The Buzz on DEET. Nature vs. Pesticide

Jul 10 2015

The Buzz on DEET. Nature vs. PesticideWhat is DEET?

Deet (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide), a slightly yellow chemical oil, is a common active ingredient in insect repellent. Over the last 45 years, billions of people worldwide have used various forms of DEET to effectively repel mosquitos. But before your next slathering or spritzing of conventional bug spray, read on.

The History of DEET

The origin of DEET is credited to the United States Army. It was formulated in response to the Army’s jungle warfare experiences of World War II. Originally tested as an agricultural pesticide, the Army implemented the widespread use of DEET in 1946. The chemical became available to the public in 1957 with the mass production of creams, lotions and aerosols. Today, over 33% of the U.S. population utilizes a DEET-based application in one form or another.

How DEET Works

DEET was originally believed to block the olfactory senses of insects, thereby prohibiting the detection of humans via the sense of smell. However, recent studies at the University of California have proven the chemical’s smell is actually the deterrent. A 2013 study conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found DEET works very well with the product’s first application. Subsequent applications, however, have proven to be less effective, as mosquitos’ tolerance to the chemical’s scent increases.

Is DEET really safe?

Although recognized and approved by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), the use of DEET is not without controversy. Health and environmental warnings abound regarding the chemical. There have been reported incidences of toxicity exposure. Neurological symptoms include: dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, seizures, and even death. Additional potential side effects include: birth/developmental risks, kidney/liver damage, neurotoxicity, and dermal irritation. The CDC does not recommend use of DEET in children under two months of age, and the suggested usage on children ages two to 12 is much less than one would think. The CDC’s recommendations directly correlate with the percentage of DEET in each product. Therefore, the onus lies with the individual to research the percentage (10% -100%) prior to application on children and adults alike. [The CDC’s website states: “The CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the EPA have issued guidelines to ensure safe use of DEET-based repellents. Careful product choice (most often of a DEET concentration of 30% or less), judicious use, and common-sense application will greatly reduce the possibility of toxicity.”] Does this sound risky to you? Package directions also instruct consumers/users to avoid inhalation of the product and to avoid contact with foodstuffs. It is also recommended that users of DEET avoid direct contact with skin. Recommendations further state users should wash affected areas with soap and water once indoors. And if this information isn’t frightening enough, please note health risks are not limited to direct contact or personal exposure to DEET. DEET has been detected in ground water sources. The potential for toxicity in aquatic ecosystems simply cannot be overlooked.

Why take the risk?

I don’t know about you, but I would rather have a mosquito bite than flirt with the risks associated with DEET. (Unless of course, you are visiting a country where the risk of disease from mosquitos is greater than the risk of exposure to the chemical itself) But before I subject you all to the pesky bites from insects, let me tell you about a safe alternative.

Lucky for you, several essential oils have proven to be quite effective against insects. In fact, I’ve formulated and tested (Thank you, family!) a truly pleasing combination of these incredible oils. I’m pleased to say this awesome, all natural bug repellant—BuzzOff— is now bottled and ready to be shared with you. Although nothing keeps insects at bay as effectively as DEET, the following ingredients have proven to repel bugs and mosquitos (Again, thank you, family!), and I feel confident sharing them with you and your loved ones. Check out this list of ingredients in BuzzOff— our natural alternative to toxic bug repellent.

Organic Witch Hazel, Organic Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Castor Oil, Organic Lemon Eucalyptus, Organic Citronella, Organic Cedar Wood, Organic Clove Bud.

Remember, repellency is based on scent. Therefore, you must re-apply BuzzOff fairly often. In addition to repelling all those nasty bugs, I believe you’ll find the scent to be invigorating and refreshing.

Note: If you use BuzzOff Natural Bug Repellent on children under the age of 12 months, I recommend spraying BuzzOff on your baby’s clothes or blanket accompanying them. Always remember, a baby’s skin is extremely sensitive to a multitude of things—even natural ingredients.

Also of note, we also use the same food-grade, ECO-Cert approved preservative system as many of our other products.

Now, BuzzOff!

To order click here!