What is so bad about DEET?

What is so bad about DEET?

DEET is one of the few chemicals approved by the EPA as an effective mosquito repellent. DEET is the key ingredient in many of the most popular sprays, such as, OFF and Cutter. Over the years many have used DEET products and have experienced numerous side effects. The EPA continues to claim it is very safe, when used as directed.


OK then what is so bad about using products that contain DEET?

Deet is absorbed quickly through the skin and is absorbed even faster when mixed with some sunscreens and chemicals.

Large doses of DEET have been linked to skin blisters, seizures, memory loss, headaches, stiffness in joints, shortness of breath and skin irritation. DEET is a documented neurotoxin, meaning it can negatively impact the nervous system. When mixed with permethrin, another pesticide, animal studies show the mixture can cause the death of neurons in the brain, and diseases in the offspring of exposed adults.

In the environment, DEET breaks down slowly in soil and extremely slow in sediment, meaning it sticks around longer than it should. DEET has been detected in groundwater, surface water, and drinking water. DEET is somewhat toxic to some aquatic life.


DEET can also find its way into the bloodstream.

·    Skin Absorption – DEET-containing products are usually applied topically – directly on the skin. After being applied, DEET is found in the blood for up to 12 hours. Greater quantities of this chemical are absorbed when it is in a product containing alcohol or when it is combined with a sunscreen.

·    Inhalation – DEET can be unintentionally inhaled when insect-repelling sprays are used, especially when applied in indoor spaces where the vapors can linger.

·    Ingestion – Although no one purposefully ingests mosquito repellent, accidental ingestion occurs easily when hands are not washed thoroughly after using DEET on the skin.

Regardless of its ability to gain entry into the bloodstream, DEET-based insect repellents represent big business. However, even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hints at DEET’s toxicity. According to the EPA, DEET should not be used frequently. Confirming the need for caution, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one application of DEET per day for children. These positions assume that a person’s liver is functioning at 100 percent. Because of the variety of ways DEET can gain access to the bloodstream, those with chronic liver disease are urged to find alternative ways to repel mosquitoes.

A healthy alternative to DEET is to use a Natural Spray. One of the best products currently available is PESKY® Bug Away. It contains a proprietary blend of botanical ingredients clinically proven to keep away biting insects. The formulation was developed from a recipe found in the mountains of Coamo, Puerto Rico. After much research and testing the formula has been proven effective against, mosquitos, no see ums, gnats, ticks, fire ants, hornets, biting flies, chiggers, and many other insects