Insect Repellents

7/29/20 The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has clarified their guidance regarding the use of personal insect repellent at school or school-sponsored events. Personal Insect repellants are not governed by laws regarding the use of pesticides on school grounds and are not considered medications.  Therefore, the use of a personal insect repellant at school by a student only requires parent/guardian permission for use. Students may apply insect repellents themselves or request assistance from a staff member. It is strongly recommended that aerosol insect repellant is not used in schools.  If students require assistance from staff, staff should limit the number of students they assist to minimize their exposure (one person should not apply repellant to an entire class), wear gloves and wash their hands after use. Additional information on the safe use of insect repellents can be found in the NYSCSH Tick and Tickborne Disease Toolkit.

CDC Information Regarding Repellents and Sunscreen

Repellents that are applied according to label instructions may be used with sunscreen with no reduction in repellent activity; however, limited data show a one-third decrease in the sun protection factor (SPF) of sunscreens when DEET-containing insect repellents are used after sunscreen is applied. Products that combine sunscreen and repellent are not recommended, because sunscreen may need to be reapplied more often and in larger amounts than needed for the repellent component to provide protection from biting insects. In general, the recommendation is to use separate products, applying sunscreen first and then applying the repellent. Due to the decrease in SPF when using a DEET-containing insect repellent after applying sunscreen, you may need to reapply the sunscreen more frequently. (CDC, Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Other Arthropods 5/31/17)

National Pesticide Information Center

NPIC provides objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions. NPIC is a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (cooperative agreement #X8-83947901)

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

NYS Pesticide Prohibition on Grounds at Schools and Day Care Centers-Under amendments to the State Education Law (Section 409-k) and Social Services Law (Section 390-g), no school or daycare center can apply pesticides to any playgrounds, turf, or athletic or playing fields. The requirements are administered by the State Education Department for schools and by the Office of Children and Family Services for daycare centers. Contact those agencies for information and answers to questions on the prohibition. Contact information is provided in NYSDEC Guidance. (NYS Department of Environmental Conservation)  Note: Individual use of insect repellents by students is permissible with parent permission and appropriate safety precautions on the method of the application.

NYS Department of Health

Tick and Insect Repellents, Deciding on their Use -Provides an overview of types repellents and considerations for use. (NYSDOH May 2015) 

University of Rhode Island TickEncounter Resource Center

The Univerity of Rhode Island hosts a comprehensive site on ticks and Lyme Disease which includes information on purchasing or creating clothing that is treated to repel ticks.

US Environmental Protection Agency

Repellents: Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks and Other Arthropods- Includes information on -Types of insect repellent Ingredients in skin-applied repellents, Regulation of skin-applied repellents, Choosing and Using Repellents, Using repellents safely and effectively Repellency Awareness Graphic. (US Environmental Protection Agency)

Page updated 3/6/2021