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EPA Introduces New Graphic to Help Consumers Make Informed Choices about Insect Repellents

Release Date: 07/17/2014
Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn milbourn.cathy@epa.gov 202-564-7849 202-564-4355; En español: Lina Younes younes.lina@epa.gov 202-564-9924 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today unveiled a new graphic that will be available to appear on insect repellent product labels. The graphic will show consumers how many hours a product will repel mosquitoes and/or ticks when used as directed.

“We are working to create a system that does for bug repellents what SPF labeling did for sunscreens,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “By providing vital information to consumers, this new graphic will help parents, hikers and the general public better protect themselves and their families from serious health threats caused by mosquitoes and ticks. We are encouraging manufacturers to submit applications so they can add the graphic to their registered repellent products.”

In a joint statement released today, EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging the public to use insect repellents and take other precautions to avoid biting insects that carry serious diseases. In the United States, ticks can transmit serious diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis. Mosquitoes can transmit debilitating diseases including West Nile virus, and St. Louis encephalitis.

Incidence of these diseases is on the rise. CDC estimates that there are about 300,000 cases of tick-transmitted Lyme disease in the United States each year. Effective insect repellents can protect against serious mosquito- and tick-borne diseases. Using the right repellent and taking other preventive actions can discourage bites from ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects.

Companies’ voluntary placement of the new label graphic on insect repellent product labels will make it easier for consumers to choose a repellent. In order to place the graphic on their labels, manufacturers must submit a label amendment, including adequate test results to support the graphic and meet stringent safety standards. The public could see the graphic on repellent products early next year.

Current labels of skin-applied repellent products do not make it easy for consumers to identify the insects repelled by a product and how long it will work. EPA has worked with manufacturers and the public to create the new graphic that displays consumer information in a more prominent and standardized format. The graphic will only be placed on products that are applied directly to the skin.

Companies will be able to request approval to use this graphic through the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act registration process.

View the graphic and additional information: http://www2.epa.gov/insect-repellents/repellency-awareness-graphic

See the joint statement from EPA and CDC: http://www2.epa.gov/insect-repellents/joint-statement-insect-repellents-epa-and-cdc

See the new website on insect repellency: http://www2.epa.gov/insect-repellents

For more information on diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks: http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/, http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/, http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/, http://www.cdc.gov/dengue/