DEET (officially known as N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is the most widely used insect repellent pesticide in the USA and beyond. It is popular for deterring mosquitoes
, black flies, fleas and ticks while helping to prevent the spread of insect-borne diseases like West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, Malaria and Lyme Disease
If you regularly use DEET, you can expect these side effects: rashes, skin irritation, numbness and burning in the lips, nausea, headaches, dizziness and even trouble concentrating.
But apart from the side effects, the use of DEET comes with the following concerns:
1. Neurotoxin -
many studies have found DEET to be toxic to the central nervous system.
2. Allergen -
there are many anecdotal reports of allergies to DEET available online.
3. Carcinogen -
studies have found the pesticide produced potential carcinogenic effects in human nasal mucosal cells.
4. Environmental impact -
sadly, DEET is widespread in our environment including in water and in the air. DEET is toxic to birds, fish, aquatic invertebrates and other insects. As it takes a long time to break down, it can remain in the environment for many years.
The USDA has found that coconut oil repels insects better than DEET
Luckily we don't have to resort to depending on toxic insecticides to deter bugs from biting us in these summer months.
According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study, compounds derived from coconut oil repel insects better than DEET. So all we need to do is to apply some coconut oil before going out into the great wide world!
A USDA Study has confirmed that coconut oil is better than DEET for repelling insects!
The study (found here in Scientific Reports
) has identified specific coconut oil fatty acids with strong repellent components, providing long-lasting effectiveness against disease-transmitting insects like mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies and bed bugs
Here is a suggested coconut oil recipe for repelling biting bugs
Using just two ingredients: coconut oil and lavender essential oil
, dilute ten drops of the essential oil into four ounces of coconut oil and mix in a screw lid glass jar - to use as needed.