USDA National Wildlife Research Center Symposia


Date of this Version

August 1995


The purpose of this paper is to review the regulatory issues concerned with marketing repellents and to try to identify areas where changes may be needed. Repellents are covered unevenly by the various Federal and State pesticide laws. These laws were generally formulated to deal with pesticides and other highly toxic chemicals used to control "pests." However, repellents discourage pests due to their disagreeable properties rather than their toxicity. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently introduced reduced risk pesticide guidance which limits reporting requirements and hastens review. Those states that follow the Federal lead do not represent a problem. However, such states as California, Florida, and New York, that conduct their own detailed reviews, have not yet moved to adopt the Federal reduced-risk guidance and often require additional data beyond those required at the Federal level. In addition, foreign countries deal differently with repellents. Canada does not have biochemical or reduced risk guidance and therefore reviews repellents as regular pesticides. The European Union's new biocides law includes repellents and has significant information requirements. On the other hand, other countries such as New Zealand and Australia have no or minimal registration requirements for repellents. This uneven regulatory treatment makes introduction of repellents into the global market difficult.