In the present study, fate of carbofuran in anaerobic environments and the adverse effects of carbofuran on conventional anaerobic systems were evaluated. Carbofuran degradation studies were carried out in batch reactors with varying carbofuran concentrations of 0 to 270.73 mg/L corresponding to a sludge-loading rate (SLR) of 2.12 × 10-6 to 3.83 × 10-3 g of carbofuran/g of volatile suspended solids (VSS)/d. Carbofuran concentration was reduced to undetectable levels at the end of 8 and 13 days in the batch reactors operated with a SLR of 2.12 × 10-6 and 3.33 × 10-5 g of carbofuran/g of VSS/d, respectively. Performances of two anaerobic reactors i.e. upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) and modified UASB (with tube settlers) were evaluated in the presence and absence of carbofuran using synthetic wastewater. In the absence of carbofuran, the soluble chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency in the conventional UASB reactor at 8 h and 6 h hydraulic retention time (HRT) was nearly 88% and 76%, respectively, whereas in modified UASB reactor it was increased to 90% at 8 h HRT and 78% at 6 h HRT. When 28 mg/L (SLR of 1.19 × 10-2 g of carbofuran/g of VSS/d) of carbofuran was introduced in the reactors, the COD removal efficiency was reduced to 41% and 44% in conventional and modified UASB reactors respectively. However, the reactor could maintain around 80% COD removal efficiency at a carbofuran concentration of 7.84 mg/L (SLR of 3.64 × 10-3 g of carbofuran/g of VSS/d). The reactor efficiency was also measured in terms of specific acetoclastic methanogenic activity (SMA). The toxic effect of carbofuran was reversible to a certain extent. Carbofuran removal efficiency in the conventional UASB reactor at carbofuran concentrations of 7, 13 and 28 mg/L were 40 ± 3%, 27 ± 3%, and 11 ± 3%, respectively. In modified UASB reactor, carbofuran removal efficiency was almost uniform at 7 and 13 mg/L but it was reduced nearly by 56% at 28 mg/L. The major metabolite of carbofuran i.e. 3-keto carbofuran was found in all the reactors. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.