Remind me why DEET is bad... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 07-06-2007, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm currently in a debate with my MIL as to why DEET is bad, and why I don't want it near my kids. I recall it having to do with something along the lines of causing neurological problems, but I can't remember what the specifics are. She's a nurse, but has been behind a desk for almost 20 years, and her actual medical knowledge is medieval at best. She once applied straight bleach to my husband's severe and open wounded poison ivy. : Anyway, while she (grudgingly) adheres to my direction that they're not to be sprayed/rubbed with anything containing DEET, it's been an ongoing argument, and I'd like to lay down some hard facts and basically end the conversation about it.

jamie. crinkly (not quite crunchy) mama to 4 amazing girls, an awesome little boy, and a little surprise making a debut this winter.
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#2 of 3 Old 07-06-2007, 05:31 PM
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Look at this.
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#3 of 3 Old 07-06-2007, 05:52 PM
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Basically, it's a poison. It's a poison to insects (which is why they won't bite you if it's on your skin) and it's a poison to humans. Specifically, it's a neruotoxin- it damages nerve and brain cells. It "confuses" insects into thinking you're not food by messing with their neurons- they can't smell or taste you. This same drug, absorbed into a child's body, can damage a growing brain.

Chemicals can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin- look at all the new medicines suddenly becoming available in patches. Plus, children are far more likely than adults to ingest things that are intended to be topical. Do you REALLY trust a small child to not scratch her DEET-coated arm, then put her fingers in her mouth?

The safer alternatives are simply strong-smelling oils. They confuse insects' taste and smell sensors by overwhelming them with a different scent and bitter flavor- not by damaging their neurons.

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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