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Next Generation of Bug Repellants Needs To Be Safer

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 8:09 AM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Toxic Substances, West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease

Univrsity of Florida researchers found bug repellants that last up to 73 days.



IMAGE SOURCE: WikiMedia Commons/ biting mosquito/ U.S. Dept. of Agriculture


Imagine using a bug spray that lasts all of July and August? 

Researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville have found mosquito repellants that last more than three times longer than the current standard DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) and may be safer. 

To keep bugs from biting up to 73 days, Alan Katritzky at the University used software to predict how certain compounds in pepper could keep insects at bay.  

N-acylpiperidines are similar to the active ingredient in green peppers.  To test the compounds, two volunteers plunged their gloved arms into a cage with 500 mosquitoes.

Their arms were covered with a standard amount of each compound. Observing how long it would take for mosquitoes to begin feeding, the researchers found that those with acylpiperidines were equal or better than DEET in repelling mosquitos for up to 73 days when compared to DEET at 17.5 days.  That means you don’t have to apply them as frequently.

Big sprays are important to protect against biting insects and ticks that can spread West Nile virus, malaria, Lyme disease, encephalitis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and dengue Fever.  

These new versions of bug repellants are not expected on the market for several years as safety tests are just underway this summer.  The research is funded by the Defense Department.

DEET, originally developed for the military use in jungle warfare in 1946, was used on civilians in 1957 and is controversial. 

Some people don’t like its odor and the Environmental Protection Agency says DEET has been linked to seizures in children. Its use is not advised for children under two months of age and pregnant women. Manufacturers advise against using DEET under clothing or on broken skin.

It is found to have toxicity to coldwater fish such as rainbow trout and tilapia.

The research is published in Tuesday’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  #

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