Last update Oct. 7, 2023


Low Risk

Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

Malathion is an organophosphate insecticide with parasympathomimetic effects. It is used in the treatment of head and pubic lice and scabies. Topical application.

It is also used in veterinary medicine, agriculture and horticulture for mosquito and larval control.

Malathion is excreted in breast milk as demonstrated when contaminated vegetables are consumed after fumigation. (Sanghi 2003)

Passage to plasma through skin is less than 10% (Butler 2014), but oral absorption is complete. Do not breastfeed if mother has symptoms of intoxication: tearing, salivation, difficulty breathing. (Schaefer 2007)

Ingestion of malathion, or too much or too long on the skin, can cause severe poisoning. It has been withdrawn from the market in most countries.

Safer alternatives are preferable during lactation. (Butler 2014)

Do not apply on the breast or clean well before breastfeeding. Keep hair short or tied up so that the infant cannot suck it.


  • Ivermectin ( Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.)
  • Permethrin ( Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.)
  • Pyrethrin ( Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Malathion is also known as

Malathion in other languages or writings:


Malathion belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Malathion in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. 100 (dermal: 8%) %
Molecular weight 330 daltons
8 - 24 hours


  1. Butler DC, Heller MM, Murase JE. Safety of dermatologic medications in pregnancy and lactation: Part II. Lactation. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Mar;70(3):417.e1-10; quiz 427. Abstract
  2. Schaefer C, Peters P, Miller RK. Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation. Treatment options and risk assessment. Elsevier, second edition. London. 2007
  3. Sanghi R, Pillai MK, Jayalekshmi TR, Nair A. Organochlorine and organophosphorus pesticide residues in breast milk from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2003 Feb;22(2):73-6. Abstract

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