The world we live provided us the project but the way to explore the project and give the feedback depended on us. A process of fighting, a processing of growing. Click for details.

  • Supermarket Preliminary Research Click for details.
  • As an alternative to organophosphorus pesticides and organic chlorine pesticides, pyrethroids are widely used not only in agricultural production, but also in domestic hygiene. By way of literature review, we know that pyrethroids are important ingredients of mosquito coil, electric mosquito mat, electric mosquito liquid, etc., expect for insect repellent fragrance.

    In order to verify the conclusion of literature review, during this summer vacation, our team members conducted product research in local supermarkets, investigating some common brands of insect repellent for their ingredients and asking the salespersons about the sales of mosquito repellent products. This preliminary research provides good ideas to our questionnaire design.

  • Questionnaire Click for details.
  • (Click here to see the results.)

    According to literature review, we know that pyrethroid insecticides are widely and heavily used in our life due to their large application scope. They are proved effective both in crop pest control of vegetables and fruit trees and as domestic insecticides in killing mosquitoes, cockroaches, head lice, etc. [1-3] .

    Recent studies have shown that pyrethroid pesticides are not low-toxic and safe as expected. Their residues in grains, vegetables and fruits will go directly into human body through diet. Besides, when spraying the pesticides, humans are exposed to them inevitably. Under natural conditions, pyrethroid pesticides are hard to degrade, while their long-term accumulation leads to accumulated toxicity, contributing to chronic diseases[4], neurotoxicity and reproductive toxicity[5].

    Pyrethroid pesticides are also used as domestic insect repellents. In China, a variety of mosquito coils, electric mosquito mats, electric mosquito liquids and insect aerosol sprays are heavily used inside the room in summer, which increases humans' exposure to pyrethroid pesticides and potential health problems in turn.

    To pregnant women and infants, who are in special physiological stage, pyrethroid pesticides are particularly hazardous, because they are more susceptible and less resistant to the harmful substance than ordinary adults. Some exposure to pyrethroid pesticides may not have effects on ordinary adults, but to fetuses and infant, the same exposure may cause severe developmental disorders. Once poisoned in fetus period, a crucial period of tissue and organ development, the effect will last a lifetime.

    Based on the above literature review, a questionnaire is designed to survey insect repellent users on types of insect repellent products they choose, use frequency, their knowledge about pyrethroids, and pyrethroids' hazardous effect on pregnant women, infants and children, etc.

    We have collected 680 valid questionnaires (all completed) at the end of the survey.

    This is our questionnaire, click to see the Questionnaire & Statistical Result(PDF)

    We have analyzed the data we have collected. The analysis results are as follows:

    1. Use of insect repellent products
    2. The survey shows that most insect repellent users choose insect repellent fragrance, mosquito coil and electric mosquito liquid. Among them, the active ingredient of insect repellent fragrance is "diethyltoluamide", while that of the other products is pyrethroids.

      Our NAU iGEM team member investigated in supermarket the components of certain insect repellent products as indicated by the user survey. The results reveal that only Liushen products are insect repellent fragrance and other products of Raid, Cheerwin and Gunner are all pesticides with pyrethroids, which increases humans’ exposure to pyrethroids.

      30.59% of the respondents use insect repellent products everyday in mosquito season, and 57.06% use irregularly. 27.50% of the respondents use up more than 1 bottle (box) of insect repellent product throughout a summer. All these data show that humans have frequent and long-term exposure to pyrethroid insecticides. If the pyrethroids accumulate in human body, they will definitely do harm to human health and lead to severe consequences that cannot be ignored.

    3. Hazardous effects of pyrethroid matters in insect repellent products
    4. Pyrethroid insecticides are widely used in our life; however, we found that the respondents do not know these poisonous matters, not to mention their hazardous effects. By count, 59.71% of the respondents do not know what pyrethroids are, 28.38% once heard of them, and merely 3.24% know them well.

      Only 18.09% of the respondents know that pyrethroids in insect repellent products may remain in human body due to slow degradation and accumulated residues may affect health of pregnant women and children intelligence development. They would try to avoid using such products to protect pregnant women and children. However, most of the respondents do not know the harm brought by these products.

    5. Summary
    6. To summarize, though the results of the survey may be a bit partial and incomplete to some extent due to the small sample size, it is undeniable that people's knowledge about pyrethroid products is insufficient. Greater hazards would be caused by insufficient knowledge and ignorance especially when heavy use of products exerts harmful effects on pregnant women and children, and there are pyrethroid insecticide residues on our grains, vegetables and fruits.

      Our NAU iGEM team aims to popularize the basics of pyrethroids, their hazardous effects due to long-term and improper use, the way of purchasing and using these products, measures to take after poisoning, etc., without arousing unnecessary public panic. This is also our social responsibility.


      [1] DADER B,LEGARREA S,MORENO A,et al. Control of insect vectors and plant viruses in protected crops by novel pyrethroid-treated nets [J]. Pest Management Scicnce, 2014, 70(10):3912-3917.

      [2] LORETTA C G, JUDITH L E,JOHN E C. Pesticide interactions; Effects of organ phosphorus pesticides on the metabolism, toxicity, and persistence of selected pyrethroid insecticides[J]. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology, 1980, 14(1):81-85.

      [3] WOLANSKY M J, HARRILL J A. Neurobehavioral toxicology of pyrethroid insecticides in adult animals: A critical review[J]. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 2008, 30: 55-78.

      [4] Kolaczinski JH, Curtis CF. Chronicillness as a result of low-level exposure to synthetic pyrethroid insecticides: a review of the debate. Food Chen Toxicol 2004, 42(5): 697-706.

      [5] Velmurugan B, Selvanayagam M, Cengiz EI, Unlu E, Histopathology of lambda-cyhalothrin on tissues (gill, kidney, liver and intestine) of cirrhinus mrigala. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol 2007, 24: 286-291.

      [6] James R. Roberts, MD, MPH, Catherine J. Karr, MD, PhD, and COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH. Pesticide Exposure in Children: American Academy of Pediatrics. 2012, 11(6)1765-1788

  • Questionnaire feedback Click for details.
  • Considering that people know less about pyrethroid products and we think we shoulder the responsibility to inform the respondents our findings, we have found out the mailboxes of some respondents and sent them an analysis of our survey results. The correct way to buy and use pyrethroid pesticide properly, the way to reduce pesticide residues in vegetables and fruits and measures to take after pyrethroid pesticide poisoning, etc. are also included in the mail. We hope to help those in need through our questionnaire feedback. We are so pleased and excited to know that some respondents think it beneficial by mailing back. They said they had got access to some unknown knowledge.

    In addition, our team members have published the questionnaire feedback on our social networking platform QQ and WeChat in the hope that our questionnaire analysis and feedback can be known by more people around us.

    Pictures of questionnaire feedback
  • Brochure Click for details.
  • We have made and distributed brochures of our project to urban or rural residents, especially the elderly, pregnant women and other people who may be exposed to pyrethroid products more frequently to make them aware of our findings.

    We also sent an electronic copy of our brochure to UNICEF in the hope that we can make a little effort on the healthy growth of children around the world.

    Pictures about Brochure Section

    Click to see our brochure content

    Click to download the PDF version(English)

    Click to download the PDF version(Chinese)

Our NAU iGEM team aims to popularize the basics of pyrethroids, their hazardous effects due to long-term and improper use, the way of purchasing and using these products, measures to take after poisoning, etc., without arousing unnecessary public panic. This is also our social responsibility.