Just what’s in those insect-repellent clothes? You’ll know soon


Avoiding the threat of mosquitoes, ticks and other pests by wearing insect-repellant clothing sounds ideal, but there may be some hidden costs.

On April 25, the EPA found that pesticide-treated clothing sold by the Columbia Sportswear Company lacked a proper ingredient statement, a warning, a proper storage and disposal statement and was missing the required EPA pesticide registration number.

Mmmm, blood is tasty. Poison jackets are not. Photo: Aesum (Flickr)

Until Columbia fixes the labeling and tells customers what ingredients are in them, it can no longer sell the pesticide-laden clothes. It also has to pay a fine of $22,880.

So although it’s nice to have a day in the woods without constant insect buzzing, I’d appreciate knowing what pesticides are keeping them away.

I might prefer the mosquito bite.

4 thoughts on “Just what’s in those insect-repellent clothes? You’ll know soon

  1. Good call Richard, I was looking at the photo and wondering until I read your comment. Seems the entire article was in factual error according to Ron. If it was as Ron wrote, good for Columbia, but, why don’t they just label them uniformly no matter where they are being sent?

  2. I love my columbia shirt that keep the bugs away! They make great products and doubt they would ever put anything in their clothes that would harm anyone. It can’t be worse than 100% deet our any other bug spray. Its crazy how some things get misconstrued.

  3. I am Columbia Sportswear’s Sr. Director of Corporate Communications and would like to correct some inaccuracies in the above article. Columbia takes compliance with EPA labeling laws seriously and has a strong record of compliance.

    The incident that led to the EPA fine related to approximately 155 pieces of Insect Blocker(tm) shirts that had been labeled at the factory for compliance with labeling requirements of several non-U.S. markets to which they were originally destined (which differ from EPA labeling requirements). When ~30,000 of those units were instead routed to the U.S. in early 2011 for sale here, we needed to relabel them to comply with EPA standards. As we were in the process of doing so, the 155 units in question were inadvertently used to fill a few U.S. orders before those 155 units had been properly relabeled. Columbia self-reported that error to the EPA and fully cooperated with the EPA’s subsequent investigation.

    At no time did the EPA place any restrictions on the continued sale of Insect Blocker products.

    Columbia takes great care to comply with all regulatory requirements and regrets the error that resulted in this fine. However, consumers should know that all of the remaining ~30,000 rerouted units were properly relabled prior to sale in the U.S. and all of our other thousands of Insect Blocker garments available in the U.S. are labeled in compliance with EPA requirements.

    Ron Parham
    Sr. Director Corporate Communications
    Columbia Sportswear Company

  4. Ah, that picture accompanying the article is a crane fly, not a mosquito. Crane flies do not bite. Your photo editor would have not made this mistake if s/he first contacted IdentifyUS LLC
    We identify diverse pests and digital images thereof.

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