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What are the risks and benefits of using insect repellents t

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Elsa of Arendelle

on 25 November 2013

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Transcript of What are the risks and benefits of using insect repellents t

Relating Science to Technology, Science and the Environment

Do the risks outweigh the benefits?
Yes.
Here are some risks of using DEET:
In Conclusion....
No, the risks do not outweigh the benefits with respect to insect transmitted diseases. Although it seems that there are more risks than benefits to the use of DEET - containing products, things like skin irritation or swelling just cannot compare to diseases like the West Nile Virus or Malaria. As long as directions are followed, DEET is a reliable, well researched, and effective way to repel pests and prevent disease.
What is DEET?
Here are some alternatives to DEET:
By: Jerome and Derick
DEET, or N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide is a slightly yellow oil that is a common active ingredient in insect repellents that was developed by the U.S. Army in 1946 (to assist in jungle warfare). It was later registered for general public use in 1957. When sprayed onto the skin or onto clothing, it provides protection against mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and many other biting insects.
Repellents with DEET are used by well over 200 million people in North America annually.
The structure and formula of a DEET molecule.
What are the risks and benefits of using insect repellents that contain DEET? Do the risks outweigh the benefits with respect to preventing insect transmitted diseases?
What are some products that contain DEET?
No.
Here are some benefits of DEET:
Irritates eyes
Can cause skin irritation after prolonged use.
Known to cause rashes and swelling.
Known to affect the central nervous system, causing disorientation, uncoordinated muscles, difficulty in sleep, confusion, seizures and even death.
Can dissolve plastics.
Poisonous to fish such as trout and tilapia, zooplankton, and some birds.
C H NO
12 17
Products with higher concentrations of DEET last longer. 7% - 10% last 2 - 3 hours. 20% - 30% last all day.
Picaridin
An alternative developed by Bayer AG in the 1980s, and has been selling in the U.S. since 2005. Picaridin is not known to irritate the skin or eyes, does not have a strong odor like DEET, and does not dissolve plastics. Picaridin also does not carry the same neurotoxicity concerns as DEET, but it has not been tested as much over the long term. This is a good alternative with many of the same advantages, but not as many disadvantages.
Natural Oils (Citronella, Soybean, Peppermint, Cedar, Lemongrass, etc.)
A more natural alternative that has a weaker scent. It does not irritate the skin and will not damage clothes. A good alternative for those who like to stay au naturel.
Here are some insect-transmitted diseases (ITDs):
Lyme disease (ticks)
Malaria (mosquitoes)
Plague (fleas)
Yellow fever (mosquitoes)
West Nile Virus (mosquitoes)
Encephalitis (mosquitoes)
IR3535
Also known as 3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid is another alternative for DEET that is popular in Europe. Besides eye irritation, no major reports of health problems are known. IR3535, like DEET can also dissolve plastic. It is a good alternative as it has many of the same benefits, with fewer risks.

Lyme Disease
A disease spread by ticks that affects the skin, heart, joints and nervous system. Lyme disease is treatable, however, if not treated immediately, joints can become severely swollen, skin will become discoloured, one may experience dementia and heart failure can also develop.
West Nile Virus
A mosquito borne disease that does not have a known cure. It originated in the West Nile region in East Africa, but can now be found in Asia, Australia, the middle East, Europe and North America. In 2012, 286 people were killed because of West Nile Virus in the U.S.
Effectively repels pests like mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other biting insects.
By repelling these insects, DEET effectively prevents the contraction of diseases carried by these insects.
Malaria
A mosquito transmitted disease that is found in subtropical regions. Although not found in North America, over 3.3 billion people are at risk of contracting malaria worldwide. In 2010, malaria killed anywhere between 660 000 - 1.2 million people worldwide. Although treatable, many people do not have access to medicine, making prevention a more effective way to reduce infection and death.
How does it work?
At first, DEET was believed to work by blocking insect olfactory receptors (nerves that are responsible for the detection of odor molecules). However, more recent evidence shows that DEET actually repels insects in the sense that mosquitoes and other pests intensely dislike the smell of the chemical repellent.
Let's Compare:
Cons:
Skin and eye irritation.
Rashes and swelling.
Can affect the central nervous system, causing disorientation, uncoordinated muscles, difficulty in sleep, confusion, seizures and even death.
Can dissolve plastics.
Poisonous to fish such as trout and tilapia, zooplankton, and some birds.
Pros:
Prevention of diseases like:
Lyme disease
Malaria
Plague
Yellow fever
West Nile Virus
Encephalitis
So what's worse?
ITDs > skin and eye irritations
ITDs > rashes and swelling
ITDs > Possible malfunction of the central nervous system, causing disorientation, uncoordinated muscles, difficulty in sleep, confusion, seizures and even death.
ITDs > the ability to dissolve plastic
ITDs > DEET's toxicity to fish such as trout and tilapia, zooplankton, and some birds.
Full transcript