Is insect repellent really up to scratch?
With bug-biting season in full swing, there's good reason to be bugged by insect repellents.
Consumers must weigh the risks of getting a bite with the risks of chemicals engineered to keep them away — and there's no completely safe and sure way to prevent bites.
But some repellents are effective and low in toxicity, as long as users follow directions, especially for children, says a new guide by the Environmental Working Group, an environmental advocacy nonprofit.
The report -— a collection of data from the Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — identifies four active ingredients that can provide safe and effective protection: Picaridin, DEET, IR3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus. The report says:
• Skip products with more than 30 percent DEET, and avoid any repellent on kids under 6 months, the report says. Higher concentrations protect longer, not better.
• Bug zappers, foggers, candles and aerosol sprays can trigger respiratory problems and contain toxic ingredients, and they may not be effective, studies show.
• Experts expect the number of insect-borne illnesses to rise as the warming climate expands the habitats of species that spread pathogens.
Aside from repellents, the report advises these precautions: Cover exposed skin with pants, long sleeves, socks and shoes; use mosquito netting; and get rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Are our chairs killing us? Get up and get moving, scientist urges
- How to keep feet healthy during pedicure season