Gardner Urges EPA, CDC to Register Potential Insect Repellents to Fight Zika

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy urging the EPA’s continued collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to register various chemicals that could potentially serve as insect repellents and sprays used to fight the Zika virus. 

The EPA must evaluate all repellents and pesticides for safety and efficacy prior to public use. Many labs throughout the country are researching new compounds that have shown promise for controlling mosquitos. For example, the CDC lab in Fort Collins, CO has conducted research on Nootkatone, a natural chemical found in grapefruit, that has proven to be an effective repellent and insecticide against mosquitos carrying the Zika virus.

“Prior to September, the Zika virus had infected more than 600 pregnant women in the United States, and there has been more recent evidence that the virus continues to be transmitted within our boarders,” said Gardner. “In addition to supporting the $1 billion in funding to address this public health emergency, I urge EPA to work expeditiously with the relevant agencies to strengthen protection against the Zika virus through the approval of safe, effective insect repellents.”

Gardner has voted three times in support of $1 billion in funding to combat the Zika virus. A partisan minority in the Senate, however, has blocked the advancement of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, the vehicle for the Zika funding. Previously, the legislation was approved with bipartisan support.


Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

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