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Chemicals to Avoid in Insect Repellents and Safer Natural Alternatives


Insect repellents are great at protecting us from pesky bugs and the diseases they can transmit. However, not all bug sprays are created equal. Some common chemicals found in insect repellents can be harmful to humans and the environment. Fortunately, we have done the thinking for you and will cover these harmful chemicals, why you should avoid them, and the safer, natural alternatives available to protect you and your family.


Chemicals to Avoid


1. DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide):

DEET is one of the most common active ingredients in bug sprays. While it is effective at repelling insects, it comes with certain risks. DEET is known to irritate the eyes, and if used in high concentrations, it can potentially induce neurological damage. In rare cases, exposure to elevated levels of DEET has been associated with seizures, tremors, and slurred speech. DEET poses a particular danger to small children, as seizures may occur in those who have DEET on their skin for extended periods. Hence, products containing DEET should ideally not be used on infants, but many may be unaware of its harmful effects. Additionally, DEET emits a distinct odour and can damage various materials such as plastic, rubber, and vinyl, including your gear and clothing. It can literally melt plastic!


2. Permethrin:

Permethrin is another harmful chemical often found in bug sprays. This neurotoxin is capable of causing brain cell damage and is highly toxic to bees, cats, and aquatic life. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified Permethrin as a potential carcinogen, capable of causing lung tumours, liver tumours, immune system problems, and chromosomal abnormalities.


3. N-Octyl Bicycloheptene Dicarboximide (MGK-264):

MGK-264, present in some pesticide products, has raised concerns about its potential carcinogenic effects. Studies on laboratory animals have shown an increased rate of thyroid tumours in male rats and liver tumours in mice when exposed to high daily doses. While the evidence of gene damage is weak, the EPA has classified MGK-264 as a possible human carcinogen.


Why You Should Avoid These Chemicals

Using bug sprays containing these chemicals can pose risks to your health and the environment. The potential harm includes:

  • Irritation to the eyes

  • Neurological damage in extreme cases

  • Toxicity to animals and aquatic life

  • Damage to gear and clothing

  • Possible carcinogenic effects

  • Harm to the environment


Safer Natural Alternatives


If you want to protect yourself from insects without the risks associated with chemical bug sprays, there are great safer natural alternatives available! However, be cautious when buying for under three’s that you avoid using Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.



Safer options:


Insect repellents are useful for managing pesky insects when outdoors and in other countries insect-borne diseases. However, it is important to be aware of the potentially harmful chemicals in some bug sprays. By choosing safer natural alternatives from reputable brands that prioritise natural ingredients, you can protect yourself without compromising your health or the environment. Stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors without the worry of harmful chemicals.


References

http://static.ewg.org/reports/2013/bug_repellents/2013_EWGs_Guide_to_Bug_Repellents.pdf

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