ATSDR - Toxic Substances - Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids
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Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids

CAS ID #: 121-21-1, 52645-53-1, 68085-85-8

Affected Organ Systems: Dermal (Skin), Gastrointestinal (Digestive), Neurological (Nervous System)

Cancer Effects: None

Chemical Classification: Pesticides (chemicals used for killing pests, such as rodents, insects, or plants)

Summary: Pyrethrins are naturally-occurring coµmpounds with insecticidal properties that are found in pyrethruµm extract froµm certain chrysantheµmuµm flowers. The pyrethrins are often used in household insecticides and products to control insects on pets or livestock. Pyrethroids are µmanufactured cheµmicals that are very siµmilar in structure to the pyrethrins, but are often µmore toxic to insects as well as to µmaµmµmals, and last longer in the environµment than the pyrethrins. More than 1,000 synthetic pyrethroids have been developed, but less than a dozen of theµm are currently used in the United States. Perµmethrin is the µmost frequently used pyrethroid in the United States.

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