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DEET vs. All-Natural Insect Repellents

DEET vs. All-Natural Insect Repellents

We’ve all heard of DEET. It’s the active ingredient in many insect repellents, and it comes in a range of sprays and gels that are applied directly to skin to ward off insects. DEET is the commonly used name for the chemical known as N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (try saying that three times fast) which is classified by the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry as a “halogenated pesticide.”

DEET was developed by the U.S. Army in 1946 for use by the military in insect-infested areas and became available to the general public in 1957. Over time, consumers have raised concerns about DEET, particularly whether it’s safe to apply to skin and whether it’s OK for kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics is one group that has recommended exercising caution when applying DEET to children. DEET is not biodegradable and not safe for the environment. And anyone who’s had to hold their breath while spraying DEET all over themselves has been left wondering if there’s anything better out there.

All-natural insect repellents like Not In My Backyard®, being released from The Companion Group in spring 2017, are a safe and effective alternative to DEET. Not In My Backyard® products are all-natural, biodegradable and made of a proprietary mix of 100% essential oils, including geraniol, eucalyptus, and lemongrass, which minimizes health risks to consumers and their families.

One of the active ingredients in Not In My Backyard® products comes from a familiar plant that appears in backyards and window boxes around the country -- the geranium. A researcher at the University of Florida studied geraniol (derived from geraniums) for 15 years and found it effective in protecting people from a range of insects. Geraniol has a high vapor pressure, which means it gives off vapor into the surrounding air – keeping bugs away from a meal on the patio or an evening backyard gathering.

Eucalyptus plants thrive in more far-flung parts of the world, like Australia, where they’re a core part of the koala bear diet. A koala bear munching on eucalyptus is a common sight in zoos and wildlife preserves in Australia. Lesser known is that the oil derived from eucalyptus plants is also a powerful deterrent to insects. Eucalyptus oil is even recommended by the Center for Disease Control as just as effective as DEET. That’s why eucalyptus oil makes up 45% of active ingredients in several Not In My Backyard® products, including the Tabletop Diffuser Lantern, the Silicone Wristband, the Go Anywhere Silicone Clip, and the Fabric Wearable Band.

Oils derived from five more plants round out the active ingredients for Not In My Backyard® repellents: citronella, lemon, lemongrass, lavender and peppermint. These oils add insect-repelling boost while also being gentle and safe for kids and adults. Citronella oil works by masking scents that are attractive to insects, making it harder for them to find their targets. Lavender and peppermint deter insects while also emitting a soothing smell – hard to find in a chemical compound like DEET.

Not In My Backyard® products are effective on their own or complementing each other. If hiking, wear a Silicone Wristband and throw a Go Anywhere Silicone Clip on a backpack. A Fabric Wearable Band can be combined with a Tabletop Diffuser Lantern and some Citronella Sticks for a backyard dinner. The Filled Galvanized Pails with Essential Oils and Outdoor Tealights with Essential Oils are perfect for patios, backyard cookouts, and poolside lounging. All these products require absolutely no direct contact between skin and active ingredients, so there’s no need to tolerate a spray or gel with a funky smell. Whichever products are chosen, they’ll create a safe outdoor experience for the entire family – free of harsh chemicals, sticky pesticides and concerns about health.