The Dangers of Deet

DEET, or N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, is a common active ingredient in many insect repellents. While it's highly effective at keeping mosquitoes and other pests at bay, there are serious concerns about its safety and health risks.

Health Risks Associated with DEET

  1. Skin Irritation: DEET can cause various skin reactions, ranging from mild irritation and redness to severe rashes and blistering. Prolonged use or application on broken skin can increase these risks.

  2. Neurotoxicity: Research suggests that DEET may affect the central nervous system. High concentrations and frequent use have been linked to seizures, headaches, and memory loss. Children are particularly vulnerable to these effects due to their developing nervous systems.

  3. Environmental Impact: DEET is not only harmful to humans but also poses a threat to the environment. It can contaminate water sources, affecting aquatic life and ecosystems. DEET has been detected in groundwater, rivers, and even tap water in some areas.

  4. Eye Irritation: If DEET comes into contact with the eyes, it can cause significant irritation and damage. Symptoms may include redness, pain, and blurred vision. Immediate flushing with water is recommended if DEET gets into the eyes.

  5. Chemical Sensitivity: Individuals with chemical sensitivities or allergies may experience heightened reactions to DEET. Symptoms can include respiratory issues, skin rashes, and other allergic reactions.

Essential Oils: Natural and Safe Bug Repellents

Fortunately, nature offers a plethora of safe and effective alternatives to DEET. Essential oils extracted from plants have been used for centuries as natural insect repellents, offering a sustainable and eco-friendly solution to pest control. 

  1. Lavender Oil: Known for its calming aroma, lavender oil possesses insect-repelling properties and is gentle on the skin, making it suitable for children and sensitive skin types.

  2. Eucalyptus Oil: Derived from the leaves of eucalyptus trees, this oil contains compounds such as citronellal and piperitone that are effective in repelling mosquitoes and other insects.

  3. Peppermint Oil: With its refreshing scent, peppermint oil acts as a natural insect deterrent, particularly against ants, spiders, and mosquitoes.

A Safer Alternative to DEET

While DEET remains a widely used insect repellent due to its effectiveness, the health risks associated with its use highlight the importance of exploring safer alternatives. Essential oils offer a natural and effective solution for protecting oneself and loved ones from insects without compromising on health or environmental impact. Make your own natural bug spray with our recipe below!

Essential Oil Bug Spray Recipe

These blends are different depending on age, as some essential oils aren’t suitable for young children.

Make sure you utilize these different recipes depending on the age of your child.

Here are some other notes on safe handling of essential oils:

Safe Handling Guide for Essential Oils

  1. Dilute Properly
    Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before applying to the skin. A common ratio is 1-2 drops of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil.
  2. Patch Test
    Perform a patch test before using a new essential oil. Apply a small amount to a patch of skin and wait 24 hours to check for any adverse reactions.
  3. Avoid Sensitive Areas
    Keep essential oils away from eyes, ears, and mucous membranes. Do not ingest unless under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  4. Store Safely
    Keep essential oils in dark, glass bottles away from heat and direct sunlight. Store them out of reach of children and pets.
  5. Know Your Oils
    Research each essential oil's properties and potential side effects. Some oils can cause skin irritation or photosensitivity.
  6. Use with Caution During Pregnancy
    Consult a healthcare provider before using essential oils if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have underlying health conditions.

Stay safe and enjoy the benefits of essential oils responsibly!