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A synthetic pyrethroid Insecticide. Permethrin is stable to light. Compared to other insecticides, pyrethrins have low toxicity to mammals (except for cats). They break down fairly rapidly at leave no harmful residues. Permethrin is used for ticks, flies, bees, lice, and spiders. Some insect repellents also contain permethrin.

Permethrin was discovered in 1973. It is widely used in cremes and lotions for the treatment of lice and scabies. Permethrin is also contained in some tick collars and medication for dogs. It, however, is highly toxic to cats and some aquatic organisms.

Synonyms and Related Terms

[(3-phenoxyphenyl)methyl-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropanecarboxylate]; Constrain; Nix; Ambush; Eksmin; Talcord; 3-phenoxybenzyl (1RS)-cis-trans-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropanecarboxylate


  • Mildly irritating to skins and eyes.
  • Highly toxic to cats
  • EChemi: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in most organic solvents. Insoluble in water.

Composition C21H20Cl2O3
CAS 52645-53-1
Melting Point 35 C
Density 1.190-1.272 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 391.3
Boiling Point 200 C

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Marie Svoboda, Conservation Survey Index, unpublished, 1997
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 7321
  • Wikipedia: Permethrin (Accessed Mar. 20, 2006 and July 2023)