Corporate Press Releases

Avon Products, Inc. Responds to the Report 'Comparative Efficacy of Insect Repellents Against Mosquito Bites' Published in The New England Journal of Medicine

Stands by Efficacy of Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535®

Jul 3, 2002

Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE: AVP) strongly refutes the findings of the report, "Comparative Efficacy of Insect Repellents Against Mosquito Bites," published in the July 4th issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, which states that IR3535®*, an insect repellent ingredient found in Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535®, is not as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. The report is authored by Mark S. Fradin, M.D. and John F. Day, Ph.D.

Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535® is a non-DEET repellent that features comprehensive insect repellency and sun protection coupled with an outstanding safety profile. Introduced in 1999, Bug Guard Plus is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the federal agency that regulates insect repellents, and has been field tested extensively by board-certified entomologists for its mosquito repellent efficacy. Bug Guard Plus has been demonstrated in field tests submitted to the EPA to provide up to three or more hours of repellency against mosquitoes and deer ticks, providing another alternative to consumers who do not wish to use DEET-based repellents. It has proven to be as effective as S.C. Johnson's Off! Skintastic IV®**, which contains DEET***.

Unlike the lab tests reported in The New England Journal of Medicine article, the EPA requires that field tests -- tests in the actual environment where mosquitoes live -- be performed before a product can be labeled effective. In fact, the EPA will not register an insect repellent product based solely on lab tests.

According to Dr. Robert Novak, Professor of Medical Entomology at the University of Illinois and recent President of the American Mosquito Control Association, "It is well known among entomologists that laboratory tests are not appropriate to establish the efficacy of mosquito repellents, because they use an artificial indoor environment. The true test for repellents are outdoor field studies, which are conducted in the habitat of mosquitoes. Consumers should only rely on field test data when they are considering the efficacy of mosquito repellents, and Dr. Day's study was not a field test." Dr. Novak served with Dr. Day on the Scientific Advisory Panel of the EPA.

"For individuals concerned about both DEET and protection against insects, Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535® can do the job safely and effectively," states Janice Teal, Ph.D., Group Vice President, Global Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer for Avon. "The Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus line offers DEET-free protection for the entire family."

Available in the U.S. exclusively through Avon, IR3535® has a long history of use in consumer products throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia. Each of the Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus insect repellent products can be used directly on skin and do not need to be washed off when returning from the outdoors unlike the DEET-based insect repellent products on the market. Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535® is now available in both a lotion (in SPF 30, 15, and 0), and a spray (SPF 15 and 0).

Avon is the world's leading direct seller of beauty and related products, with approximately $6.0 billion in annual revenues. Avon markets to women in 143 countries through 3.5 million independent sales Representatives. Avon product lines include such recognizable brands as Avon Color, Anew, Skin-So-Soft, Advance Techniques Hair Care, beComing and Avon Wellness. Avon also markets an extensive line of fashion jewelry and apparel. More information about Avon and its products can be found on the company's web site

   *   IR3535® is a registered trademark of Merck KGaA.
   **  Off! Skintastic IV® is a registered trademark of S.C. Johnson &
       Son, Inc.
   *** In testing over two days with up to 54 mosquito landings each minute.


SOURCE: Avon Products, Inc.

CONTACT: Debbie Coffey of Avon Products, Inc., +1-212-282-5660

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