EPA releases new bug spray label graphics

In order to help protect consumers against debilitating illnesses caused by bug bites, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a new graphic intended to help users understand how often to reapply the spray  for full protection. The graphic will clearly state how many hours products will repel mosquitos, ticks or both from the user's skin.

The EPA argues that the new graphic will protect users by letting them make informed choices on which spray to choose depending on how long they will be outside. Jim Jones, assistant head of the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, told a local NBC affiliate that the graphic was inspired by the agency's success with sunblock packaging labels

"Most of us have figured out how to be smart about sunscreens … but it's hard right now to figure out from labels how long you'll be protected [with insect repellents]," Jones told the source. "We're going to make it easy."

According to the Center for Disease Control's statistics, ticks cause an estimated 300,000 cases of Lyme Disease every year, and mosquitos are capable of spreading West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis.

Insect repellant manufacturers are not required to add the graphic to the products, but Jones expects that the majority will choose to. Manufacturers will have to submit data to the EPA that proves that their product lasts as long as the graphic states. 

In an effort to better protect consumers, the EPA and FDA regularly make updates to their labeling requirements. Manufacturers can be prepared for any change by investing in in-house printing equipment. Not only does this investment sever an organization's reliance on a third party printer, it can lead to significant cost savings and boost productivity. 

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