While it’s no secret that biting bugs like mosquitoes and ticks can carry a host of harmful diseases, many commonly used insect repellents could carry dangers of their own. The safety of DEET, a powerful pesticide and the active ingredient used in many insect repellents, has long been a topic of debate. An assessment of DEET by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that insect repellents containing DEET do not present a health concern as long as consumers follow label directions and take proper precautions. However a study by Mohamed Abou-Donia, a Duke University Medical Center pharmacologist, found that frequent and prolonged exposure to DEET can impair functioning in parts of the brain.
While the debate on the safety of DEET rages on, you may find yourself reaching for a kinder, gentler form of bug warfare. Luckily there are quite a few all-natural repellents available that will help keep those pesky biting bugs at bay and keep you and your family safe from potentially harmful chemicals.
•Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition (about $14 for a 4oz. spray) is a DEET-free mosquito repellent, the newest from Avon, which goes on smooth and smells distinctly unlike bug spray. The spray is hypoallergenic and also packs a mean 30 SPF.
•Repel Lemon Eucalyptus(about $7.50 for a 4 oz. bottle) Repel Lemon Eucalyptus has been proven to be effective against mosquitoes, deer ticks and no-see-ums for up to six hours. Derived from Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, a renewable resource, this non-greasy lotion has a pleasant scent and is perfect for the whole family.
•Bite Blocker (about $7 for a 4 oz. bottle) The New England Journal of Medicine declared that this all natural insect repellent is as effective as DEET. It’s sweat-proof, water-proof and safe for use on children.
•Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent ($8 for a 4 oz. bottle) Made with 100% natural blend of bug-fighting oils, this product is said to repel even the most stubborn of pests. This product is safe for use on children and pets.
•Buzz Away Extreme (about $13 for a 4 oz. bottle) Buzz Away Extreme combines essential plant oils with soy bean and geranium oil for the longest lasting natural protection available. It works for up to 8 hours against mosquitoes, up to 2.5 hours on ticks, and also repels fleas, gnats and flies.
•Natrapel Plus (about $5 for a 4 oz. spray) Naturapel Plus is a natural, plant based product. It is said to effectively guard against mosquitoes, black flies, ticks, fleas, and no-see-ums for up to three hours.
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