Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Did You Know ~ Bug Repellent

The Problem with Bug Spray

Childhood cancer and leukemia are on the rise, and many cases can be attributed to "environmental" causes, such as pesticides. Several studies have linked the use of bug sprays and foggers to childhood brain cancer and leukemia. As early as 1987 a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that children exposed to pesticides in home or garden are 3-6 times more likely to contract nongenetic leukemia than unexposed children, and the stats unfortunately have not changed since then. A more recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found a link between POPs (persistent organic pollutants, which include some pesticides) and diabetes, as well as the use of pesticides and Parkinson's disease. Although several other factors may contribute to these diseases, reducing substantial risk whenever possible certainly makes sense.

DEET, a widely used active ingredient in many brands of insect repellent, has been reported to be the cause of seizures, insomnia, mood disturbances and impaired cognitive function in children. Lab tests on animals at Duke University have shown that frequent and prolonged exposure to DEET causes serious brain-cell death and behavior changes. The researchers warn to "use DEET with caution, especially [on] children, who are more vulnerable to brain defects that prolonged exposure to DEET causes". If you as a parent feel uncomfortable using insect repellent on your child, there are several natural alternatives that work just as well and come without the health concerns.

Safe Alternatives

Several natural bug repellents are just as effective as repellents containing DEET. Consumer Reports noted the effectiveness of lemon eucalyptus oil as an insect repellent and Australians swear by effectiveness of tea tree oil (tea tree oil is not recommended for infants though, because it can mimic estrogen) a natural insect repellent. The main ingredients in natural bug repellents are typically citronella, soybean oil, geraniol (oil of geranium), eucalyptus, cedar, rosemary, and lemon oil.

Here is a list of several natural bug repellents. All products are free of DEET, parabens, phthalates, PEG's, Sufates, Dioxanes, Propylene Glycols, and synthetic fragrances.

Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent

  • Active Ingredients: Lemongrass Oil 3.2%, Citronella Oil .40%, Rosemary Oil .40%
  • Inert Ingredients: Grape Seed Oil, Vitamin E.
  • Skin Deep Rating: 0

Jason Quit Bugging Me!

  • 70% Certified Organic
  • Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Capylic/Capric Triglyceride, Grain Alcohol, Cymbopogon Nardus (Citronella) Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Oil, Lavebdula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Oil, Melia Azadirachta (Neem) Seed Oil, Geranium Maculatium (Geranium) Oil, Melaleura Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil.
  • Skin Deep Rating: 2

Buzz Away Extreme-Natural Insect Repellent

  • Main Ingredients: Soybean Oil, Geranium Oil, Castor Oil, Cedarwood Oil, Citronella Oil, Peppermint Oil, Lemongrass Oil
  • Skin Deep Rating: 0-1

California Baby Bug Repellent Spray

  • Ingredients: Purified water, proprietary essential oil blend, aloe vera, yucca, irish moss, arnica, calendula, nettle, gotu kola, cactus, candelilia wax, proprietary broad spectrum preservative system.
  • Skin Deep Rating: 2

Bubble and bee- Organic-Insect-Repellent

  • 100% Organic ingredients
  • Ingredients: Organic Soybean Oil, Organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Organic Lemongrass Essential Oil
    Skin Deep Rating: 0

Badger Anti-Bug Push-Up - 1.5 oz - Stick

  • Active Ingredients: *Citronella Oil (5.0%), Cedar Oil (2.0%), *Lemongrass Oil (2.0%), *Rosemary Oil (1.0%), & *Geranium Oil (1.0%).
  • Other Ingredients: *Extra Virgin Olive Oil, *Golden Yellow Beeswax, and *Castor Bean Oil.
  • * = Certified Organic
  • Skin Deep Rating: 0


Unknown said...

We love many of the products you shared Laura. I often make a mist of the oils you listed to spray around our deck when we are going to be outside and onto our clothes. Tea tree oil mixed with the others work great to keep annoying bugs away at night!

Blessings and love,

Kimberly said...

Thanks for this! I've been striving to eliminate chemicals and unnatural preservatives in our home. I just saw some natural bug repellent at the apothecary I just discovered. I didn't buy any bc I wanted to see about making some myself.
I've decided I needed to find some more natural sunscreen though as I think that's beyond my making. ;) I just bought some Burt's Bees SPF30 for us yesterday. We'll see how it works! I've not been putting on sunscreen as much as I should bc I've been grossed out by the smells and the feel and the thought that I'm just coating myself in chemicals.

Suesan said...

Can you tell me what the skin deep rating means? Thanks

Carisa said...

Skin Deep is a site that ranks the safety of ingredients in products. I will add a link to the post...

;) Carisa

Deana, TFHSM said...

We use Skin so Soft bath oil spray by Avon, not just because I'm an Avon rep, but because it works! You can also bathe in the body wash beforehand and that works too. Or, the original scent body lotion works just as well, and I like it better because the oil is a little greasy. free shipping code: FSANY if you'd like to buy some! :-)