Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 1377–1391 | Cite as

Toxicity of the pyrethroid bifenthrin insecticide

  • Ye Yang
  • Nanxiang Wu
  • Chunlei Wang


Bifenthrin is a chiral synthetic pyrethroid insecticide that has been commonly used for agricultural and domestic pest control over the past decades. Due to its widespread application, residues of bifenthrin has been frequently detected in environmental media, residential areas and biota, thus posing potential risks to the health of wildlife and humans. In particular, bifenthrin exhibits high acute lethal toxicity to aquatic species, and it is the primary contributor to the toxicity of insecticides in waters. Additionally, bifenthrin can also cause sublethal toxic effects on various non-target organisms, including developmental toxicity, neurobehavioral toxicity, oxidative damage, immune toxicity and endocrine disrupting effects. Here we review recent studies about the fate of bifenthrin in the environment and biological systems, the toxicity of the chiral parent compound bifenthrin and the toxic effects of main metabolites. The adverse effects of bifenthrin, identified from both in vitro and in vivo studies, and the potential underlying mechanisms are presented. We discuss the enantiomeric difference in the toxicological effects of bifenthrin, since enantiomers of chiral compounds show different interactions with biological systems. Pyrethroid insecticides metabolites are not acutely toxic, but they have sublethal toxicity, such as endocrine disrupting effects and immunotoxicity. We provide emerging evidence for toxic effects of several main metabolites.


Chiral synthetic pyrethroids Bifenthrin Environmental fate Biotransformation Toxicological effects Enantioselectivity 



This work was supported by Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (LY17B070009) and Zhejiang Provincial Science and Technology Program (2017F30003) and Zhejiang Medical and Health Science and Technology Project (2017KY036).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of HygieneZhejiang Academy of Medical SciencesHangzhouChina

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