: Before pesticides are registered by the U.S. EPA, they must undergo laboratory testing for short-term (acute) and long-term (chronic) health effects. Laboratory animals are purposely given high enough doses to cause toxic effects. These tests help scientists judge how these chemicals might affect humans, domestic animals, and wildlife in cases of overexposure.

Chemical Class and Type:

Physical / Chemical Properties:

Uses:

Mode of Action:

Target Organisms

Non-target Organisms

Acute Toxicity:

Oral

LD50/LC50: A common measure of acute toxicity is the lethal dose (LD50) or lethal concentration (LC50) that causes death (resulting from a single or limited exposure) in 50 percent of the treated animals. LD50 is generally expressed as the dose in milligrams (mg) of chemical per kilogram (kg) of body weight. LC50 is often expressed as mg of chemical per volume (e.g., liter (L)) of medium (i.e., air or water) the organism is exposed to. Chemicals are considered highly toxic when the LD50/LC50 is small and practically non-toxic when the value is large. However, the LD50/LC50 does not reflect any effects from long-term exposure (i.e., cancer, birth defects or reproductive toxicity) that may occur at levels below those that cause death.

Dermal

Inhalation

TOXICITY CLASSIFICATION - PERMETHRIN
High Toxicity Moderate Toxicity Low Toxicity Very Low Toxicity
Acute Oral LD50 Up to and including 50 mg/kg
(≤ 50 mg/kg)
Greater than 50 through 500 mg/kg
(>50-500 mg/kg)
Greater than 500 through 5000 mg/kg
(>500-5000 mg/kg)
Greater than 5000 mg/kg
(>5000 mg/kg)
Inhalation LC50 Up to and including 0.05 mg/L
(≤0.05 mg/L)
Greater than 0.05 through 0.5 mg/L
(>0.05-0.5 mg/L)
Greater than 0.5 through 2.0 mg/L
(>0.5-2.0 mg/L)
Greater than 2.0 mg/L
(>2.0 mg/L)
Dermal LD50 Up to and including 200 mg/kg
(≤200 mg/kg)
Greater than 200 through 2000 mg/kg
(>200-2000 mg/kg)
Greater than 2000 through 5000 mg/kg
(>2000-5000 mg/kg)
Greater than 5000 mg/kg
(>5000 mg/kg)
Primary Eye Irritation Corrosive (irreversible destruction of ocular tissue) or corneal involvement or irritation persisting for more than 21 days Corneal involvement or other eye irritation clearing in 8 - 21 days Corneal involvement or other eye irritation clearing in 7 days or less Minimal effects clearing in less than 24 hours
Primary Skin Irritation Corrosive (tissue destruction into the dermis and/or scarring) Severe irritation at 72 hours (severe erythema or edema) Moderate irritation at 72 hours (moderate erythema) Mild or slight irritation at 72 hours (no irritation or erythema)
The highlighted boxes reflect the values in the "Acute Toxicity" section of this fact sheet. Modeled after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs, Label Review Manual, Chapter 7: Precautionary Labeling. http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/labeling/lrm/chap-07.pdf

Signs of Toxicity - Animals

Signs of Toxicity - Humans

Chronic Toxicity:

Animals

Humans

Exposure: Effects of permethrin on human health and the environment depend on how much permethrin is present and the length and frequency of exposure. Effects also depend on the health of a person and/or certain environmental factors.

Endocrine Disruption:

Carcinogenicity:

Animals

Humans

Reproductive or Teratogenic Effects:

Animals

Humans

Fate in the Body:

Absorption

Distribution

Metabolism

Excretion

Medical Tests and Monitoring:

Environmental Fate:

Soil

The "half-life" is the time required for half of the compound to break down in the environment.

1 half-life = 50% remaining
2 half-lives = 25% remaining
3 half-lives = 12% remaining
4 half-lives = 6% remaining
5 half-lives = 3% remaining

Half-lives can vary widely based on environmental factors. The amount of chemical remaining after a half-life will always depend on the amount of the chemical originally applied. It should be noted that some chemicals may degrade into compounds of toxicological significance.

Water

Air

Plants

Indoor

Food Residue

Ecotoxicity Studies:

Birds

Fish and Aquatic Life

Terrestrial Invertebrates

Regulatory Guidelines:

Date Reviewed: March 2009

Please cite as: Toynton, K.; Luukinen, B.; Buhl, K.; Stone, D. 2009. Permethirn Technical Fact Sheet; National Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University Extension Services. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/archive/Permtech.html.

References:

  1. Tomlin, C. D. S. The Pesticide Manual: A World Compendium, 14th ed.; British Crop Production Council: Alton, England, 2006; pp 813-814.
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  3. Permethrin Facts (Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) Fact Sheet); U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Prevention, Pesticide and Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2006.
  4. Vogue, P. A.; Kerle, E. A.; Jenkins, J. J. OSU Extension Pesticide Properties Database. http://ace.orst.edu/info/npic/ppdmove.htm (accessed Aug 2008), updated July 1994.
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  7. Bough, M. Permethrin Toxicosis in Cats. Vet. Tech. Sept 2000.
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  9. FAO. Pesticide Residues in Food, Toxicological Evaluations; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization: Rome, 1999.
  10. Richardson, J. A. Permethrin Spot-on Toxicoses in Cats. J. Vet. Emerg. Crit. Care 2000, 10.
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  13. Blondell, J.; Hawkins, M. S. Review of Permethrin Incidents Report; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, Health Effects Division, U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2004.
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  20. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans: Occupational Exposures in Insecticide Application, and Some Pesticides; International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization: Lyon, France,1991; Vol. 53, pp 329-332.
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  22. Mytton, O. T.; McGready, R.; Lee, S. J.; Roberts, C. H.; Ashley, E. A.; Carrara, V. I.; Thwai, K. L.; Jay, M. P.; Wiangambun, T.; Singhasivanon, P.; Nosten, F. Safety of benzyl benzoate lotion and permethrin in pregnancy: a retrospective matched cohort study. Br. J. Obstet. Gynaecol. 2007, 114 (5), 582-587.
  23. Kennedy, D.; Hurst, V.; Konradsdottir, E.; Einarson, A. Pregnancy outcome following exposure to permethrin and use of teratogen information. Am. J. Perinatol. 2005, 22 (2), 87-90.
  24. VanDerRhee, H. J.; Farquhar, J. A.; Vermeulen, N. P. E. Efficacy and Transdermal Absorption of Permethrin in Scabies Patients. Acta Derm. Venereol. 1989, 69 (2), 170-173.
  25. Anadon, A.; Martinez-Larranaga, M. R.; Diaz, M. J.; Bringas, P. Toxicokinetics of Permethrin in the Rat. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 1991, 110, 1-8.
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