Good morning, Good Night & All Points in Between,
Sweet, sweet summer – how we have missed you! But whoever referred to “the lazy days of summer” must not have faced acres of unruly plants, juggled playdates amidst summer camps, or cleaned muddy pawprint after muddy pawprint from the kitchen floor after multiple visits to the creek. So, while essential oils can support all facets of this active time of year (from gardening to emotional support, from our furry family to green cleaning), this month’s blog is going to focus on one main topic: insect repellent.
The enjoyment of longer days often brings some undesirable visitors to our campfires and cookouts. As the pests invade, many head to find the long forgotten, often chemical based repellants in the hopes of deterring unwanted guests. Yet there are many safety concerns related to both human and environmental health with the use of synthetic chemicals to control insects (Bug Repellent: What’s In it?). Commercial bug repellants are comprised of active ingredients, which are required on the labeling, as well as inert ingredients (such as fragrance, preservatives, and solvents), which are not required to be listed. While some studies have been done regarding the efficacy of bug repellants, studies have NOT been carried out to fully understand exactly how each chemical repels insects and more importantly, how they may affect our bodies and the environment, let alone what the impact may be of the myriad ingredients in combination (Environmental Health Perspectives). Federal law protects companies’ rights to keep inert ingredients confidential because they are considered trade secrets. This can result in chemicals of concern finding their way into bug sprays and ultimately into our bodies.
Going back to April’s Blog, it is imperative to remember that what we put ON our bodies goes IN to our bodies. The United States regulates insect repellants as pesticides because the active ingredients in those repellants ARE pesticides. There is growing evidence that pesticide exposure is linked to a number of diseases including asthma, cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and more (Beyond Pesticides, Disease Database).