Posted by Norman Fong, August 23rd, 2010
We recently traveled to Asia and needed to find a reliable, yet safe insect repellent or natural mosquito repellent. DEET is a strong effective repellent but looking at a toxicology report on DEET makes one squirm and the NRDC has some warnings on it. Recent research shows that DEET is a neurotoxin and could have long-term effects. Moreover, DEET may increase the toxicity of other chemicals to which people are exposed. EPA lists it in Toxicity Category III for eye, dermal and oral.
If you must use a DEET containg Insect repellant choose one containing 30% of DEET. The protection afforded by 30% is sufficient for almost all circumstances. In Canada, 30% is their legal limit.
Another alternative is Picaridin, also known around the world as KBR3023, or Bayrepel (trademark of Bayer AG). It was developed by Bayer. EPA ranks its toxicity as Toxicity Category III for acute oral and acute dermal. Toxicity Category IV for primary eye and skin irritation. Several insect repellents use this chemical.
We choose to use Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent as or Natural mosquito Repellent. Rosemary, Lemongrass, and Citronella oils mix with 5 other oils that bugs hate. The proof was that it worked well on our trip and prevents all the bug bites our fellow travelers got. Different insects work in alternate ways, so this may not be potent in other regions.