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Human and animal welfare primarily depends on the availability of food and surrounding environment. Over a century and half, the quest to identify agents that can enhance food production and protection from vector borne diseases resulted in the identification and use of a variety of pesticides, of which the pyrethroid based ones emerged as the best choice. Pesticides while improved the quality of life, on the other hand caused enormous health risks. Because of their percolation into drinking water and food chain and usage in domestic settings, humans unintentionally get exposed to the pesticides on a daily basis. The health hazards of almost all known pesticides at a variety of doses and exposure times are reported. This review provides a comprehensive summation on the historical, epidemiological, chemical and biological (physiological, biochemical and molecular) aspects of pyrethroid based insecticides. An overview of the available knowledge suggests that the synthetic pyrethroids vary in their chemical and toxic nature and pose health hazards that range from simple nausea to cancers. Despite large number of reports, studies that focused on identifying the health hazards using doses that are equivalent or relevant to human exposure are lacking. It is high time such studies are conducted to provide concrete evidence on the hazards of consuming pesticide contaminated food. Policy decisions to decrease the residual levels of pesticides in agricultural products and also to encourage organic farming is suggested.


Anandha Rao Ravula, Suresh Yenugu. Pyrethroid based pesticides - chemical and biological aspects. Critical reviews in toxicology. 2021 Feb;51(2):117-140

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PMID: 33821762

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