The EPA and Indie Bug Spray

Posted by Lee on 7/16/2019 to Let's Talk About Our Products
The EPA and Indie Bug Spray
With summer in full swing, you are bound to start seeing all of your favorite indie makers releasing bug sprays, insect repellents, mosquito stoppers and more. But what you might not know is that quite a lot of these bug repelling products are not technically legal to sell per the EPA!

When it comes to the indie skin care industry, there are a lot of general rules and regulations we should all be following: 
     - a certain level of product liability insurance (additional insurance required if you produce anything with CBD!)
     - GMP with product creation including lot numbering final products and appropriate cataloguing of raw materials and individual recipes
     - avoiding specifically worded drug claims and/or healing claims on products
There are so many more and it's frustrating when you encounter a fellow maker who doesn't play by the rules!

So what's the deal with bug spray? 
While most skin care products are FDA jurisdiction, products said to repel bugs are under EPA jurisdiction. Typically, an insect repellent needs to be tested and EPA approved. However, the EPA has developed some guidelines so that the market can accept products only if they are created using EPA exempt ingredients. Specifically, there are 6 conditions where all criteria MUST be met if you are going to sell an insect repellent that hasn't been tested and certified by the EPA:
  1. The product may only contain active ingredients from a specific list of approved ingredients and the label must indicate those active ingredients and percentages as such
  2. The product may only contain inactive ingredients from a specific list of approved inert ingredients and these must also be indicated in the ingredient list
  3. All ingredients must be listed on the label with active ingredients listed as a percentage by weight
  4. The product must not bear any public health claims
  5. Business name and address must be on the label
  6. There may not be any false or misleading statements on the label

Reading through the EPA website and understanding the endless pages of rules and regulations can be daunting but it's very important to understand the laws on this topic! If you sell or produce a product that doesn't follow the EPA guidelines, you could be looking at some pretty serious fines from the government.

Check out some of these sources for more information:

More on properly formulated indie products
A quick way to determine if the indie bug spray you are purchasing follows the law? Check to see if the product has a list of active ingredients listed separately from the inactive ingredients. This is the largest indicator I notice every time I come across a maker who produces an insect repellent!

In general, there are some other indicators you should be paying attention to when making a purchase from an indie maker or carrying indie products at your boutique:
LOT NUMBER -  Does the product have a lot number? Most skin care products created by indie business owners should be properly catalogued using GMP. If the product doesn't even have a lot number, what else is that maker incorrectly doing during product creation?
HEALING CLAIMS - Does the product make claims about healing or curing properties? It's a fine line regarding what you can and cannot say in a product description. The most alarming word I find on handmade products is the word "healing". This is a big NO and any maker who has been properly researching their products and product labeling should know that when you call a product "healing", the FDA can come along and tell you to stop producing that product.
INSURANCE - this is especially important for boutiques and other stores carrying products by other makers. Ask that maker to add you as an additional insured on their policy. It's a great way to find out if that maker even has the appropriate insurance coverage for the products they create.

I didn't know all the answers when I started out but as a maker, I made sure to have all of my ducks in a row before business grew. Please do the same, do the research and keep the indie maker community a place that can be trusted to supply expert products! It gives us all a bad name when makers skip the rules and laws.

Add Comment