Personal insect repellents containing icaridin (formerly known as picaridin) are now approved for sale in Canada. Approval by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency was based on findings that topical icaridin demonstrates value as an insect repellent when used according to label directions and does not present an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.
Insect repellents containing icaridin are widely available in Europe and were approved in the United States more recently.
Icaridin is effective in repelling mosquitoes, ticks, and black flies. Icaridin 10% and 20% pump spray, 10% aerosol, and 20% towelettes are considered acceptable personal insect repellents for adults, youth, children, toddlers and infants (> 6 months).
Icaridin use was not evaluated in infants less than six months of age, since nonchemical measures can be utilized to protect this population from insect bites. Therefore, all approved products will carry the statement: “Do not use on infants under 6 months of age.”
The following brands containing icaridin are approved for sale in Canada:
- All-Family Insect Repellent Spray (icaridin 20%) provides seven hours of protection from mosquitoes and eight hours of protection from ticks. Use of this product to provide eight hours of protection from black flies was conditionally supported. It can be reapplied if necessary every seven hours for protection from mosquitoes and eight hours for protection from ticks, to a maximum of two applications daily.
- OFF! Deep Woods Pump Spray Insect Repellent Clean Feel and OFF! Family Care Clean Feel Insect Repellent Towelettes (icaridin 20%) provide seven hours of protection from mosquitoes and eight hours of protection from ticks. These products can be reapplied after seven hours if necessary for protection from mosquitoes and after eight hours if necessary for protection from ticks.
- Avon Skin-So-Soft SSS Bug Guard Plus Icaridin Insect Repellent I and Avon Skin-So-Soft SSS Bug Guard Plus Icaridin Insect Repellent II (icaridin 10%) provides five hours of protection from mosquitoes. Use of these products to provide seven hours of protection from ticks was conditionally supported. The product was not approved for protection against black flies, due to insufficient data. For continued protection from mosquitoes these products can be reapplied after five hours (after seven hours for ticks), to a maximum of four applications per day.
- OFF! Active Insect Repellent Clean Feel (icaridin 10%) provides five hours of protection from mosquitoes. It can be reapplied after five hours if needed.
The mechanism of action of icaridin is not fully understood. It may affect arthropod olfactory neurons, resulting in their inability to detect attractants (carbon dioxide and lactate) that are emitted by human hosts.
Another hypothesis is that the repellent evaporates from the skin and forms a layer of scent that conceals the carbon dioxide and lactate attractants, leading to the inability of the arthropod to find the host.
Laboratory animal tests indicate that icaridin has low acute toxicity when administered by the oral, dermal, or inhalation routes. It is not irritating to the skin and does not cause allergic skin reactions. Icaridin is moderately irritating to the eyes; therefore, the hazard statement “Warning eye irritant” is required on the label.
Lab studies have also demonstrated that icaridin does not damage the liver, kidneys, nervous system, or immune system, and does not cause cancer. Animal studies have shown no effects on genetic material or reproduction, and no toxicity to fetuses or offspring when used during pregnancy or while nursing.
Tiré du Canadian Healthcare Network (version anglaise de Profession Santé)