Many common mosquito repellents are based on DEET. It’s an old-timer, used for more than half a century to ward off mosquitoes and ticks. DEET is a chemical that was developed by the U.S. Army in 1946 for protection of soldiers in insect-infested areas. The question is, how safe is it to use DEET?
According to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, most cases of serious side effects caused by DEET involve long-term, frequent application of the repellent. When it’s applied with common sense and only on exposed skin for short periods of time, many researchers believe that DEET can be used as an effective and safe way to avoid insect-borne diseases. Still, people today aren’t just dealing with DEET, but rather a toxic body burden threat that includes exposure to dozens, if not hundreds, of different chemicals on a daily basis. In some cases, DEET alone may cause minor to serious reactions and conditions, including the following concerns:
1. Allergic Reactions
For some people, when DEET is applied to the skin, especially for an extended period of time, it can cause adverse reactions like redness, rash and swelling.
2. Seizures and Brain Malfunction
In some cases, ingestion of DEET can lead to seizures. There are also reports of DEET-induced seizures in children. According to a case analysis published in Human and Experimental Toxicology, clinical reports of children under 16 years old who suffered from brain damage indicate that symptoms can be caused by not only the ingestion of DEET, and repeated and extensive application, but also brief exposure to the insect repellent. The most prominent symptom among the reported cases was seizures, which affected 72 percent of the patients and was significantly more frequent when DEET products were applied to the skin. Researchers concluded that “repellents containing DEET are not safe when applied to children’s skin and should be avoided in children.”
3. Gulf War Syndrome
Gulf war syndrome is a condition that affects veterans of the Gulf War and causes chronic headaches, fatigue, respiratory disorders and skin conditions. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that the emergence of these symptoms may be linked to the simultaneous exposure to multiple agents that were used to protect the health of service personnel, particularly DEET, the anti-nerve agent pyridostigmine bromide and the insecticide permethrin.
It sounds like something I’d rather not be rubbing on my skin and certainly not on my kids.
There are several natural mosquito repellents available and many essential oils that keep those little bugs away. For example; citronella, lemon eucalyptus, eucalyptus, peppermint, clove, lavender and basil. Evergreen-life uses a blend of coconut oil, lavender and eucalyptus which was tested at an effectiveness of approximately 93% protection against mosquitos for up to 4 hours. Enjoy your summer mosquito-free with our Natural Mosquito Repellent.