5 NOV 2015 / LEARN

Hidden chemicals in mosquito repellent

This time of year heralds the return of The Great Aussie Salute. The famous hand swish that brushes away annoying flies and mosquitos as we enjoy the return of the warmer weather. Many of us turn to fly spray to rid homes, barbecues, outdoor parties and sports events of these insects but have we considered the potential harm in these insecticides?

The active ingredient in many of these convenient sprays is Deet (N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide). While there is no doubt that this is effective as an insecticide, recent scientific evidence has concluded that it could be harmful for humans as well.

For scientific studies have found Deet to have a degree of neurotoxicity in humans. While research is continuing on exactly how much exposure causes damage to humans, it is clear that overuse of fly sprays will do more harm than good.

"We've found that deet is not simply a behaviour-modifying chemical but also inhibits the activity of a key central nervous system enzyme, acetylcholinesterase, in both insects and mammals," said a recent study undertaken by the Institut de Recherche pour le Development in Montpellier and published in BioMed Central Biology.

Deet is the most popular insecticide with over 200 million users of the chemical throughout the world. A phenomenal estimated eight billion doses have been applied since its introduction as a pesticide in 1957.

However with question marks over its effect on the health of humans, particularly the more vulnerable, such as babies and young children, it makes great sense to avoid chemicals where possible.

The answer is to switch to organic insect sprays, those that use natural ingredients to remove those annoying (and disease-carrying) insects without the neurotoxicity.

Remove The Great Aussie Salute the natural way! Try the organic and safe insect repellent alternative.

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