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Deet Free Insect Repellent

Updated on July 15, 2010

Why You Should Use a DEET Free Insect Repellent (that Can Still Fend Off Bugs)

With so many natural alternatives available today, there is no need to use DEET. While the chemical DEET is effective at fending off mosquitoes, it also has many negative consequences to the human body. In Canada, the chemical has been limited in amounts. It is not recommended that you use DEET on children under the age of 6 months, however, it is really questionable whether people of any age should use it. On this page, you can read more about the consequences of this toxic chemical, what research studies have suggested, and what effective DEET alternatives are available today.

The Consequences of DEET

Can DEET really cause seizures? The EPA has reported that 14 to 46 cases of known seizures have been caused by DEET exposure. While this may be low and one of the extreme risks associated with DEET, there are some other negative consequences of using this toxic chemical.

Photo of mosquito found on flickr:
Photo of mosquito found on flickr:

What DEET Does to Animals

To the environment and to wildlife, DEET is extremely toxic. In a 2003 study, it was shown that the DEET negatively affects the brain of animals after prolonged exposure. The study shows some alarming results, which clearly indicate their could be really negative consequences from the use of DEET on humans.

What DEET Does to the Human Body

Citing human health reasons, Health Canada barred the sale of insect repellents for human use that contained more than 30% DEET in a 2002 re-evaluation. The agency recommended that DEET based products be used on children between the ages of 2 and 12 only if the concentration of DEET is 10% or less and that repellents be applied no more than 3 times a day, children under 2 should not receive more than 1 application of repellent in a day and DEET based products of any concentration not be used on infants under 6 months.

- Wikipedia

While the USA may have much higher tolerance for DEET, that doesn't make Americans superhuman. We should be avoiding this toxic chemical as much as possible, especially with children and babies. Instead of exposing your child to DEET, try to protect them from bugs in other ways like netting and keeping them out of known buggy areas. Mosquitoes are at their most active at night and just before sunset and after dawn. Keep that in mind when you're outside and keep babies inside at those times if possible. If you're heading outside yourself, try bringing an all natural bug spray with you.

With heavy exposure to DEET and other insecticides, humans may experience memory loss, headache, weakness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, tremors and shortness of breath.

-Duke University Medical Center pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia, Ph.D. (see article DEET Brain Effects in Animals Warrant Caution

Does DEET Work?

DEET is popular, actually because it works. It repels mosquitoes better than citronella and most other alternatives. The reason DEET doesn't work is because it has too many negative consequences for using it. Think of it like smoking cigarettes: one smoke won't kill you, but over time, it can have some negative effects. While it may be effective at repelling mosquitoes, it's also effective at killing brain cells and causing cognitive impairments (which you especially do not want to hinder with developing children). The same holds true for adults, too. DEET could cause damage over time that won't be seen immediately.

What Alternatives to DEET Exist

There are many other things you can use besides DEET to protect you and your family from mosquitoes. One common ingredient that seems to be effective at keeping mosquitoes away is eucalyptus oil. This essential oil also smells great to humans, and have no negative effects on the human body.

DEET Free Insect Repellent

For a safer alternative to DEET, try this DEET Free Insect Repellent which contains eucalyptus and lemon essential oils. There are no chemical preservatives or chemical ingredients, it's all natural. The eucalyptus acts as a compound that is stronger than the scent of our skin, which causes mosquitoes to leave.

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Have You Used a DEET Free Insect Repellent Before?

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    • WillSteinmetz profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the information.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have used DEET products in the past before learning of all the risks associated with DEET. I now use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) which is different from the essential oil eucalyptus since it is registered with the EPA and CDC. In order to be registered with the EPA and CDC Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is required to go through extensive toxicity and efficacy tests. It is proven to be effective and safe. Repel and Cutter both make a Lemon Eucalyptus product and they work great! I recommend them to anyone looking for an effective alternative to DEET.


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