Exposure to permethrin used as a home insecticide: A case study comparing model predictions and excretion of metabolites

Seon Kyung Park, Heon Jun Lee, Eugene Song, Yoonsub Kim, Du Yung Kim, Jong Hyeon Lee, Hyun Jung Yoo, Jeong Eun Oh, Jung Hwan Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Pyrethroids have been widely used as an active ingredient in home insecticide products since the 1960 s. Although their occurrence in indoor environments has been studied, the contribution of home insecticide application to the aggregate exposure to pyrethroids is not well known. The objective of this study was to estimate the consumer exposure to permethrin, a representative pyrethroid, via the use of home insecticide spray during the summer season using biomonitoring and personal exposure modeling. Exposure to permethrin was assessed by analyzing its urinary metabolites, 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA) and cis/trans-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropan carboxylic acid (cis/trans-DCCA), for a group of consumers (n = 27). The levels of metabolites were also compared with those predicted by a screening exposure model considering personal exposure parameters. The levels of metabolites in 15 participants increased significantly (p < 0.05) with the application of home insecticide products, thereby suggesting that the heavy use of home insecticides during summer could be an important exposure route of permethrin in addition to other sources, such as food consumption. The total amount of excreted 3-PBA and cis/trans-DCCA was lower than the amount estimated by the exposure model for most participants by a factor of 0.9–861.0. These differences could be attributed to the rapid loss of permethrin after application, including sorption to indoor surfaces, reaction with indoor substances, individual biological variations, and ventilation during application. However, the screening exposure model used for the initial safety assessment of biocidal products generally performed well because it did not underestimate the personal exposure to permethrin during the application of home insecticide spray.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106581
JournalEnvironment international
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea Environment Industry & Technology Institute ( KEITI ) through “Technology Development Project for Safety Management of Household Chemical Products” funded by the Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) (Nos. 2020002970001 and 1485017105).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Consumer exposure
  • Insecticides
  • Intervention study
  • Permethrin
  • Pyrethroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


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