- SAFE AND EFFECTIVE
EPA concludes DEET is safe for use on Americans of
any age if used as directed. The EPA's announcement
came this May after more than 11 years of extensive
was developed by the U.S. government in 1951 after
testing 11,000 compounds for their effectiveness in
repelling insects. It is approved by the Environment
Protection Agency (EPA) as an insect repellent, and
no other substance has been found to be more effective.
Repellents with DEET are used safely and effectively
by approximately 30% of the U.S. population during
a given year, with an average of seven to eight applications
per person. This results in more than 400 million
exposures to DEET each year.
is no other product that works as effectively and
is so safe to use.
date 36 major safety studies have been performed at
a cost of more than $5 million. These studies have
confirmed what more than 40 years of research have
consistently found --that DEET products are safe when
used according to label directions. When reactions
to DEET are reported, they are generally limited to
eye irritation from inadvertent exposure to the eyes
and infrequent skin reactions from sensitive individuals.
bottom line is that DEET repellents can be used confidently
by following label instructions. In a study by the
American Association of Poison Control Centers, only
0.15 of 1% of calls made to the Poison Control Centers
over a five-year period involved DEET products and
of those calls, the majority were inconsequential.
And of these few reported calls, no correlation was
found between the number or severity of reported incidents
and the concentration of DEET in products."
from Insect Bites and Stings
has experienced the annoyance of itching insect bites. But
some insect bites result in far more serious problems. Approximately
100 Americans are reported to die each year from insect
bites or stings. However, the true number is probably much
higher since researchers are convinced that an unknown number
of deaths attributed to natural causes are actually caused
by insect stings. For example, a severe allergic reaction
to bee stings can masquerade as a heart attack.
disease is one of the better known insect-spread diseases;
it is carried by ticks, most commonly the deer tick. While
highly treatable in its early stages, if undetected Lyme
disease can cause serious long-term disabilities, including
arthritic joints, severe headaches and abnormal heartbeat.
have been reported in 49 states; the disease is common in
the Northeast and upper Midwest.
Lyme disease, ticks also transmit Rocky Mountain spotted
fever, Colorado tick fever and several forms of encephalitis.
Mosquitoes spread several forms of encephalitis, including
Eastern equine encephalitis, which has a mortality rate
of 50% to 60%.
problems posed by insects, then, certainly warrant using
protection when engaging in outdoor activities, particularly
if you live in areas known to be infested with disease-carrying
bugs. DEET has been proven effective against many types
of pests, including mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, fleas,
biting flies, biting midges (commonly called no-see-ums)
who plan to travel out of the U.S. should also be alert
to the dangers of insects in other countries. For instance,
researchers have found that increased outbreaks of malaria,
which is spread by mosquitoes, correlate with El Nino. The
World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control
and Prevention and the U.S. Army recommend people use DEET-based
repellents when traveling to countries where insect-borne
diseases are prevalent.
according to label instructions, DEET is a perfectly
safe and most effective way to protect yourself from