Cyfluthrin (CAS no. 68359-37-5), a synthetic fluorinated pyrethroid insecticide, is widely used in the home environment and in agriculture because of its high activity against a broad spectrum of insect pests and its low animal toxicity. There are no adequate data on genotoxic effects of cyfluthrin. The aim of this study was to analyze the potential genotoxic effects of cyfluthrin. The genotoxicity of cyfluthrin was evaluated, in vitro, by assessing the ability of the insecticide to induce gene mutation (evaluated using the Ames/microsome test), chromosomal aberrations (CA), sister chromatid exchange (SCE) and micronucleus (MN) formation in cultured human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Additionally, CAs and cytotoxicity induced by cyfluthrin were investigated in rat (Rattus norvegicus var. Albinos) bone-marrow cells to assess in vivo genotoxicity of cyfluthrin. The counts of reverse mutations in Salmonella typhimurium were not significantly increased (P> 0.05). The frequency of CAs in human lymphocytes, treated with any concentration of cyfluthrin (500, 1000 or 2000 mu g/ml) for a 24-h period, was not significantly increased (P> 0.05). In contrast, CA was significantly increased for the highest two concentrations (1000 and 2000 mu g/ml) in the 48-h treatment group compared with the control group (dimethyl sulfoxide, DMSO). Micronucleus formation was significantly (P<0.05) increased for all doses after the 48-h treatment, although the frequency of SCE did not increase significantly (P> 0.05). Mitotic index (MI), proliferation index (PI) and nuclear division index (NDI) decreased significantly (P<0.05) due to the potential cytortoxicity of cyfluthrin, especially after the 48-h treatment period. The frequency of chromosome aberrations in bonemarrow cells of rats treated with the test substance increased significantly (P < 0.05) for all doses (250, 500 and 1000 mg/kg body weight) for the two treatment periods (12 and 24 h) and the two administration routes, viz. intraperitoneal injection (i.p.) and oral gavage (gvg). In vivo cytotoxicity of cyfluthrin was detected only after administration by gavage for the 24-h treatment period. All these findings were not dose-dependent. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.