Insect repellent apparel is rather new to the market and has already taken the market by storm. An increasing trend of insect borne diseases has been noticed in the gradual globalization, where endemic insect borne diseases of the tropical and sub tropical regions of the world are spreading in temperate regions such as North America and Western Europe. Some causes of this phenomenon could be attributed to the increasing trade activities and changing climate. Insect repellent apparels are effective against a host of disease causing insects such as mosquitoes, flies, fleas and ticks.
Insect repellent apparel is a novel way to keep out insect borne diseases. Insect repellent fabrics are treated with a common synthetic chemical called permethrin which is known to have insect repellent properties. The market for insect repellent apparel is primarily driven by the demand for ready-made insect repellent clothes. However the products manufactured using this technology encompasses camping equipments, pet clothing, and equestrian protective clothing among others. This type of apparel is especially useful for people who go out on trekking, mountaineering and other adventure sports where the environment is susceptible to different kinds of insect attack. One of the major applications of the insect repellent apparel is as military apparel.
The armed forces have to survive on unforgiving terrains in alien lands infested with different kinds of insects and pests which render them vulnerable to a range of tropical diseases and even death. Insect repellent combat uniforms provide safety to the ground military personnel. Permethrin was first registered with the EPA for use on military clothing in 1990. The registration of spray permethrin on clothing for consumer products was also done around the same time. As of today various companies have launched apparel treated with permethrin for consumers. Consumers of this product are mainly travelers, travelling to locations which are known for the existence of different kinds of insects which cause diseases such as malaria, dengue and lyme disease.
Insect repellent apparel are safe, pleasant to use and environmentally sustainable. The average lifetime of insect repellent apparel is about 70 launderings which holds true for normal apparels as well. There are no apparent restraints to this market apart from the lack of knowledge about the product in various countries. However the technology is patented and can only be commercially utilized by masses post patent expiry.
Although the global market is at a nascent stage, there are tremendous opportunities to grow for these insect repellent apparel products across the world. Laboratory tests have confirmed the ineffectiveness of the permethrin on human skin and it has been approved for regular use with no adverse effects. Moreover it has also been found to have no effects on children and toddlers wearing apparel treated with permethrin. Insect repellent apparels are priced in tandem with regular apparels and are almost similar in retail price, which is expected to drive up the demand.
The market for insect repellent apparel is mostly concentrated in North America and Western Europe. Asia Pacific market is small compared to North America, however tremendous growth potential exists in this region as most of the apparel produced in the world is manufactured in Asian countries such as China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Sri Lanka. The climate and environment in South East Asian countries are also prone to insect breeding and this region along with tropical Africa have the potential to be huge consumers of the insect repellent apparels. Some of the companies operating in this market are Insect Shield and Pestrol among a few others.