If you never questioned the typical insect repellent, swallow this:
Every year, 100 million Americans slather on insect repellent to enjoy their outdoor barbecues, picnics and activities without getting bitten or stung. However, in the repellents used by about one-third of the U.S. population is a powerful chemical commonly known as DEET. Now this known neurotoxin, has been detected in lakes and rivers. According to testing done for the Chicago Sun-Times, DEET is also present in your drinking water.Are we clear on the harm that DEET can cause? Alright, now let's move on to solutions! One product that has proved itself to be both effective and non-toxic is Bug Bam, a wrist bracelet made with all natural, plant-based essential oils. It contains no chemicals, is safe for kids and pets, is not messy, not expensive, and pretty much a must for anyone spending time outdoors in mosquito season.
What makes the finding of DEET in drinking water so concerning is the fact that DEET is potentially very toxic, particularly to children. While the EPA maintains that the chemical is safe when used correctly, studies have shown that when used in high amounts, or for long periods of time, DEET is far from safe.
DEET has been shown to cause nervous-system damage, including:
* Mood changes
* Disorientation and clumsiness when walking
* Even death
And according to studies by Abou-Dania, while lab rats had no reaction to DEET when it was used for 30 days, after 60 days their brain cells started to die. Adding to the problem is the fact that DEET does not degrade quickly, nor does it breakdown much as it passes through sewage or drinking-water treatment plants. Scientists are worried that DEET may collect in the sediment of streams and prove toxic to birds, fish and other wildlife.
I've seen many moms recommend Avon Skin So Soft - that concerns me also. While it may be effective, the ingredients are not 100% safe. It contains aluminum,, among other things, which is a neurotoxin often contaminated with lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals. If you use their Bug Guard, you get a nice dose of oxybenzone and isobutane, no wonder the bugs don't like it!
Another solution is making your own insect repellent. Here are some recipes, just mix together all the ingredients in a spray bottle:
- 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup witch hazel (or cheap vodka)
- 5 drops of citronella or eucalyptus essential oil
- 1/3 cup vanilla (pure, no alcohol)
- 1/3 cup water
- 15 drops citronella essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 5 drops lemongrass essential oil
- 1.5 oz distilled water
- 1.5 oz high-proof alcohol
Hope this helps and enjoy the outdoors!
sources: Skin Deep Cosmetic Database
Chicago Sun Times
Homeland Security Website
Disclaimer: This article is not intended as medical advice. Seek the advice of a trusted and qualified health care professional.