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Forget Natural When It Comes to Insect Repellents

Man spraying arm with insect repellent
Courtesy Consumer Reports via YouTube

My mom swore by citronella candles for keeping “skeeters” at bay. We decided that the “skeeters” must have found us more tasty than Mom, because they fought their way through her citronella fog to chew on us.

As for the bites she got? They must have been perpetrated by mosquitoes unaware of the magic of citronella. Millions of citronella products are still sold every year, which I think is a tribute to the advertising skill of their manufacturers, or people just like my mother!

The truth about citronella and several other basically useless insect repellent products has been revealed by Consumer Reports. The same people who told us which products do work against disease-spreading insects.

The news is also bad for people who desire to “go natural” with their insect repellents.

Natural repellents are regulated differently than other repellent products. Because the EPA deems the chemicals they contain harmless, the agency does not evaluate them for effectiveness. Because of that loophole, companies that sell those repellents don’t have to prove that they actually work. And our testing indicates that, in fact, they don’t.”

Consumer Reports testing indicates you should also skip those wristband thingies, (useless) ultra-sonic devices (in some cases, actually attract mosquitoes) and sadly, those clip-on fan devices, like the Off! Clip-On I’ve been using for years.

Apparently it emits the chemical metofluthrin which is “classified by the EPA as a neurotoxin and as a potential carcinogen.” Great, I’ve been letting this thing blow in my face for at least 5 summers now!

For more detailed information, go to Consumer Reports online.

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Source: Consumer Reports


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