Sun, Jul 02, 2006 - Page 2 News List

EPA issues bug spray and mosquito repellent advice

SPRAY ALERT The EPA has reminded members of the public to read warning labels on insect repellents carefully before use on skin or clothing

By Chuang Li-hua  /  STAFF REPORTER

Many brands of mosquito repellent and bug sprays have been declared as unsafe to use on skin and clothing.

Environmental Protection Administration (EPA)-approved mosquito repellents are only certified for use on surfaces such as screens, tents, and floors, and should not be used on people, said Chen Shu-ling (陳淑玲), director of the EPA's Department of Environmental Sanitation and Toxic Substance Management.

Only repellents approved by the Department of Health (DOH) should be applied to the skin, Chen said.

The Environmental Agents Management Act (環境用藥管理法) requires that insect repellents clearly indicate whether the product can be applied to skin and clothes. Failure to do so could lead to a maximum fine of NT$150,000.

Chen said products like "Off" are clearly labeled, but consumers often do not pay attention to such warning labels.

"Initially, bug repellent companies did get their products approved by the DOH, but as increasing numbers of local companies came on the scene, the human testing requirements proved too troublesome for them, so they've just focused on getting EPA approval," Chen said.

Chen suggested that the public look carefully at warning notices on cans or packaging before purchasing any mosquito repellent.

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