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
Singapore will become the first country in the world to place a ban on advertisements for carbonated drinks and juices with high sugar contents, its health ministry announced last week. The law is intended to curb sugar consumption since the country has some of the world's highest diabetes rates per capita, as Reuters reported.
By Susan Cosier
First there was Fred Stone, the third-generation dairy farmer in Maine who discovered that the milk from his cows contained harmful chemicals. Then came Art Schaap, a second-generation dairy farmer in New Mexico, who had to dump 15,000 gallons of contaminated milk a day.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that that bans the sale and manufacture of fur products in the state. The fur ban, which he signed into law on Saturday, prohibits Californians from selling or making clothing, shoes or handbags with fur starting in 2023, according to the AP.
By Simon Evans
During the three months of July, August and September, renewables generated an estimated total of 29.5 terawatt hours (TWh), compared with just 29.1TWh from fossil fuels, the analysis shows.