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Mosquito Reppllents

 

DEET, the most commonly used active ingredient in mosquito repellents, comes with some disturbing health problems, having been linked to everything from birth defects to neurological damage.

To add insult to injury, a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that some disease-carrying mosquitoes are growing resistant to DEET. Female mosquitoes that carry dengue fever (yet another disease that has spread from the tropics to 28 US states) were not deterred by DEET—and they even passed that DEET-resistant trait to their offspring.

The good news is that these natural insect repellents that are just as effective—if not more so—than DEET:

Picaridin, A chemical derived from pepper, has shown the most promise as being an effective DEET replacement without any negative health effects. In fact, a study published in the 2004 issue of The Journal Tropical Medicine & International Health found that picaridin was more effective at repelling dengue-fever-spreading mosquitoes than DEET. You can find picaridin-containing products at most national drugstores.

The oils of lemon and eucalyptus are the only plant-based repellent recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are effective for warding off disease-carrying mosquitoes. A 2004 study in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that products containing 26% oil of lemon eucalyptus protected against West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes for about three hours longer than products containing 7% DEET.

 

Oil of lemon eucalyptus is the only plant-based repellent recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is effective for warding off disease-carrying mosquitoes. A 2004 study in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that products containing 26% oil of lemon eucalyptus protected against West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes for about three hours longer than products containing 7% DEET.