Bug repellent is a summer necessity for most and we are here to let you in on why conventional bug repellent is a huge health hazard. Our amazing assistant (and social media goddess), Autumn, gathered the following information for us to share with you.
Is Conventional Bug Repellent Dangerous?
One chemical found in many conventional repellents is something called DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). It first originated during World War II and was developed for use in jungle warfare. While it is efficient at repelling mosquitoes and other bugs, is it really safe? We found the answer to be an astounding NO!
Data suggests that it can affect our cells and body in dangerous ways. In the 1980's and 90's, it was potentially linked to 14 cases of brain damage. A study conducted in the 1980's on Everglades National Park employees, found that one quarter of the subjects experienced negative health effects due to the chemical. Some effects they experienced were rashes, skin irritation, numb or burning lips, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. A study was conducted in 2009 showing that DEET interferes with vital nervous system enzymes of insects. One enzyme in particular, called cholinesterase, is essential for transmitting messages from the brain to the muscles and was hindered by DEET. This suggests that DEET may also affect mammals in the same way.
A study that was published in the journal of BMC Biology and conducted by The Institute of Development Research in France found that chemicals that interfere with the function of cholinesterase can cause excessive salivation and eye watering in just low doses. The symptoms also included muscle spasms and ultimately death.
Some people are worried though about protecting themselves from biting insects that may transmit disease.
Are There Any Alternatives to DEET?
Well, of course! There are all natural products that are just as effective, if not more effective, than DEET containing products. The CDC recently approved Lemon-Eucalyptus Oil for efficacy. The agency ranked it the same as DEET, providing reasonably long lasting protection and reducing the bites of disease-carrying mosquitoes.
There is even a study published in the Malaria Journal explaining how plants and botanicals have been used for millennia as bug repellent. The use of plant oils applied to the skin or clothes were first recorded in writings by ancient Greek, Roman, and Indian scholars.
Even citronella, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass, basil, geranium, and lemon are super effective! That is the base formula for all of our repellents! They smell fantastic and protect you from those annoying biting insects!
There are many natural plant-based repellent options. Try some and see what works best for you. :-)
We have several fantastic bug repellent products. You can find them all here. ;-)