Petroleum Distillates in Pesticides
Petroleum distillates are separated from crude oil for many industrial uses. They can be found on a pesticide product label as active or "other/inert" ingredients. Mineral oil, naphtha, heavy fuel oil, waxes, and benzene are examples of petroleum distillates.
Pesticide manufacturers are not usually required to list other/inert ingredients. There are exceptions, like when a product contains more than 10% petroleum distillates. This is because of possible negative health effects.
- evaporate slower than water drops, reducing drift
- allow pesticides to reach their targets better, similar to adjuvants
- reduce runoff and improve rain resistance
- may not be listed if less than 10% of the product
- are often called "horticultural oils"
- control pests physically by blocking insects' air holes
- can act as poisons and affect how insects eat
Consider these tips when choosing or using pesticides:
- A local expert with County Extension may be able to help with product choices.
- The manufacturer may be able to answer questions about petroleum distillates in a product.
- Manufacturers may reveal other/inert ingredients to medical staff for treatment.
- Always follow the label.
If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated February 12, 2020