Changes to DEET Repellents Explained

If you’re a frequent traveller you’re probably already aware of DEET repellents and the different strengths available. However, there have been some changes to DEET repellents for 2017 due to the EU Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR 528/2012), which now means that certain once popular repellents have been withdrawn from the market. These changes have raised some questions for our customers, which we aim to answer in this post…

What is the Biocidal Products Regulation?

Biocides are substances used to repel or kill living organisms. The Biocidal Products Regulation came into play to help standardise how biocides are regulated across EU countries. Over time all biocides will be regulated, but DEET was one of the first to undergo the process.

Where is Pyramid Trek 100?

One casualty of the BPR is Pyramid’s Trek 100 repellent, which contained 97% DEET and was one of the strongest insect repellents available. Customers have contacted us regarding this and asked why the product has been withdrawn from the range. Simply put, the new regulations state that any insect repellent containing over 50% DEET cannot be sold in the EU. You can expect more changes to insect repellents over the next few years, and even natural DEET free formulas will come under scrutiny.

Why do you still sell Lifesystems Expedition 100+?

Lifesystems have not withdrawn their maximum strength DEET (Expedition 100+) from the market, which probably seems odd given the BPR. Lifesystems confirmed that they would continue to manufacture and sell this product as their ingredient combinations make it legal to sell in the EU, even though it contains more than 50% DEET.

I’ve been using DEET for years, why does it need to be regulated?

DEET is by far the most popular option when it comes to customers choosing an insect repellent. People have been using the higher concentrations of DEET for years with no problems, so why does it need to be regulated? As mentioned earlier, over time anything that repels or kills living organisms will be regulated. There are also concerns about the absorption of DEET into the skin and potential risks this could pose to the user’s health.

What are the alternatives?

  • Pyramid Trek Ultra – One of the most advanced repellents on the market, containing a third of the DEET compared to their now withdrawn Trek 100. Pyramid have used micro-encapsulated DEET to give the same long lasting protection as Trek 100 but using a lower concentration of DEET. As the DEET is micro-encapsulated it is released slowly over time, so you don’t need to apply it as often and don’t have to use as much. It is also much more durable as it is both sweat and splash resistant.
  • Pyramid Trek 50 – This is now Pyramid’s maximum strength repellent, formulated for use in Malarial areas. Suitable for use in Southeast Asia, South America, India and sub-saharan Africa. One application lasts for up to 6 hours.
  • Lifesystems Expedition 100+ – Lifesystems have not withdrawn Expedition 100 as it is formulated in a way that is not prohibited by the BPR. This repellent has a dual action formula, combining 95% DEET with natural pyrethroids, which act as a natural bite inhibitor. Each application lasts for over 10 hours.
  • Care Plus 50% DEET – The strongest repellent in the Care Plus range, containing 50% DEET. This repellent provides up to 10 hours protection against mosquitoes and up to 5 hours protection against ticks. They have also added the ingredient Bitrex, which has a bitter taste to help reduce the likelihood of swallowing the product.

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