Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dangers of DEET - Choose Alternatives

Most insect repellents sold today contain the synthetic chemical DEET (short for N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide). Major U.S. agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, say that it is safe and effective if used properly. Other academic studies, however, have found that high exposure to DEET can lead to psychological problems, rashes, dizziness, headache, and nausea, among other symptoms.

Most of the problems with DEET were found in people who applied the chemical regularly, for instance, once a day for five days or longer. DEET has also been detected in waterways.

Many outdoor clothing manufacturers have started selling clothes treated with permethrin to deter mosquitoes, ticks and other biting insects. A synthetic version of the pyrethrin found in chrysanthemums, permethrin comes out of the clothing as you sweat. U.S. military research has shown that the pesticide can be absorbed into the skin.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified permethrin as "likely to be carcinogenic" — however, most levels of exposure are not considered high enough to pose a cancer risk.

EPA: Deet Facts www.epa.gov/opp00001/factsheets/chemicals/deet.htm
CDC: Insect Repellent Facts www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/repellentupdates.htm
EPA: Permethrin Facts www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/permethrin_fs.htm

Source of Article: The Green Guide.com. Read more and get natural alternatives that work. Check out the product comparison tab too.

Make your own spray with this recipe:

5 drops Eucalyptus
2 drops Geranium
4 drops Lemon
1 drop Peppermint
1/4 teaspoon olive oil
3 T. water (distilled if possible)

Pour all ingredients into a 2-ounce spray bottle and shake to blend. Spray on exposed areas of the skin. Reapply every 2 hours.

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