It is now the mid summer and here in Florida- it is hot and it is humid. With this weather comes an increase in mosquitoes, especially with all the rain this year. Every store, from Target to Walmart and even grocery stores have numerous displays of the most popular brands of insect repellents. For a very long time now the active ingredient in most all of these insect repellents, designed to be sprayed on your skin, is a chemical called DEET. Until recently there has been questions on whether deet was really a safe enough chemical to be spraying in the air and all over ours and our children’s bodies. Personally, I never felt this type of chemical was “safe enough”.
A few years back a team of researchers found the chemical deet to be toxic to the central nervous system. They explained that this chemical is not simply a behavior modifying chemical but it inhibits the activity of a key central nervous system enzyme called acetycholinesterase, in both insects and mammals. This last part is of crucial importance, because they found that this chemical does not just affect the insects, as once believed, but has an affect on humans as well. They also found that deet interacts with other insecticides, which it is often combined with, and increases their toxicity as well.
This does not sound like something I want to take a can of and spray all over my young grandchildren. There is enough exposure to toxic chemicals in our environment without purposely spraying them all over us.
There are some alternatives to these toxic laden sprays that do not contain deet. Products like ForceX from Keys or the product called Herbal Armor from the manufacturer All Terrain use essential oils that are known to repel bugs including mosquitoes, knats and ticks. These products work well and are safe for children.
Look for these safe alternatives in your local health food store or in my shopping page online and have a safe-bug free summer.