Dangers of DEET in Bug Spray
Do you know what you’re spraying on yourself when you head outdoors? DEET is the active ingredient in most bug sprays, and also one of the most worrisome. DEET is a dangerous chemical with the potential to cause serious and permanent central nervous system and neurological damage such as:
- Poor Coordination
- Learning and Memory Problems
Even when simply applied to the skin, DEET is absorbed into the bloodstream and the digestive tract, and when used alongside oxybenzone sunscreen, DEET enters the bloodstream even more rapidly. One study found that DEET blocks cholinesterase, an enzyme critical for the nervous system. Chemicals that inhibit cholinesterase can cause mild bothersome symptoms (watery eyes, hypersalivation) at low doses, but higher levels of exposure lead to muscle spasms and death. The risks of DEET are considered so substantial that you are advised to never inhale or ingest it, wash it off as soon as you return indoors, and immediately wash clothing or leave it outdoors.
More Dangerous Chemicals Found in Bug Spray
Other chemicals found in bug sprays include picaridin, metofluthrin, P-mentane-3, 8-diol, and IR3535. These products have been linked to various side effects and health risks. What’s more, chemical bug sprays are designed to kill bugs. Something that causes insects to die may be highly likely to cause adverse effects in humans and pets as well, especially with repeated or cumulative exposures. Rather than use pesticides on your skin, turn instead to natural bug spray products that safely repel the nuisance bugs with natural essential oils instead of killing them. Mosquitos, fleas, and ticks don’t like the smell of the oils in these natural bug sprays, and will stay away… and without the potential harm to your child or pet.
What about pet flea and tick treatments for your pets?
Pet protection against bugs — including pills, collars, and topical treatments from popular, vet-recommended brands such as Frontline or Advantage. — are highly toxic, and unfortunately not necessarily effective. These products are full of chemical organophosphates and carbamates such as Pyriproxyfen, Fipronil, S-methoprene, Imidacloprid, Permethrin, Selamectin, Nitenpyram, Spinosad, Propoxur, and Flumethrin. These are poisons, many of them similar or the same as those used in farming. Pets poisoned by these toxins may:
- Act lethargic
- Struggle to walk
- Appear uncoordinated
- Whine or yelp in pain
- Breathe shallowly
- Lose appetite
- Become overly excitable
- Have a fever
- Develop seizures
Are pet bug treatments safe for the rest of your family?
Pets aren’t the only ones at risk from these toxic treatments. Members of the household, too, may exhibit ill effects, particularly young children, as they have undeveloped immune systems and a habit of putting everything in their mouth. Pregnant women and their unborn babies are also especially at risk from organophosphate exposure. The EPA has determined that a child’s organophosphate exposure on the day of a pet’s flea treatment application may exceed safe levels by more than 50,000 percent! Those exposed to these chemicals may exhibit symptoms ranging from acute illness and developmental problems to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, disability, or death.