June 12, 2018
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has warned retailers to only stock APVMA-registered insect repellents to avoid heavy fines and risking customer safety.
APVMA CEO Dr Chris Parker said the regulator had noticed a growing number of potentially unsafe and ineffective products being sold in stores across Australia.
“All insect repellents for human use, including chemical-based products, and ‘natural’ plant-based alternatives, are required by law to be registered with the APVMA before they can be sold in Australia,” Dr Parker said.
A business can be fined up to $157,500 by the APVMA for supplying an unregistered product, while a court can impose penalties of up to $1.5 million.
“The dangers of supplying or promoting an unregistered product go beyond breaking the law,” Dr Parker said.
“Insect repellents that come through the APVMA’s regulatory assessment process have been through the proper checks and balances to ensure product safety and effectiveness.
“Unregistered products are not only illegal, they haven’t been through a scientific assessment process that ensures potentially harmful and/or ineffective products are kept off Australian shelves.”
The regulator warned that plant-based, “natural” insect repellents were not always effective or safer than traditional, chemical-based products.
“The only way to be sure an insect repellent made of ‘natural’ or chemical-based substances will be safe to use and work as claimed is if it’s been assessed and registered by the APVMA,” Dr Parker said.
“It’s irresponsible to be stocking or supplying unregistered agvet products. Doing so is putting customers at risk of exposure to insect-borne diseases and unwanted side effects like skin irritations.”
The APVMA is running a targeted campaign to encourage retailers and suppliers to check the registration of all natural insect repellents before mosquitos and flies return in the warmer months.
This includes any lotions, wrist bands, body sprays, candles, coils, wipes, wear-on stickers and roll-ons.