Spray and dead insect

Use of insect spray
Source: Schlierner, fotolia

Although insecticides, i.e. products for insect pest control, are primarily used in agriculture and forestry, they are also used extensively indoors for the following purposes:

  • to preserve wood and protect fabric (e.g. permethrin in wool carpets)
  • to provide mosquito protection (electric vaporisers and sprays);
  • to protect plants against pests
  • to treat parasitic skin diseases in humans and animals
  • to eliminate pests (e.g. cockroaches, silverfish) by means of decontamination.

The following categories of substance currently play a role in indoor applications:

  • Pyrethroids
  • Phosphoric esters
  • Carbamates.

All insecticides can be emitted into the indoor air even quite some time after they are applied. This is due to a variety of processes such as vaporisation, desorption or attachment to dust. In practice, they can pollute the air for anything from a few days (as in the case of pyrethrum) to several weeks (dichlorvos) and months or longer (deltamethrin, permethrin).

Since many insecticides accumulate in dust, analysing dust deposits can deliver important information about the substances that have been applied indoors and the doses used.

Further information


Dr Simone Peters

Hazardous substances: handling, protective measures

Tel: +49 30 13001-3320
Fax: +49 30 13001-38001