Whether you’re looking for insect control for your house, flea and tick control for your pets, or even tonight’s dinner, permethrin is everywhere. Although it’s very easy to disregard it on the ingredients label because the product claims it is “safe,” the truth is that permethrin is a neuro toxic conventional pesticide that could be harming your family, your pets, and your food supply. Understanding the risks and effects peremethrin has on people and the environment should make most of us think twice before using the common permethrin based products out there. The truth about permethrin is very serious, and quite scary. In this three-part series, we will expose what permethrin is, what products contain permethrin, the negative health and environmental effects these products can have, and how to stop using products that contain permethrin as an active ingredient.
Permethrin is a member of the pyrethroid class of conventional pesticides. Similar to other pyrethroids, permethrin alters nerve function by modifying the normal biochemistry and physiology of nerve membrane sodium channels. According to EPA data, approximately 2 million pounds of permethrin are applied annually to agricultural, residential and public sites in the United States. The majority of permethrin, over 70%, is used in non-agricultural settings; 55% is applied by professionals in homes and businesses, 41% is applied by homeowners on residential areas, and 4% is applied on mosquito abatement areas. Permethrin is highly toxic to pollinators such as honeybees.1
Additionally, the EPA classified permethrin as “Likely to be Carcinogenic to Humans”, but that acute, chronic non-cancer, and cancer dietary (food and drinking water) risks from permethrin were below the Agency’s level of concern (LOC). "Carcinogenic" means "cancer causing". Despite the fact that 2 million pounds are applied annually to food, businesses, public land, your home and lawn, and it seeps into groundwater, one might wonder what is that “Level of Concern” and what is permethrin?