What is piperonyl butoxide?
• Piperonyl butoxide is a synergist used in a wide variety of pesticides.
• Synergists are chemicals that lack pesticidal effects of their own but enhance the pesticidal properties of other chemicals.
• Piperonyl butoxide is used in pesticides containing chemicals such as pyrethrins, pyrethroids, rotenone, and carbamates.
• Researchers developed piperonyl butoxide in 1947 using naturally-occurring safrole as a key raw material.
• Piperonyl butoxide is a colorless to pale yellow liquid. It does not dissolve in water and is stable to breakdown by water and ultraviolet light.
What is piperonyl butoxide used for?
• Piperonyl butoxide is used to enhance the pesticidal properties of pesticides.
How does piperonyl butoxide work?
• Piperonyl butoxide inhibits breakdown of pesticides by insects.
• Without piperonyl butoxide, an insect may degrade a pesticide before an effect can occur.
• The addition of piperonyl butoxide to a pesticide reduces the amount of pesticide required to be effective.
How toxic is piperonyl butoxide?
• Piperonyl butoxide is low to very low in toxicity when eaten by mammals.
• Piperonyl butoxide is very low in toxicity when inhaled by rats.
• Piperonyl butoxide is low to very low in toxicity to mammals when absorbed by the skin. Guinea-pigs exposed to piperonyl butoxide showed no signs of skin sensitivity.
• Researchers exposed the eyes of rabbits to piperonyl butoxide and all eye irritations that developed fully recovered.
• The liver is the target organ for piperonyl butoxide.
• Researchers applied piperonyl butoxide to the skin of male and female rabbits for three weeks. They noted skin redness and swelling at the application sites.
• Researchers fed dogs capsules containing piperonyl butoxide for one year. All dogs dosed at the highest level died; those dosed at the lowest level exhibited no effects.
What effect does piperonyl butoxide have on wildlife?
• Researchers consider piperonyl butoxide moderately toxic to fish and highly toxic to other aquatic organisms. It is not likely to accumulate in fish.
• Piperonyl butoxide is low to very low in toxicity when eaten by birds.
Signs of toxicity in humans.
Researchers gave eight male human volunteers, aged 22 to 57, a single oral dose of piperonyl butoxide. They monitored the volunteers for 31 hours and observed no changes in the volunteers' metabolism.