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6 Scary Reasons to Stop Using DEET

DEET is arguably the most popular bug repellent in the U.S. Each year, millions of Americans spray it directly on their skin before camping, hiking, and cookouts to repel biting insects like mosquitoes. While DEET has one of the safer reputations among synthetic insecticides, it's still an artificial chemical, and therefore something you should think about seriously before using around yourself, your family and pets.

1) Mosquitoes Are Adapting to It

While some types of mosquitoes are now to have a genetic resistance to DEET-based repellents, it seems now other mosquitoes are developing an immunity, too! A study examining the host-seeking behavior of mosquitoes found that three hours after an initial exposure mosquitoes displayed insensitivity to the repellent.

2) It's Been Linked to Seizures

Although infrequent, potentially fatal seizures have been linked with DEET use. In 1998, the EPA (not know for their calling out chemical companies) found up to 46 cases of possible DEET-related seizures, including, sadly, 4 deaths.

3) It Can Increase the Toxicity of Other Insecticides

DEET can actually strengthen the toxicity of other common synthetic pesticides. Carbamates, a toxic family of insecticides often used in conjunction with DEET, is one such example.

4) It's Neurotoxic to Mammals-People & Pets

It was long believed that DEET simply had an olfactory effect on biting insects like mosquitoes, meaning it repelled them simply by smell. Recent studies have discovered that while DEET does repel by scent, it also deters pests through neurological means. The Animal Poison Control Center states that pets exposed to DEET products can experience "significant clinical" side effects.

5) It Can Melt Plastic

In addition to repelling bugs, you might be surprised to learn DEET is a rather powerful solvent, especially when it comes to synthetic materials like plastic. So very toxic to our livers!!

6) It's Said to Alter Mood and Impair Cognitive Function

A Study on prolonged use of DEET among National Park Rangers concluded long-term exposure led to side effects including but not limited to insomnia, mood disturbances, impaired cognitive function, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and more.

April 2022

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