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Pesticide News Story: EPA Takes Action to Establish New Bug Bomb Labeling Requirements to Improve Safety and Reduce Risk

For Release: March 24, 2010

Today, EPA is taking action to improve residential safety and reduce risks associated with bug bombs, or total release foggers (TRFs).  The Agency is calling for significant changes to their labeling to address the most common causes of exposure incidents associated with TRFs.

EPA is requiring manufacturers to make a number of labeling changes by September 30, 2011.  Since the largest proportion of incidents is attributable to failure to follow label instructions, the changes are targeted at minimizing those incidents.  To draw attention to critical information, future bug bomb labels must be written in plain language with clear headings.  To further enhance clarity and risk understanding, the new labels will also incorporate pictograms, which can be more effective than text in communicating certain information, including explosion hazards and the amount of time that a residence must be vacated after releasing the fogger.  The changes also strengthen instructions to vacate upon use and air out upon return by requiring greater label prominence.  A new provision is that door hang-tags must be provided to inform others to stay out of treated areas.

In addition to these labeling improvements, EPA is continuing to work with registrants on developing non-labeling improvements, including transitioning to smaller foggers, time-delayed release, and nonflammable propellants.

The number of foggers used is estimated at roughly 50 million units per year.  Although the available evidence suggests that bug bomb incidents are infrequent relative to use of the devices, incidents of serious injury have been reported. EPA’s new bug bomb labeling improvements are consistent with the recommendations of two 2008 state reports and are intended to address concerns raised by the New York City Department of Health.

EPA will continue to monitor these products closely to ensure that these new public health protections are effective and evaluate whether additional actions are needed.

For more information on the new labeling requirements, the petition, and EPA’s analysis and response, please see the fogger section of EPA’s pyrethroid and pyrethrins fact sheet.

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