By Wiggy Saunders MD
Walk into any big box store this time of year and you are sure to quickly run into a giant rack of bug sprays. Most claim safety for all ages and many are branded "family" products. They look fine and some don't smell all that "chemical" laden so we consider them safe for ourselves and our kids... BUT... I'm here to tell you that there are some important things to be aware of before you start spraying.
Are Those Ingredients REALLY SAFE?
Let's take a closer look at the primary ingredients in most bug sprays:
1. DEET- By far the most common ingredient in commerical bug sprays, DEET has been deemed as "safe" for consumers for years, so most people trust that claim and don't think twice about spraying it on all Summer long. However, DEET is a pesticide- a chemical from a family of solvents used in rubber cement and paint remover. At 100% concentration it can melt plastic. DEET is absorbed through the skin and enters the blood stream.
The Medical Sciences Bulletin, published by Pharmaceutical Information Associates Ltd. reports, "Up to 56% of DEET applied topically penetrates intact human skin and 17% is absorbed into the bloodstream."
DEET is also absorbed into the gut. The fact that most people already have some kind of compromised gut bacteria makes this a cause for concern.
The most serious concerns about DEET are its effects on the central nervous
system. Dr. Mohammed Abou-Donia of Duke University studied lab animals'
performance of neuro-behavioural tasks requiring muscle co-ordination. He found that lab animals exposed to the equivalent of average human doses of DEET performed far worse than untreated animals.
Additionally, DEET is not recommended AT ALL for babies or for pregnant women. In Canada products state that children under 12 years of age should not apply a higher concentration than 10% DEET. Most products marketed in the US have AT LEAST 15% DEET in them.
2. PERMETHERIN- Ok. So you picked up a DEET-FREE product to be "safe". Not so fast. Almost all other bug sprays on the market contain permetherin. Permetherin is a synthetic chemical and is used to eliminate lice and scabies as well as a pesticide. There is a laundry list of potential side effects including endocrine disruption, dizziness, behavioral problems, toxic reaction, and behavior problems in kids. Even scarier, the EPA has deemed it is a known carcinogen
Ok. I didn't mean to scare you. That's never my intention, but you deserve to know the facts.
So the big question: What are the alternatives?
Essential Oils: Oils like peppermint, Citronella and Eucalyptus do help to deter bugs and are prevalent in truly NATURAL bug sprays. The problem here is effectiveness. While they help decrease bites overall they do not seem to work as well as the chemical based bug sprays.
Raise Them Well's Bug Repellent and Bite Relief features Andiroba Seed Oil. While not quite as powerful as DEET, (which is a good thing!) Andiroba seed oil has been used for centuries in many cultures to effectively repel mosquitos and other biting bugs. It has also been studied compared to essential oils and it is more effective than all of them in preventing bites. So what we've combined andiroba seed oil with a gentle, yet powerful blend of essential oils to help keep your family bite-free and chemical-free! Even better it smells like an essential oil blend rather than a toxic chemical!
Remember that natural products work differently than chemical based products and it's important to spray and rub in the convenient and easy to use spray so that it is distributed well on exposed skin.
Because we design products with busy families in mind our product comes in an easy to use 3-Pack so that you can have your bug spray available in the most important places- plus my wife says that Moms don't need another big bottle to lug around in their purse!
Check it out at bit.ly/rtwbugspray on Amazon or right here on our website!