Even though its application is associated with multiple neurological symptoms and toxic effects in both humans and animals, DEET – or N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide – continues to be a common ingredient in standard, drugstore insect repellents. DEET was also found in 74 percent of stream samples taken by the US Geological Survey between 1999 and 2000, and it's now listed as one of the top five contaminants of US streams.
Even if you haven't gotten blisters or rashes, suffered a seizure, or died after dermal exposure to insect repellent that contains DEET (or known any freshwater fish that have), do you really want to smear a registered pesticide all over your skin – where it will be absorbed into the bloodstream? If you've read our article on organic pest control, you know that pesticides can cause innumerable problems for the environment as well as for human and animal health. Because mosquito bites are usually more of a nuisance than a serious health risk, it just makes more sense to use a less threatening, botanical based, DEET-free repellent.
NATURAL INSECT REPELLENTS:
BiteBlocker (BiteBlocker.com) – Rivaling DEET in terms of effectiveness, according to the New England Journal of Medicine , this repellent contains natural, mostly food-grade ingredients such as coconut, soybean, and geranium oils. According to its website, “BiteBlocker is regarded as the safest product on the market that works.”
EcoSMART Insect Repellent (EcoSmart.com) – Uses an all-natural formula of organic plant oils like rosemary, cinnamon leaf, lemongrass, and wintergreen to repel mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, and other annoying pests for 2-3 hours.
Repel's Lemon Eucalyptus Spray (REI.com) – Found by Consumer Reports to perform even better than DEET, this plant-based insect protection contains 40 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus and repels mosquitoes, sand flies, ticks, midges, stable flies, and more for up to 6 hours.
All Terrain Herbal Armor Spray – Clinically proven to be 100 percent effective for more than two hours, this convenient spray formula is sweat- and water-resistant, non-greasy, and contains natural essential oils like citronella, soybean, and cedar. All Terrain also makes an herbal spray for kids
Geraniol BugBand Pump Spray and Wristbands (BugBand.net) – Effectively repels mosquitoes, ticks, flies, gnats, and other flying pests using geraniol, a natural derivative of geranium oil. In addition to being alcohol-free, this spray lotion formula moisturizes skin as it protects.
Bug Bam Wristbands (BugBam.com) – A wristband that emits natural vapors that form a protective shield around the immediate area for up to 120 hours. Not only is the wristband effective during all outdoor activities, including swimming, it does so without the mess of sprays and lotions.
Brittanie's Thyme Organic Bug Spray (BrittaniesThyme.com) – A safe and effective USDA Certified Organic bug spray that has a pleasing aroma and is derived from such essential oils as clove, eucalyptus, and tea tree.
Badger Anti-Bug Balm – A 100 percent USDA Certified Organic and all-natural anti-bug balm that contains beeswax and extra virgin olive oil, as well as several essential oils.
TerraShield Essential Oil Blend – A Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) blend of 15 essential oils that are proven to be more effectively repel biting insects than synthetic repellants and provide coverage for up to 6 hours.
Loving Naturals Organic DEET Free Insect Repellent – Not only is this insect repellent 100 percent natural, organic, and DEET-free, it's quick-drying, non-sticky, and great for those with sensitive skin.