Literature Review in Support of FIFRA Ruling for the Use of Personal Skin Repellents

LOCATION: Washington, DC

Literature Review in Support of FIFRA Ruling for the Use of Personal Skin Repellents



  • Performed time-critical literature review to meet OPP rule-making schedule
  • Developed project-specific database for reviewed article summaries
  • Evaluated efficacy of personal skin repellents to reduce exposure to insect-vector borne diseases with specific emphasis on West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease
  • Developed summary “Benefits Assessment” report for OPP use for FIFRA Sec 23 (b) Rule


Avatar Environmental was contracted by Abt, Associates to support EPA’s Office of Pesticides Programs in a literature review of available information on Personal Skin Repellents. This information represented the basis for the evaluation of a proposed FIFRA Rule change. This rule, called the ”25(b) rule”, would partially rescind regulations made to implement Section 25(b) of FIFRA, which exempts pesticide products made with relatively non-toxic ingredients from FIFRA Section 3 registration. Specifically, the rule would require 25(b) personal insect repellents (e.g., sprays, lotions, towelettes, etc.) to apply for Section 3 registration and submit efficacy data to verify label claims A qualitative benefit analysis of the proposed 25(b) revisions based on a review of the literature was prepared. The benefit assessment described the benefits of the proposed rule. Again, this rule would require producers of many ‘natural’ or botanical-based insect repellents to submit efficacy data to EPA and based on those data, to specify on the product label the expected duration of protection provided by the product.

The literature review focused specifically on those articles that address:
  • The link between skin-applied repellent use and the rate of vector- borne disease (with specific emphasis on West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease)
  • The relative efficacy of natural versus conventional (i.e., chemical) repellents at preventing death, disease, and injury from invertebrate public health pests (with specific emphasis on mosquitoes and ticks)
  • The cost of Vector Borne Diseases from mosquitoes and ticks
  • The effects of label disclaimers

While the information developed from this review for the Sec 25(b) Rule was principally specific to ticks and mosquitoes as primary vectors of the bacterial Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and the viral West Nile Virus, information was developed on other carriers of vector borne diseases including bedbugs, cockroaches, mites, and various fly species.