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Piperonyl Butoxide

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.

Read more: Insecticides