Warm weather means bugs, in your house, and in your yard, at the park, or at any other outdoor activity you may have planned. If you’ve recently reached for a can of insect repellent, you may have wondered if the products you’re using actually work. Sadly, the labeling approved by the Environmental Protection Agency is often misleading and you may be using a product that won’t do its intended job. With West Nile Virus on the rise, it is important to find out what products will protect you and your family.
Many products are labeled “EPA Approved,” but this term can be misleading. While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does regulate that all insect repellents and pesticides sold within the United States, it has exempted 31 pesticide ingredients from the requirement of registering.
These exempted pesticide ingredients are mostly food and essential oils that the EPA says are “demonstrably safe for the intended use.” They include citronella, cloves and mint.
If a repellent contains only these exempted ingredients, the EPA doesn’t require safety date for the product. At the same time, the EPA doesn’t require efficacy data either. So, a product using the label “EPA Approved” may simply mean all its pesticide ingredients are among the exempted ingredients. It does not indicate an endorsement from the EPA that the product works.
To ensure your insect repellent works, select a product containing DEET. This ingredient was developed by the U.S. Army in 1946 and it became commercially available in 1957. There is decades’ long research on this product showing that it is both safe and effective. The EPA confirmed the safety of DEET in 1998, and there are other studies showing that it is safe if used according to label instructions. Effective alternatives to DEET are also available.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, New Mexico had 47 cases of West Nile Virus in 2012, with 1 case resulting in death. For tips on preventing West Nile Virus, please visit the CDC website.
Tags: DEET, Insect Repellent, Mosquito bites, Mosquito control, Mosquito repellent, mosquitos, New Mexico, Pest Control, Pest Control Companies, West Nile Virus