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PP wicks reduce environmental impact, improve consumer safety of indoor insecticide repellants

New sintered polypropylene (PP) wick technology developed by Porex (Fairburn, GA) is compatible with safer insecticide formulas, as required by recent legislation, and offers extended durability and longevity compared with existing ceramic options.

A new insecticide repellent technology for indoor use enhances consumer safety, protects against tampering and meets new stricter environmental regulations.

Recent legislation by organizations such as the California Air Resource Board (CARB) sets stringent requirements for insecticide diffusion, aiming to reduce insecticide-related pollution and protect public health. As a result, manufacturers must take steps to reduce their environmental footprint and reformulate their products to work with more expensive solvents or water-based formulas.

Supporting the market shift and serving as a game changer for insecticide manufacturers, new sintered polypropylene (PP) insecticide wick technology offers compatibility with newer, safer formulas. Products currently on the market typically feature low-cost ceramic as the main wicking component in insecticide diffusers; however, these ceramic-based materials are brittle and break easily in the manufacturing process. The new PP wicks deliver enhanced product performance, excelling at wicking water-based formulas that are CARB-compliant and offer extended durability and longevity compared with existing ceramic options.

The push toward more natural formulas comes after significant reports of child poisoning by pesticides. In 2008, pesticides were the ninth most common substance reported to poison control centers in the United States, and approximately 45% of all reports of pesticide poisoning were for children, according to a study featured in Pediatrics. Globally, poisoning by pesticides is a serious health concern affecting infants and children more than adults. A common form of direct exposure for children is the unsafe use of insecticides and rodenticides in the home, with children from zero to four being most vulnerable and at greatest risk, according to a study by UNICEF.

To address these safety concerns, the new wick’s functional design makes the product virtually childproof. Due to the proprietary composition of the product, the PP wicks can be molded into custom 3D shapes that can be tailored to specific brand requirements. A “collar” in the middle of the wick acts as a stopper to prevent the wick from being tampered with or removed, keeping the insecticide formula in the housing and making it more durable and safer for use in the home than competitive wicks.

Wick products, including polyester fiber wicks, can be used in a variety of high-powered insecticide delivery systems. They are non-degradable, long-lasting and can perform effectively at high temperatures. The new sintered polypropylene wicks provide a consistent diffusion rate throughout the life of the insecticide product, increasing its performance power and efficiency. Like the new sintered polypropylene wicks, polyester fiber wicks can withstand higher temperatures better than other materials, and they provide a higher diffusion rate during the first few weeks of use, decreasing gradually over time. 

The potential for this new insecticide wicking technology spans the globe but is particularly applicable in countries with tropical climates and consequent vast mosquito populations, including India, Central and South America and Southeast Asia. Other applications of the wicks include scent attraction elements used in insect traps. Manufacturers of water-based insecticides will find it easier and more convenient to use the new sintered polypropylene wick technology to provide their customers with a product that’s not only safer but more eco-friendly, as well.

About the author

Rusty Martin, Global Strategic Marketing Director at Porex, has been with the company for 21 years. He provides global business leadership and drives marketing strategy for the consumer markets at Porex, which include writing instruments, air care and cosmetics. His previous positions include Global Director Advanced Solutions, Manager of Product Development Engineering and Account Manager for western United States. Martin is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology with a bachelor of mechanical engineering degree and a minor in economics. Prior to joining Porex, he worked for International Paper.

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