The latest research discovery keeps the question about how safe DEET is in the back of people’s minds.

The latest article posted September 26th discusses how DEET does not repel bugs, but it actually confuses them instead, messing with their neurons in their brain that help them identify smells.  So what does this mean for our health?

Deet remains the main ingredient in most insect repellents, but is it safe according to scientists?

The latest research has been conducted on worms identifying reactions in specific neurons carried by worms with a specific gene when introduced to DEET.  The introduction of DEET showed confusion from the worms clearly demonstrating a chemical reaction within the worm’s neurons.  This reaction was not seen in all worms, only the ones carrying a specific gene.  Worms are so small compared to humans so is there anything to be worried about similar neuron reactions in people?

An abstract released by the NCBI in 2001 shows a case analysis of toxic encephalopathy associated with DEET exposure in children.  The review clearly demonstrates a concern of toxicity applying DEET to the adolescent skin.

Additionally, since the potential toxicity of DEET is high, less toxic preparations should be probably substituted for DEET-containing repellents, whenever possible. – Briassoulis G1, Narlioglou M, Hatzis T.

Based on this information, it could be safe to say DEET may be hazardous to children’s health but what about adults?

Adults have tougher skin and years of immune system building, so the question remains, is DEET safe to use on adults?  A public notice from ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) reports information based on surveys from adult workers who did show adverse health problems linked to DEET exposure.  The surveys were analyzed and did show the severity of health-related adverse reactions was based on the amount of exposure.  The amount of exposure depends on how much an adult applied themselves and how much contamination from the environment a person is in.

The numbers of toxicity were much smaller than children as much health-related responses are but toxicity levels were still reported.  Deet exposures can cause chest pain or wheezing, muscle cramping, skin rashes and blisters, dizziness, and disorientation in adults although reports indicated the amount of these exposures to be quite low.

The amount of research on health effects from DEET are minimal and does appear to need more attention.  During mosquito season, repellents containing DEET are often sold out quickly.  From the research and warnings from scientists, it appears to be worth questioning the safety of DEET.  Is there a substitution for bug repellent that might be safer?

What are some safer alternatives to bug repellent containing DEET?

The use of bug repellent containing DEET may still be relatively safe depending on the amount of exposure and age, but there may be some healthier alternatives worth trying to reduce the risk of toxicity.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our Affiliate Disclosure here.

BugMace is an All natural organic bug repellent safe for babies, kids, adults, and the environment offered on Amazon Prime for a decent price with many high rating reviews.  Its formula includes essential oils and powerful plant-based ingredients claiming it is the Original Safari Strength natural mosquito and other insects repellent.  It is DEET free, contains no harsh chemicals, and 100% organic.

People who are interested in essential oils as alternative methods can create their own DIY insect repellent and learn about other reasons to use essential oils to their benefit.

Please do let us know your experience with DEET containing bug repellent and your experience with alternative methods to insect repellent.  Comment and share this information with family and friends to educate on the risks involved with DEET containing bug repellents.