Avoiding Chemicals – What is in your bug repellent?

What is in your bug repellent?

Summer is filled with endless sun, fun, and outside activities, but are you worried about what is in your bug repellent? We are too.

Most commonly found bug repellents contain a component called DEET. This is a chemical that drives bugs away because of its smell and taste. Though the EPA has approved bug repellents containing DEET for use on adults and children, many people may still experience adverse reactions to the use of this chemical. These can range from allergic reactions to skin irritation and rashes including blistering, itching, and redness. This occurs because even though bug repellent is applied to the outside of the body, it penetrates the skin barrier and DEET absorbs into the body. Other irritations and chemical effects can also occur upon ingestion if bug repellent is accidentally inhaled or enters the eyes after spraying.

Furthermore, not only are there risks for humans when using products containing DEET, but there are significant risks for animals and the planet as well. DEET is toxic to animals so any ingestion of bug repellent can be harmful to pets and wildlife. DEET is also harmful to the planet when put in water. While DEET is biodegradable, when it is put in water it becomes significantly less degradable and takes a long time to leave the oceans and lakes.

Check out these DEET-free bug repellent alternatives to optimize your fun.

  1. Way Out Wax Bug Out Insect Repellent (CitroNatural)
  2. Now Bug Ban Oil
  3. Citronella and Lemon Eucalyptus Oil- This combination has been used since the early 1900s. It can easily be made at home with 2 parts witch hazel, 1 part citronella, and 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle. For more DIY bug spray alternatives visit The Old Farmers Almanac.
  4. Catnip Oil – This has been shown to possibly deter bugs more effectively than products containing DEET according to WebMD.

Are you still unsure about natural products and want to use products with DEET in them?

Find listed below three steps to use DEET products more carefully. 

  1. Spray bug repellent on clothes and avoid direct skin contact. Only apply to skin that will be exposed to bugs. This will decrease contact and absorption of DEET.
  2. Only apply once a day and do not over-spray. More DEET does not equal more protection from bugs but longer lasting effects.
  3. Do not use when pregnant or nursing.

As summer approaches it brings warmth, sun, and fun times with friends and family. Don’t let bug bites bring down your good times!

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