What's the Best Insect Repellent? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/3/02

What's the Best Insect Repellent?

Worldwide mosquitoes transmit diseases to 700 million people a year. Even in the United States, various forms of mosquito-borne Encephalitis show up from time to time. So, as you plan your outside activities this holiday, do you have a can of "Off, Deep Woods" close by?

A new study has decided that is the longest working mosquito fighter and it is important to note that the study was not paid for by any bug spray company. Instead, it was funded by the state of Florida and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Researchers tested 16 repellents containing the chemical deet or plant based ingredients. It was literally a hands on experiment.

"It's working well. They're not getting anywhere near me," says one researcher.

The researchers decided these are the top bug fighters: "Off! Deep Woods," which contains more than 23% of the chemical, kept mosquitoes away for an average of five hours. But the study says deet wristbands were not as effective as the spray.

The newer oil of eucalyptus repellents "Fite Bite" and "Repel" lasted an average of two hours. "Bite blocker" for kids, which contains 2% soybean oil, lasted about an hour and a half. Various "Skin-so-Soft" products, including those containing either the chemical IR3535 or plant based citronella kept the biting bugs away for less than 20 minutes.

Also, the North Carolina researchers say the worries over the safety of deet have been exaggerated. That in the 45 years this product has been on the market, there have been fewer than 50 cases of significant toxicity. Mostly from people who used enormous amounts for a long time. The bottom line that until a better repellent becomes available, deet-based repellents remain the gold standard of protection. The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Research was conducted at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

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