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Volume 6 (2006), Pages 279-290
Research Article

A dietary risk assessment of the pyrethroid insecticide resmethrin associated with its use for West Nile Virus mosquito vector control in California

1California EPA, Department of Pesticide Regulation, Medical Toxicology Branch, Sacramento, CA, USA
2California EPA, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Sacramento, CA, USA

Received 18 November 2005; Revised 17 February 2006; Accepted 21 February 2006

Academic Editor: William J. Manning

Copyright © 2006 Jr., Wesley C. Carr et al.


An outbreak of human illnesses associated with West Nile Virus (WNV) occurred in New York City in 1999. Since then, it has gradually spread westwards, reaching northern California for the first time in 2005. WNV is transmitted by several mosquito species and birds serve as the main reservoir. Several control measures have been used, targeting both the aquatic larvae and the adult mosquitoes. In the latter case, roosting birds in trees are sprayed with pyrethroid insecticides because these are highly toxic to mosquitoes, but have low avian toxicity. A request was made to use a resmethrin-containing insecticide during the month of October 2005 in California. Because resmethrin was not registered for use on growing crops, concerns were raised about potential crop contamination. Therefore, an expedited dietary risk assessment was conducted on resmethrin. Developmental toxicity in the rat (NOELs of 25 or 40 mg/kg/day) was used as the acute endpoint and dietary exposure was assessed using the DEEM-FCIDTM computer program. Only crops growing above ground during October were considered. Margins of Safety (MOS) were found to be above 100, the level generally considered to be sufficient to protect public health when using an animal NOEL.