Pyrethroid insecticides may increase cardiovascular mortality

Pyrethroid insecticides may increase cardiovascular mortality

A study published in JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) Internal Medicine evaluated the environmental exposure to pyrethroid insecticides by checking the levels of general pyrethroid metabolite 3-phenoxybenzoic acid in urine samples [1]. Pyrethroids are used in mosquito repellents, lice shampoos and pet sprays are generally considered to be safe insecticides.

But this study found that higher levels of pyrethroid metabolites in urine over a 14 year observation period was associated with a higher risk of death from all causes or from cardiovascular diseases.

The study involved 2116 adults aged 20 years or more who had participated in US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted from 1999 to 2002 and provided urine samples for measurement of pyrethroid metabolite.

Authors mention that further studies are needed to confirm their findings and look for the underlying mechanism.


  1. Bao W, Liu B, Simonsen DW, Lehmler HJ. Association Between Exposure to Pyrethroid Insecticides and Risk of All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in the General US Adult Population. JAMA Intern Med. 2019 Dec 30. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.6019. [Epub ahead of print]