Corporate Press Releases

Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535® Scores High in Field Tests, the EPA's Preferred Method for Testing the Power of Mosquito Repellents

'Arm-In-Cage' Laboratory Tests Do Not Address EPA Guidelines

Jun 25, 2003

Avon Products, Inc. today announced that its Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535® scores high in field tests, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) preferred method for testing the power of mosquito repellents.

According to the EPA, in order to register mosquito repellents in the U.S., the use of field tests -- testing in real life situations -- is the accepted testing practice over so-called arm-in-cage tests, which create a highly artificial environment in a laboratory. Contrary to EPA guidelines, some companies and studies base their claims on arm-in-cage tests, which often find their way into TV news reports and advertisements because of their dramatic visual effect.

Avon's EPA-approved line of insect repellent products, Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535®, has been field tested extensively for mosquito repellent efficacy. Introduced in 1999, the Bug Guard Plus lotions have been demonstrated in field tests submitted to the EPA to provide up to three or more hours of repellency against mosquitoes. The product is also available in a new aerosol spray, Expedition, which provides eight hours of mosquito repellency.

The EPA mandates that field tests be performed in the actual environment where mosquitoes live before a product can be labeled effective. In fact, the EPA will not register a mosquito repellent product based solely on laboratory tests, which are conducted against captive-bred mosquitoes under highly artificial conditions. According to the EPA's Scientific Advisory Panel, "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 is outdoor field studies, which are conducted in the habitat of mosquitoes."

Field tests best simulate actual use conditions in typical outdoor settings. These field studies are conducted in different geographical locations and in different distinct habitats with variable outdoor weather conditions. Additionally, the product is exposed to the varying mosquito behaviors and densities encountered in outdoor situations.

Product efficacy studies for mosquito repellents follow the EPA Product Performance Testing Guidelines (OPPTS 810.3700) Insect Repellents For Human Skin And Outdoor Premises. These guidelines include:

  -- Field test sites and testing conditions:  Conduct two field tests in
     environmentally distinct habitats (forests, grassland, salt march,
     wetland, beach, farms, barns, urban environments).
  -- Biting Pressures:
     Mosquitoes: 1 to 10 bites per minute
     Biting Midges: 1 to 10 bites per minute
     Black Flies: 1 to 5 bites per minute
  -- Exposure period for treated subjects:  Continuous exposure for duration
     of the test.
  -- Protection Time:  Report the duration of time to first bite (first bite
     received) and confirm first bite (one bite and a second bite received
     within five minutes).

Avon is the world's leading direct seller of beauty and related products, with $6.2 billion in annual revenues. Avon markets to women in 143 countries through 3.9 million independent sales Representatives. Avon product lines include such recognizable brand names 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 at

*IR3535® is a registered trademark of Merck KGaA.

SOURCE: Avon Products, Inc.

CONTACT: Andra Mielnicki, Avon Products, Inc., +1-212-282-5672

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