The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
6 Things You Should Know About Bug Repellent
By Cassidy Randall, MADE SAFE
A new report from Made Safe, Bug Repellent: What's In It?, examines common active ingredients in conventional insect repellent and their impacts to human health and the environment, as well as more natural options.
There have been studies regarding the efficacy of some repellent chemicals individually. But researchers have yet to fully understand exactly how each chemical repels insects and how they may affect our bodies and the environment, let alone what the impact may be of the myriad ingredients in combination. Made Safe sees this as a call for total mixture testing, taking into account real world exposures and usage to more fully understand potential toxicity.
Here are highlights from the report:
1. Insect repellents are made up of two types of ingredients.
- Active ingredient are the active repelling chemicals and must appear on the label.
- Inert ingredients, which are everything else in the products and can be all kinds of things from solvents and preservatives to anti-caking or foaming agents and fragrance and are not listed on the label.
2. Some common active ingredients are chemicals of concern:
- DEET: linked to skin irritation, neurotoxicity and shown to cross the placenta. Shows up in groundwater, surface water and drinking water.
- Cyfluthrin: linked to neurotoxicity and harmful to aquatic invertebrates, fish and honeybees.
- Permethrin: linked to neurotoxicity and harmful to aquatic invertebrates, fish and honeybees.
- Pyrethroids: a class of chemicals linked to neurotoxicty; some have been linked to endocrine disruption; some have been classified as possible carcinogens.
Read more on chemicals of concern in bug repellent.
3. Some inert ingredients can be harmful, too:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved approximately 3,000 chemicals as inert ingredients, including some that are harmful chemicals like naphthalene (linked to cancer), xylene (linked to depression of the nervous system) and triethanolamine (linked to respiratory problems and liver and bladder cancer in animal studies).
4. Some plants have pharmacological and biological properties that make plant extracts effective insect repellent, including:
- clove oil
- lemon eucalyptus
Read more on plant-based alternatives and other tips to keep bugs at bay.
5. MADE SAFE has certified the first-ever bug repellent made entirely with safe ingredients:
6. Choose the repellent that's right for your needs:
Knowing your area and if you are at risk for a mosquito-borne or tick-borne illness can help you make the right bug repellent choice for you and your family. Go to Consumer Reports' Guide to Mosquito and Tick Diseases for information for your area.
With the rise of Zika virus and concern for other mosquito-borne diseases, Made Safe recognizes there is a time and place for the use of bug repellant products that would not pass our screening process. We urge people to become informed and stay on top of advice from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
MADE SAFE (Made With Safe Ingredients) is America's first certification to screen out known toxic chemicals in consumer products across store aisles, from baby bottles and bedding to personal care, cleaners and more.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."