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Mosquito Repellent Dangers

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As many of us celebrate the approach of long summer days, water parks, BBQs, and camping trips, we must also acknowledge that pesky mosquito season is nearly upon us. That means more than simple annoyance: memories of disease-carrying mosquitoes whose bite could have catastrophic effects on unborn fetuses due to West Nile Virus are not that far away. This year, a new danger looms: chikungunya.This mosquito-borne disease is turning up in the Caribbean, and experts predict it’s only a matter of time before we see it on the mainland United States. Symptoms of the disease include degenerative arthritis. The dangers associated with mosquito bites cannot be underscored. However, are there also serious hazards in using chemical repellents?

Who’s at Risk for Bites?

 According to scientists, mosquitoes scout out victims based on a number of factors, including:

  • Blood type: Type O seems to be the favorite, followed by type B and then type A;
  • Blood type secretors: Roughly 85 percent of the population actually secrete a chemical that alerts mosquitos to their blood type, making them especially desirable to the blood-suckers;
  • Carbon dioxide: Those who expel more of this gas (generally larger people) are more palatable;
  • Metabolism: Under exertion, the body produces more lactic acid, drawing more mosquitoes;
  • Certain bacteria: Some skin bacteria attracts mosquitoes, while others repel them.
  • Alcohol: Though it’s not clear why, alcohol consumption draws the critters;
  • Colors: Dark blue, black and red seem to draw the bugs’ attention,

 Dangerous Products Being Used

 In fact, somewhere between five and seven million pounds of insect repellent is applied to anxious mosquito-haters in this country annually. While studies indicate that minimal use of repellant products is relatively safe, those who use it frequently risk some pretty unfortunate consequences.

 DEET and other Dangerous Repellents

 Here’s what many people may not know about the ingredients found in many over-the-counter sprays designed to repel insects:

  • The toxic chemicals can melt plastic;
  • Exposure to DEET (an active ingredient in repellent) over a period of time might impact the function of some brain cells;
  • Permethrin (another active ingredient) exposure may be fatal for bees, cats, and aquatic life;
  • The Environmental Protection Agency lists Permethrin as a carcinogenic agent, connected to:
    • Liver tumors;
    • Lung cancer;
    • Problems with the immune system;
    • Damage to the nervous system;
    • Abnormal chromosomes.

While it is prudent for everyone to limit exposure to the dangerous toxins, children and pregnant women are particularly susceptible to problems.

Alternatives to Prevent Bug Bites

 There are plenty of natural products on the market claiming to effectively deter mosquitoes and other unpleasant biters. Some of the most popular include:

  • Citronella;
  • Soybean oil;
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus.

While some of the products do not have the long-lasting effects of DEET and require reapplication, they are definitely kinder to your body long-term.

Safety in the Summer Months

 At the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton, we hope every Floridian experiences the joys of summer without the angst associated with serious injuries or harm. In the event you or a loved one falls prey to dangerous products, hazardous conditions, or negligence that results in serious injury, our experienced legal team is here to help you pick up the pieces. While you fight the fight to recover, let us handle your legal concerns. Contact our Daytona & Ormond Beach offices for a confidential consultation today.

Resources:

washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/chemical-based-insect-repellents-work-but-you-may-want-to-try-safer-alternatives/2014/06/23/e676875c-d789-11e3-95d3-3bcd77cd4e11_story.html?utm_term=.5bb998dfc103

smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-do-mosquitoes-bite-some-people-more-than-others-10255934/