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Toxic active ingredient in mosquito and insect repellants

With a toxic active ingredients called DEET, insect repellant is a must-have for many people during summer.

Thanks to some drought-breaking rainfall there is plenty of water laying around providing perfect breeding conditions for insects and mosquitos.

Sales of repellant products containing DEET (Diethyl-meta-toluamide) have soared, so it?s worth looking at this toxic active ingredient before we start spraying it around without some sense of caution.

Banned in Canada, the list of potential effects of DEET includes skin irritations, eye and lung irritations, and environmental hazards for aquatic life when found in waterways.

It can be harmful when swallowed so be especially careful when spraying in or around food preparation areas and also on young skins.

Insects and mosquitos can be annoying and it is worth exploring other types of natural-based repellants (such as citronella, rosemary, cedarwood) that fit for your family. Spraying on clothes rather than skin is another other way of minimising the toxic chemical load inherent in repellant products.

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world. She lives in the Yarra Valley with her partner and two young children.

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