By FoodTrients Chances are, if you’ve used bug spray, you’ve probably applied DEET. “DEET is the most widely used insect repellent in the U.S. and is the leading ingredient in most conventional bug repellents,” says Lori Alper, founder of natural lifestyle blog Groovy Green Livin.
So is it dangerous? Not when used properly, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency. “The tricky part is following the directions,” says Alper. “Most of us don’t, and we end up applying too much and leaving it on our skin for far too long. DEET then becomes highly toxic.”
According to the EWG, one common mistake leading to overexposure is using a sunscreen that also contains a chemical bug repellent. Two-hour reapplication (as you should do for sunscreen) can lead to overexposure to chemicals like DEET. So use both a mineral-based sunscreen and an effective bug repellent, but as separate products.
Another consideration: The environment. Alper notes that in addition to physical concerns, “DEET is also toxic to birds, animals and aquatic life.”
Natural insect protection that works
When it comes to “natural” bug repellents, the EWG’s Advice for Avoiding Bug Bites offers the simple—and most natural of …read more