Environmental Impact

Compared to many other pesticides, most notably the synthetic pyrethroids, pyrethrins have a favorable profile.  While all pesticides can be toxic to aquatic organisms, and to fish, pyrethrins are 10 to over 100 times less toxic than some of the synthetic pyrethroids.

Pyrethrins are rapidly eliminated in the environment, and their breakdown products are essentially non-toxic and pose no risk. The primary route of elimination in the environment is photolysis (UV light mediated). This occurs rapidly both in water and soil with dissipation half-lives of less than 24 hours. Pyrethrins also breakdown readily on fabric and tile. The initial phase of decay occurs with a short half-life ranging from 1.8 to 2.33 hours of direct sunlight for tile and 1.66 to 3.25 hours of direct sunlight for percale. The second half-life is slower and ranges from 7.0 to 16.0 hours of direct sunlight for tile and 4.2 to 11.0 hours of direct sunlight for percale.

Because of the relatively water insoluble nature of the pyrethrins, they are considered immobile in soil. This property greatly limits their ability to migrate into groundwater. The binding of pyrethrins to soil makes microbial metabolism in the soil an important component of the degradation of pyrethrins, with half-lives of 10.5 days under aerobic soil conditions and 86.1 days in anaerobic conditions.

The properties and environmental fate characteristics discussed above, along with the ready metabolism of pyrethrins in various species in the food chain from microbes through fish indicate that pyrethrins are short lived in the environment and will not bioaccumulate.

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Pyrethrins are the active ingredient in many products used in many markets such as:

Home & Garden
Products that control insects in and around the home or garden

Animal Health
Products that control nuisance pests on animals or around animal premises

Crop Protection 
Products that protect growing crops from crop damaging insects

Public Health 
Products that protect the public with government mosquito abatement programs

Professional Pest Control   
Products that control pests in residential and commercial accounts

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