Almost all conventional insect repellents currently in use contain DEET, a chemical substance developed during World War II, used by the US Army. UU In the war of the jungle. In 1957, it was registered as a pesticide where it was available to consumers and has been used since then.
DEET works by confusing the smell receptors in the mosquito's antennae. A mosquito that searches for blood addresses you by detecting three things: the heat of your body, the carbon dioxide that you breathe out, and various chemicals that your body excretes through your skin, the most important of which is lactic acid. Certain receptors on the antennas of a female mosquito are tuned to this lactic acid and nothing else. The DEET turns off the receivers so that the nerves connected to them become useless. The closure of these lactic acid receptors with DEET blinds the female mosquito to human presence, despite body heat, carbon dioxide and chemicals in the skin.
DEET has become the best known. mosquito repellent In the world, and today can be found in many forms, including sprays, wipes, roll-ons, liquids, lotions and even bracelets. Most formulas contain between 10 and 30 percent of DEET, although you can find products used for the direct application of the skin with between 4 and 100 percent of DEET.
the EPA estimated in 1990 that approximately 30 percent of Americans used DEET every year; a decade later, 5 to 7 million pounds were used. It is believed that these figures have remained almost the same today, and although most consider it mosquito repellent, that is not true for everyone. A study conducted in the late 1980s in employees of the Everglades National Park, analyzed the effects of DEET and found that a quarter of the subjects studied experienced negative health effects that were attributed to exposure to the chemical. Effects included rashes, skin irritation, numbness or burning in the lips, nausea, headaches, dizziness and difficulty concentrating.
While the manufacturers, marketers and other defenders of DEET insist that it is safe and highly effective, the facts say something different.
Here we offer a more detailed description of why you should NEVER use DEET on your skin.
1. It is becoming less effective.
DEET is not as effective as it used to be, since mosquitoes have developed resistance to it. A reference study He recently revealed that, although the insects are initially rejected by them, they ignore it if they are exposed to it again. The researchers tested the response to DEET in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are known to bite during the day and are capable of transmitting dengue fever and yellow fever viruses.
Previous research had shown that some mosquitoes were genetically immune to the substance, but this study by scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that even those who would normally be deterred developed a resistance.
That means that using DEET not only puts you at risk for numerous side effects, it may not work at all.
2. Fatalities related to DEET.
From 1961 to 2002, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reported eight Deaths related to exposure to DEET. While three of the deaths resulted from deliberate ingestion, five occurred after exposure to the skin with DEET in both adults and children.
3. Serious damage to children.
In children, the most frequent symptoms of DEET toxicity reported in poison control centers include headaches, tremors, lethargy, seizures, involuntary movements and seizures. Experts also say that frequent and prolonged use of this chemical, especially in combination with other chemicals or medications, could cause brain deficits in vulnerable populations, especially children.
Almost all experts agree that children, like those with weakened immunity and elderly people, should be extremely careful and should never be used on babies under two months of age. The federal health department of Canada goes further and states that no child under six months must use DEET, and that those between six months and 12 years should avoid products that contain more than 10 percent of DEET, although that Yes it should be important. as to how potentially dangerous this substance can be.
In fact, there have been 14 reported cases involving children who suffered encephalopathy, including seizures, after using DEET on the skin. All but one were less than eight years old: three children died, although the others finally recovered completely. Defenders of DEET say that the number is too small to worry about, considering that there were 14 cases since the product reached store shelves in 1957; however, if you are a parent, you should NOT admit the number of serious injuries or deaths, really. our opinion.
4. Negative effects on pets.
DEET is toxic when ingested in high doses, and dogs and cats can lick and ingest it, which could result in toxicity. The ASPCA states that the chemical should never be used on pets, as it can cause significant negative effects: the higher the concentration of DEET in a product, the greater the risk that your pet is at risk. If the DEET comes in contact with the eyes of your animal, it can cause conjunctivitis, scleritis, blepharospasm, epiphora, lethargy / depression, uveitis and corneal ulceration.
If your pet inhales it, it can cause inflammation of the airways and dyspnea, which may require professional treatment, including bronchodilators, steroids and oxygen. Gastrointestinal disorder is also common; Other possible harmful effects include tremors, seizures, disorientation and ataxia.
