We all love to be outside this time of year, especially in the morning and evening when the temperature is just right. But, like me, you may have noticed that our recent rain and following heat has brought some unwelcome guests to the party. Mosquitoes are rampant! What to do?
Well, I’ve been touting the efficiency of natural repellants and avoiding DEET products altogether. But I’m willing to admit when I’ve been misinformed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not replacing my lovely skin conditioning, great smelling, all natural products!
But I thought I would share some facts about DEET that others may have also gotten wrong.
I thought DEET was a carcinogen and that you could get very ill just from using it too much. I found a fact sheet from the National Pesticide Information Center that brought the facts into focus for me.
The body eliminates DEET that has been absorbed through the skin within 24 hours. There also has not been enough evidence to declare it a carcinogen. Since 30% of the population uses it, I find that a comforting fact. While DEET gets into wastewater, it would take a concentration 75000 times greater than the current samples to kill off even half of the insects and freshwater fish that come into contact with it. The seizure rate is 1 in 100 million people.
The only truly negative information I found (other than not following the directions of usage and accidentally swallowing it,) was from Wikipedia: “The Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University states that “Everglades National Park employees having extensive DEET exposure were more likely to have insomnia, mood disturbances and impaired cognitive function than were lesser exposed co-workers”.
So after arming myself with information, I can say that I would definitely use a product with DEET if I planned on a long camping or hiking trip. And I wouldn’t rely on anything else if I were traveling to a country where I might be exposed to malaria or other illnesses passed on by mosquitoes.
So, as with any product, be sure to follow the instructions and wash your hands!
Have a great, mosquito free Memorial Day!