National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

Neonicotinoid pesticides (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, acetamiprid, thiacloprid, dinotefuran, and nitenpyram)

spraying pesticides on flower

Over the past several years, agricultural use of neonicotinoid pesticides has increased. These insecticides function by causing neurologic effects similar to nicotine that disables insects. Neonicotinoid pesticides are persistent in the environment at levels below US Environmental Protection Agency tolerances, but their residues have been found in many fruits and vegetables by the US Department of Agriculture. Environmental persistence and nicotine like effects raise concern for potential long-term human health effects.

Current Status

Neonicotinoid pesticides have been nominated to NTP for possible evaluation of noncancer health outcomes. NTP requested information about these pesticides on October 7, 2015, in the Federal Register. The Office of Health Assessment and Translation is considering the public comments and conducting analyses on the extent and nature of the literature on neonicotinoid pesticides. This work will inform NTP’s decision on whether or not to propose conducting a formal assessment of the scientific literature to reach conclusions regarding whether exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides is a hazard for human health.

NTP is located at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.