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  • DANGERS OF DEET

    Before you reach for a can of insect repellent, you might want to read the ingredients panel. DEET, the most commonly used active ingredient in mosquito repellents, comes with some disturbing health problems, such as skin blisters, and it has been linked to birth defects and neurological damage. DEET can also interact adversely with permethrin, an ingredient common in bug-repellent clothing, by enhancing your body’s ability to absorb permethrin, a synthetic insecticide linked to headaches, memory loss, and muscle and joint pain.

    To add insult to injury, a study published on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that mosquitoes are growing resistant to DEET. The researchers noted that female mosquitoes belonging to the species that carries yellow and dengue fevers were not deterred by DEET when the chemical was sprayed on the arms of human volunteers, and that the mosquitoes passed that DEET-resistant trait to their offspring. Fortunately, there are safer insect repellents that are just as effective, if not more so, than DEET.