5. Common unwanted effects of DEET
There are a number of minor, but common, unwanted effects of DEET. As it can be easy for the chemist to enter the eyes while being sprayed, or by touching the skin sprayed with the fingers and then touching the eyes, many users have experienced ocular irritation, pain and watery eyes. When the chemical is left on the skin for a long time, it can cause a rash, redness, swelling or other types of irritation.
6. A long list of possible serious effects of DEET.
DEET users not only tend to experience minor side effects, but there is also a long list of serious side effects associated with DEET, some of which have been shown in studies.
Damage to DNA. DEET has been tested on animals and human cells in the laboratory and has been shown to cause DNA damage. A study The Duke University of North Carolina found that the results indicated that "dermal administration of DEET could generate free radical species and, therefore, cause oxidative damage to rat DNA". taken to the diffuse brain cell death and behavior changes. The experts concluded that humans should stay away from products that contain it.
Negative impact on the nervous system. A study conducted in 2008 at the Institute of Research for Development in France, published in the journal. BMC Biology, discovered that DEET can interfere with the activity of enzymes that are crucial for the nervous system to function as it should. The researchers discovered that DEET blocked the enzyme cholinesterase, which is necessary to transmit messages from the brain to the muscles of insects. They noted that DEET can also affect the nervous system of mammals and that more research is needed, but it is undoubtedly a cause for concern. The study also showed that the chemicals that interfere with the action of cholinesterase can cause excessive salivation and watering of the eyes in low doses, followed by muscle spasms and finally death.
Muscle and joint pain Weakness Fatigue Tremors Headache Memory loss Short of breath Burning lips Temporary numbness Disorientation Dizziness Difficult to focus Nausea Hallucinations
These symptoms are sometimes not evident until months or even years after exposure.
7. Environmental effects.
DEET is also a persistent environmental pollutant that decomposes slowly in the soil. A recent geological study of the United States. report In water pollutants, DEET is one of the substances most frequently found in US currents. The US EPA UU He considers DEET to be "slightly toxic" to birds, fish, and aquatic invertebrates and, given its frequency in our nation's waterways, it should definitely pause. Scientists have also stated that DEET does not dissolve or mix well in water.
When the DEET is sprayed or evaporated, it enters the air as vapor or mist, and then begins to decompose in the atmosphere. In high concentrations, it can be extremely toxic not only for insects but also for fish.
What to use instead:
Considering all this, it is easy to see why you should never put DEET on your skin or another person's skin. But what do you do to keep mosquitoes away? After all, they are also at high risk, including some serious diseases, such as malaria, West Nile virus and encephalitis.
The good news is that there are a number of effective natural alternatives that do not come with a long list of side effects.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
the Centers for Disease Control recommends Lemon eucalyptus oil indicates that it offers similar protection to low concentration DEET products. A concentration of 40 percent or more is recommended to combat mosquitoes and ticks. You can buy pure lemon eucalyptus oil in Plant Therapy here.
If you've ever sat around a campfire, you've probably noticed that mosquitoes seem to stay away, even from those they are most attracted to. It really works because they do not like being near smoke. You can use candles or simply enjoy sitting around the fire on a nice summer night.
Eat more garlic
You've probably heard that garlic repels vampires, and while that may be based on fantasy, the truth is that this spicy herb can keep mosquitoes away. Although not much research has been done to support that claim, many people swear it works. In addition, garlic is full of powerful antioxidants and is known to help fight infections, so you will get much more than just a mosquito repellent. If you're worried about the smell, try chewing a sprig of fresh parsley after eating it.
Mint essential oil
Mint smells infinitely better than that horrible chemical odor to DEET, in addition to acting as a natural insecticide to repel mosquitoes and is highly effective. Investigation published in Malaria Journal In March 2011, he revealed the reason. The experts discovered that it offered a repellent action when applied to exposed parts of the body, while demonstrating a mosquito and larvicide-repelling action. The mosquito larvae were sacrificed 24 hours after exposure to a solution of pure mint oil and water. If you can grow your own, you will have immediate access to your own natural repellent. All you have to do is go out and crushes some of the leaves of the plant to release the aroma and oils.
Reference: https://www.naturallivingideas.com/deet-dangers/, by Susan Patterson
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