Non-target toxicity of novel insecticides

Open access


Humans have used insecticides since ancient times. The spectrum and potency of available insecticidal substances has greatly expanded since the industrial revolution, resulting in widespread use and unforeseen levels of synthetic chemicals in the environment. Concerns about the toxic effects of these new chemicals on non-target species became public soon after their appearance, which eventually led to the restrictions of use. At the same time, new, more environmentally-friendly insecticides have been developed, based on naturally occurring chemicals, such as pyrethroids (derivatives of pyrethrin), neonicotinoids (derivatives of nicotine), and insecticides based on the neem tree vegetable oil (Azadirachta indica), predominantly azadirachtin. Although these new substances are more selective toward pest insects, they can still target other organisms. Neonicotinoids, for example, have been implicated in the decline of the bee population worldwide. This review summarises recent literature published on non-target toxicity of neonicotinoids, pyrethroids, and neem-based insecticidal substances, with a special emphasis on neonicotinoid toxicity in honeybees. We also touch upon the effects of pesticide combinations and documented human exposure to these substances.

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Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology

The Journal of Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health

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