The cytotoxic potential of 13 commonly used agricultural insecticides was examined using cell-based systems with three human HepG2, Hek293, HeLa cells and three insect Tn5B1-4, Sf-21, and Drosophila S2 cells. Data showed that (1) an enhancement of some insecticides (e.g. pyrethroids) on cells proliferation; (2) an inhibition of some insecticides on cells viability; (3) various levels of susceptibility of different cells to the same insecticide; and (4) the cell type dependent sensitivity to different insecticides. The degree of cytotoxicity of insecticides on human cells was significantly lower than that on insect cells (P<0.05). Methomyl, even 20μg/ml, showed little cytotoxicity at 24h exposure whereas emamectin benzoate possessed the strongest cytotoxic potential in a dose-dependent fashion. The results revealed comparable cytotoxic property of agricultural insecticides against intact cells.