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Information update

Health Canada reminds Canadians about the safe use of insect repellents

Starting date:
July 31, 2015
Posting date:
July 31, 2015
Type of communication:
Information Update
Affects children, pregnant or breast feeding women, Chemicals, Outdoor Living
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Chemical Hazard, Physical Hazard, Poisoning Hazard, Allergy Information, Disease
General Public
Identification number:

Now that summer is here, many Canadians are enjoying spending time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine.  Health Canada would like to remind Canadians about the importance of using insect repellents safely to avoid mosquitos and other insect bites.

Bites from mosquitos, flies, and ticks can cause a number of health problems from itchiness and irritation to potentially serious diseases, including West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease.  Insect repellents help to minimize health risks from bites, but it’s important to remember that they are a kind of pesticide and should be used only as directed.

What you should do

There are many steps you can take to avoid bug bites:  

  • Cover exposed skin with clothing as much as possible, and only use insect repellents that have been approved by Health Canada. You can tell an approved product by the Pest Control Product (PCP) registration number on the label.
  • Choose products that best suit your needs and activities. For example, if you plan to be outdoors for a short period of time, choose a product with a lower concentration of repellent and re-apply only if you need a longer protection time.
  • Before using any insect repellent, make sure to read and follow the instructions and warnings on the product’s label. Many insect repellent products have restrictions for use on children and on the maximum number of applications allowed a day. Make sure to follow these instructions carefully.
  • Apply only a small amount of repellent and only on exposed skin or on top of clothing. Never spray insect repellents directly into your face. Spray on your hands first and then apply to your face. Repeat applications only as needed and as directed on the product label.
  • Keep all insect repellent containers out of reach of children and pets and supervise the application of insect repellents on children. Avoid applying repellent to children's hands to reduce the chance of getting the repellent in their eyes and mouths.

Report health and safety concerns

Report any adverse events to the manufacturer, who is required by law to report it to Health Canada. Contact information can be found on the product label. You may also report an incident for products with a Pest Control Product (PCP) number directly to Health Canada by completing an incident report form.

For more information:

Insect Repellents

Media enquiries

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709