Q&A from our manufacturer
General background on Thermacell
Human health & safety
- Sold for 20 years
- Evaluated and approved for use in more than 30 countries. National regulators (including Kemi in Sweden) evaluate efficacy, human health and safety, and environmental impact. 100% approval rate.
- Sales of more than 10 million Thermacell repellers. > Millions of use hours each year. No credible reported incidents of adverse effects on people, pets, kids, the environment, or anything else.
- The US Environmental Protection Agency conducted independent scientific reviews and concluded that there is no specific warning required for use of Thermacell with prallethrin mats around children or pregnant women (other than the “keep out of reach of children” safety phrase that is on every household chemical.) Also, the EPA concluded that there is no long-term carcinogenic risk.
- Thermacell provides an effective protection zone against all main mosquito species, including those which can carry diseases. And Thermacell uses significantly less chemical than on-skin repellents (eg. DEET and Icaridin).
- An independent toxicology evaluation showed that even ifMISUSED with 8-hours of indoor exposure with no ventilation, prallethrin in Thermacell repeller will not result in any significant health effects for an adult male, adult female, 10-year-old child or a 1-year-old infant. (of course, this would go against the clear instructions on the product to use only outdoors.) Furthermore, even in such a misuse situation, there would be a Margin of Safety [MOS] of well above 100 times before the exposure would exceed the EPA’s safety threshold for adults, children and infants.
What happens when a used Thermacell mat is discarded in the forest?
- Prallethrin will quickly degrade in sunlight and is among the least persistent of the pyrethroids. This is supported by the conclusion of the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) which states “that the allethrins are rapidly decomposed when exposed to sunlight.” (Environmental Health Criteria 87, Allethrins, 1989)
- Safety for fish, bees, and other sensitive organisms are a standard part of every national review. (always with independent scientific evaluations)
- In large doses, pyrethroids are dangerous for fish and bees. However, when Thermacell is used as directed, the risks are minimal or non-existent.
- Bees: the very small dose of repellent emitted, the area of dispersion, and the speed of chemical breakdown drastically reduce any potential harm. The US EPA report: “…the potential for residues on the surfaces of surrounding plants to reach levels that would cause toxicity to pollinating insects coming in contact with residues on plants is considered low.” (US EPA EFED, 2014)
- Unlike broadcast sprays, Thermacell only needs to be used in the specific time and small area where protection is needed so far, less chemical is used.
Please don’t discard Thermacell mats or anything else in the forest. Pack it out and dispose of it properly!
What happens when a mat is discarded in a campfire?
- But if you dropped one by accident…Used Thermacell mats contain only a small portion of the original amount of prallethrin. The small amount that remains is not water-soluble and not easily emitted from the mat unless the mat is heated in a similar fashion to the way it is in Thermacell repeller. Without that heat, it is unlikely that the active ingredient would be released in a concentrated way. Over time, a cellulose mat can be expected to biodegrade and any remaining prallethrin that is left in the mat will eventually break down in nature.
Please do not discard Thermacell mats in a campfire! Pack it out and dispose of it properly!
Have you heard some recent media and blogger concerns?
- But in case you accidentally dropped one into a campfire, it is reasonable to expect that both the cellulose mat and any active ingredient on it would be destroyed in the fire and not emitted into the environment.
Yes, and we take it seriously. Together with our distributor partner, Thermacell have reached out to consumers, retailers, national regulators, and other stakeholders to provide facts and answer questions. We are committed to environmental safety, and this is why we are bringing facts and research studies to the table.
From manufacturers perspective, how you comment on the concerns that have been raised about the negative environmental effects of your product?
- We appreciate the trust of Swedish consumers and will continue to stay engaged now and in the future to provide facts about the safety and environmental responsibility of Thermacell products.
It is important to have facts and data when making decisions. Thermacell is safe for people and the environment, as supported by rigorous scientific testing, millions of hours of real-life use, and evaluations by 35 national regulators and scientists across Europe and around the world.
As a manufacturer, do you consider your product to be safe for the environment and if you do, why?
Absolutely yes. And if we did not, we would not make it available for sale.
- Please see more specifics in the question below.
Understanding the safety of Thermacell products should be based on real use, measurements, and data.
European Union is reviewing the biocide prallethrin. Are you concerned? Will this affect your business in Europe, and if it will, in what way?
- The Thermacell product releases very small amounts of d-allethrin into the air – just enough to deter mosquitoes and only for the period when the product is in use.
- The amount of d-allethrin that lands on surfaces (ground, grass, foliage) in a 3-meter area of protection surrounding the device is so low that it is below the levels that sophisticated analytical chemistry instruments can detect or quantify. These instruments can detect less than one billionth of a gram of chemical on one square centimeter.
- The tiny amounts of d-allethrin released by the Thermacell device also breakdown in sunlight.
- Regulatory authorities in 35 countries across Europe and around the world have evaluated the effect of Thermacell products on humans, pets, and the environment and have approved it for consumers.
- We will also point to our track record that includes millions of hours of safe use around the world.
The European Union, reviews every biocidal product for efficacy, human safety, environmental impact, and other factors as part of the Biopesticide Review (BPR) process. These BPR reviews cover not only pesticides but also attractants, repellents, disinfectants, plant protection products, preservatives, and more. Each of these reviews takes several years and they are scheduled years in advance.
This is an important discussion and we are happy to contribute. We believe this dialog, when put up against facts about Thermacell, make Thermacell an ideal alternative for Sweden. Thermacell products are effective, very safe and supported by facts:
- Most of the products in BPR reviews (including prallethrin) have already been reviewed, approved, and sold in individual countries across Europe for many years. To be clear, all existing biocides must be reviewed under the BPR. The process underway with prallethrin is normal and doesn’t reflect any particular concerns.
- We anticipate that the prallethrin BPR review will be completed in 2024, and currently there’s no indication that we know of that would change in approval. Should it change, we would absolutely comply with all new regulations.
Millions of hours of safe use in a wide range of outdoor usage occasions, across Europe and around the world
- Minimal use of active ingredients to achieve high efficacy
- An active ingredient that works with very low quantities, dissipates, and then breaks down in the environment