Thiacloprid — toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Thiacloprid is a chloronicotinyl insecticide used against a wide array of insects. As such, its mode of action is to disrupt nerve transmission and cause the nerves to fire uncontrollably, leading to hyperexcitation, convulsions, and the death of the affected insects. Thiacloprid is often utilized on insects that have become resistant to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors like carbamate and organophosphate insecticides.

List of known side effects

Poisoning by thiacloprid can cause various health problems depending on the severity of the poisoning. Mild to moderate poisoning can lead to abdominal pain, headaches, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, and mild sedation. Severe poisoning brought on by consuming large amounts of thiacloprid can result in a person experiencing hypothermia, respiratory failure, pneumonitis, hypotension, metabolic acidosis (acid imbalances in the blood), and ventricular dysrhythmias (irregular heartbeat). In some cases, severe thiacloprid poisoning turned out to be fatal.

Thiacloprid has been suspected of causing cancer. A 2006 report by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation noted several animal studies wherein rats, male rats, and mice developed uterine, thyroid, and ovarian tumors, respectively. Based on these occurrences, the Health Effects Division Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC) deemed thiacloprid as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

Swallowing or inhaling thiacloprid can be dangerous, as this substance is known to be toxic if swallowed and can induce acute toxicity.

Thiacloprid is considered to be harmful to aquatic life, and can leave behind long-lasting effects on both aquatic plants and animals. Moreover, this insecticide has the tendency to accumulate in aquatic organisms, increasing the likelihood of disruptive changes to the health of these organisms.

Body systems affected by thiacloprid

As a known skin, eye, respiratory, and digestive irritant, thiacloprid has the potential to damage all of these organs and organ systems with repeated and/or prolonged exposure. Additionally, thiacloprid has been noted as a possible liver and thyroid toixcant as well.

Items that can contain thiacloprid

Originally developed by Bayer CropScience, thiacloprid has since been manufactured and supplied by other chemical companies like Scotts and Standon. Some of these companies’ products include thiacloprid as an active ingredient, most notably:

  • Biscaya
  • Calypso
  • Exemptor
  • Topstar

Furthermore, thiacloprid was created to control aphids, whiteflies, and other sucking and chewing insects that frequented agricultural crops. Because of this, there’s a chance that some common fruits and vegetables found in supermarkets (e.g. apples, pears, cabbages, carrots, and potatoes) contain traces of this insecticide.

How to avoid thiacloprid

To prevent thiacloprid exposure and contact, ensure that this product is only handled in well-ventilated areas. Avoid breathing in any dusts or fumes being emitted, and avoid eating, drinking, or smoking around this product. The appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn at all times, primarily: safety glasses with side shields, protective clothing and gloves, and personal respiratory equipment.

Where to learn more


Thiacloprid is an insecticide that can lead to a wide range of health complications, based on the severity of poisoning. Nausea, diarrhea, hypotension, and pneumonitis are a number of the conditions associated with thiacloprid poisoning.

Due to the incidences of tumors among rats and mice, thiacloprid is classified as a possible human carcinogen.

In addition to being irritating to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system, thiacloprid has been thought of as a potential liver and kidney toxicant.

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