Personal Insect Repellents and Minimum Risk Pesticides

What is the status of the EPA rulemaking to exclude personal insect repellents from the exemption?

A label for an exempt pesticide product may not bear claims to control rodent, insect or microbial pests in a way that links the pests with any specific disease. The claim may only be for the pest, as a pest, and not as a disease vector. 

For example, the label may not say:

  • "controls ticks that carry Lyme disease;" or
  • "controls mosquitoes that can transmit malaria or encephalitis;"

but can say:

  • “controls ticks;” or
  • “controls mosquitoes.” 

EPA received a petition from the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) dated March 15, 2006, requesting that we exclude from the minimum risk pesticide exemption those pesticides that claim to control “pests of significant public health importance” and require an abbreviated registration for minimum risk products that are to be used for the control of public health pests. 

We received approximately 60 comments, both in support of and in opposition to the petition, during the public comment period. We have analyzed the comments on the petition and concluded that public health products must be supported by evidence that they are effective against the target pest. CSPA’s letter of June 11, 2007, suggested that EPA engage in expedited rulemaking, including promulgating an interim final rule without notice and comment. In a letter dated July 18, 2007, EPA responded to that letter as well as the initial petition. 

To that end, we have explored rulemaking regarding personal insect repellents and in a future rulemaking are considering a proposal to remove personal mosquito and tick repellents from the minimum risk pesticides exemption currently in 40 CFR 152.25(f).

  • This means that once removed from the exemption, personal mosquito and tick repellents would need to be registered as a pesticide product with EPA before sale or distribution in the United States.
  • We are considering allowing up to five years for any personal mosquito and tick repellent that currently meets the active and inert ingredient criteria of the exemption to become a registered pesticide product. 

Additional information on this future rulemaking (, docket identifier EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0227).

Disclaimer about Minimum Risk Pesticide Web Content

These Web pages provide guidance to persons who are interested in manufacturing, selling or distributing minimum risk pesticides under 40 CFR 152.25(f). This guidance does not create any binding requirements, although it refers to existing statutory and regulatory requirements and guidance. More…