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Is Your Insect Repellant Safe?

Over 200 million people worldwide use insect repellants containing DEET but recent research from France found that the chemical may be toxic to the central nervous system.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in Montpellier and the University of Angers, France, was published online on August, 5 in the journal BMC Biology.

The researchers found that DEET inhibits the activity of an important central nervous system enzyme called acetycholinesterase in both insects and mice.

They also found that other insecticides in many bug sprays employ a similar mechanism and when combined with DEET, the toxicity of these chemicals increased dramatically.

The researchers acknowledge that more studies need to be done before any solid conclusions about the effects of DEET can be made but these findings still clearly highlight the necessity of developing safer and healthier insect repellants.

There are a lot of insect repellents currently on the market that do not use DEET, some of which have been shown to be as effective as DEET products. Until further research is done on DEET and the central nervous system, consumers have to weigh the pros and cons of using DEET for themselves.

Here are a few simple precautions that can help you avoid health risks when using any type of insect repellent:

Do not apply over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.

Do not apply to hands or near eyes and mouth of young children.

Do not allow young children to apply this product.

When using on children, apply to your own hands and then put it on the child.

Do not spray in closed areas. Avoid breathing repellent spray

Do not use near food.

Do not use under clothing.

Avoid over-application of the product.

After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.

Wash treated clothing before wearing it again.

Wash hands after application.

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