SPRI Home About SPRI


AMX, Butox Swish, Copper’s Spot On, Decis Protech

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold
0.002 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Water
0.002 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Waste Water
What is it?
Deltamethrin is a synthetic insecticide which partially mimics natural chemicals produced by certain chrysanthemum flowers and which have an insecticidal or insect repellent effect. In pure form it exists as odourless white to beige crystals. In its pure crystalline form it is relatively stable but in contact with water, soil or sunlight it is generally rapidly broken down. It kills insects by disrupting signals in the insect’s nervous system.
What is it used for?
Deltamethrin is used as a pesticide applied to the foliage of plants and crops as a topical treatment for pets and farm animals and as a prescription medicine to treat sea lice infestations on farmed fish.
Where does it come from?
Deltamethrin is mainly released to the environment through its application to crops and animals as an agricultural pesticide and as a treatment for sea lice. Releases may also occur during its manufacture, transportation and storage. There are not thought to be any natural sources of Deltarmethrin to the environment.
How might it affect the environment?
Deltamethrin applied to crops may contaminate the soil. However, it breaks down to less toxic chemicals within a matter of days or weeks and is not accumulated by any organisms. Deltamethrin is potentially highly toxic to aquatic organisms, but seepage to water bodies from contaminated land is minimal as Deltamethrin binds strongly to soil particles Discharges from the use of Deltamethrin at fish farms are limited by conditions in licenses issued by SEPA to protect non-target animals. It is not particularly toxic to birds and other wildlife, except insects which are not usually exposed as they are repelled by it anyway. It is not considered likely that Deltamethrin pollution has any effects on the global environment.
How might exposure to it affect human health?
Note : As well as reading the information below, we recommend that you refer to our guidance on the "Interpretation of Information on Health Effects" . Deltamethrin can enter the body either by inhalation of air containing Deltamethrin vapours, by ingestion of Deltamethrin or by dermal contact with Deltamethrin. Inhalation of significant amounts of Deltamethrin can lead to nausea, headache, vomiting and other symptoms. Ingestion of significant amounts of Deltamethrin can cause abdominal pain, convulsions and headaches, ingestion of small amounts is unlikely to give rise to symptoms. Dermal contact with Deltamethrin can cause skin irritation including numbness and pins and needles. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has not classified Deltamethrin in terms of its carcinogenicity to humans. However, exposure to Deltamethrin at normal background levels is unlikely to have any adverse effect on human health.
What steps are being taken to limit the potential impacts?
Releases of Deltamethrin are controlled and limited to ensure environmental protection through the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 and the Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) (Scotland 2000) Regulations.. Deltamethrin is also regulated as a pesticide through the Food and Environmental Protection Act (FEPA 1985) and the Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR 1986). It is authorised for use as a pesticide in the UK (including Scotland) in the Pesticide Safety Directorate. Deltamethrin in the form of AMX, Butox Swish, Cooper’s Spot On and other products is authorised for use as an animal medicine by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. European Directives concerned with releases of Deltamethrin include that which controls pollution of the aquatic environment by dangerous substances (76/464/EEC), that which designates maximum allowed levels for pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables (93/58/EC) - which in Scotland is implemented by the Maximum Levels in Crops, Foods and Feedstuffs regulations (MRL 2000).