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  • Permethrin is a common synthetic chemical, widely used as an insecticide, acaricide, and insect repellent. It belongs to the family of synthetic chemicals called pyrethroids and functions as a neurotoxin, affecting neuron membranes by prolonging sodium channel activation.
  • Permethrin was first registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) in 1979, and was re-registered in 2006.
  • Permethrin was invented in 1973 and marketed in 1977 as a photo-stable pyrethroid. It is a mixture of four stereo-isomers.
  • Permethrin is the common name for 3-phenoxybenzyl (1RS)-cis, trans-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2 dimethylcyclopropane carboxylate. It is a mixture of four stereoisomers of the (1R, trans), (1R, cis), (1S, trans) and (1S, cis) configurations.
  • Technical grade permethrin is more than 91-93% pure. It is formulated as emulsifiable concentrates, ultra-low volume concentrates, wettable powders, dust, fogging formulations, and aerosols.


  • Permethrin is registered for use on/in numerous food/feed crops, livestock andlivestock housing, modes of transportation, structures, buildings (including food handling establishments), Public Health Mosquito abatement programs, and numerous residential use sites including use in outdoor and indoor spaces, pets, and clothing.
  • Permethrin is a useful synthetic insecticide that has proven effective in a number of environmental and clinical settings. It appears to be more effective than DEET in protecting individuals from tick bites.
  • Permethrin used in veterinary medicinal products is in the form of sprays (including udder sprays), powders, pour-ons or ear-tags for external application to cattle, horses, donkeys, pigs, sheep, goats, and poultry, for the control of ectoparasites.
  • In addition to the pesticidal uses, there is also a non-FIFRA pharmaceutical use of permethrin as a pediculicide for the treatment of head lice and scabies.
  • Permethrin can also be used by Public Health Officials and trained personnel in certain districts for mosquito abatement and other mosquito control programs.
  • Permethrin is a widely used insecticide in the United States. Permethrin is used in agricultural, commercial, and residential settings.


  • In the U.S., al-most 70 percent of the permethrin used in agriculture is used on corn, wheat, and alfalfa.2 Over 100 million applications of permethrin are made each year in U.S. homes, and over 18 million applications are made in yards and gardens.
  • In 1990, the U.S. military adopted permethrin as the standard clothing-application repellent, to be used as an adjunct to topical repellents.
  • If permethrin gets into the soil, it is broken down by microorganisms. Sunlight may also break down permethrin on the soil surface and on the surface of water.Permethrin does not mix well with water. When permethrin gets into surface water like lakes or streams, it sticks very strongly to sediment and can stay there for more than a year.
  • If permethrin is applied to plants, it may stay on the leaves for between 1 and 3 weeks. Scientists applied permethrin to soil and then planted sugar beets, wheat, lettuce and cotton in the soil. Scientists found trace amounts of the permethrin residue in the edible parts of the plants at 30 and 120 days after planting.

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