Bug Spray is TOXIC to Brain Cells (make your own)

| Apr 16, 2016


If you’ve read some of our past articles, you know that we’re big fans of DIY products for care of health and home.

Some of the most worrisome toxins that make their way into our bodies are found in the products that we willingly purchase— toxic deodorants, endocrine-disrupting cleaning products, cancer-causing sunscreens, skin moisturizers, plastic-filled shampoos, and all sorts of noxious cosmetics.

And all these dangers to your health can be replaced by affordable, easy-to-make, non-toxic alternatives that are just as effective as their poisonous counterparts.

As the weather gets warmer, another prevalent toxin source begins to rear its head—store-bought bug spray. We know how difficult it can be to forego insect repellent, especially if you leave in a particularly humid or otherwise bug-ridden area.

But here’s the unfortunate truth: the convenience of these bug sprays that we slather on our skin just aren’t worth their accompanying health risks.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that substances designed to kill (or at least strongly “discourage”) living beings shouldn’t really be all over our skin—one of the body’s most porous membranes, through which toxins can easily be absorbed. Once again, though, good old marketing propaganda has convinced us that everything is okay.

Luckily, you don’t have to choose between poisoning yourself or being eaten alive by insects—it’s easy to make your own non-toxic bug spray at home. We’ll go over exactly how to do so, but first, let’s dive deeper into why you too should be repelled by conventional insect repellent.

Bug spray poisons

One of the most commonly used “active ingredients” in conventional bug sprays is N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, or DEET. This burly chemical has become synonymous with ultra-effective insect repellent—a must-have for any wilderness excursion or extended time spent in mosquito-infested locales.

But here’s what the bug spray companies don’t tell you: DEET causes a variety of skin problems (even when used sparingly), including redness, irritation, blistering, burning, and even permanent scarring).

Over time, it can wreak havoc upon every aspect of your health, causing “side effects” like insomnia, mood changes, stomach issues, vomiting, low blood pressure, low heart rate, and neurological damages that can lead to extreme disorientation, seizures, and death.[1]

In fact, scientists writing in the open access journal BMC Biology say that more studies should be done to confirm DEET’s potential neurotoxicity to humans.  They suspect that the potential brain cell damaging effects of DEET could be particularly harmful if used in combination with other neurotoxic insecticides. And that’s exactly the way DEET is normally used in products applied to both adults and kids in order to prevent mosquito bites.

Advocates argue that using DEET can prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, West Nile virus, dengue fever, and now Zika virus…but all those health risks listed above seem like a hefty trade-off even for disease prevention.

Even “DEET-free” bug sprays contain chemicals called pyrethrins. While arguably less toxic than DEET, pyrethrins can still cause breathing difficulties, coughing, upset stomach, vomiting, oxygen level imbalance (leading to disorientation and immunosuppression), as well as tremors and seizures if swallowed.[2]

Insect repellent manufacturers obviously maintain that their products pose no danger. Then again, so did the manufacturers of DDT (as well as every other “civically useful” chemical, from asbestos and PCB’s to glyphosate and fluoride). Remember those videos from the 1950’s showing public places (including swimming pools and cafeterias filled with children) being heavily sprayed with DDT?

And if you think that industrial authorities have gotten wiser and more cautious over the years, get this: Zika virus fear-mongerers are now calling for the widespread revival of DDT spraying—despite the chemical’s well-established link with increased disease rates, wildlife deaths, and environmental despoliation.[3]

Don’t fall for bug spray manufacturers’ justifications and lies. Instead…

…make your own!

Creating your own non-toxic (and highly effective) bug spray at home is as easy as mixing up a few easily sourced, natural ingredients. Once you have your ingredients on hand, making a batch literally takes less time than a trip to the store for packaged bug spray.

Here’s what you’ll want to gather…

Witch hazel. Produced from a flowering shrub, this natural product makes an excellent base for DIY bug sprays. It’s naturally anti-inflammatory and astringent, so it heals and revives the skin while working to keep insects at bay (an added benefit that’s far removed from the skin-destroying properties of DEET and pyrethrins).

Essential oils. These are the magic ingredients; their strong scent and volatile components work wonders for keeping bugs away. The most effective ones are citronella, mint, clove, sage, thyme, rosemary, tea tree, cajeput, eucalyptus, cedar, pine, catnip, lemongrass, lavender, and rose. All of these oils are safe to put on the skin in reasonable concentrations, but be sure to check for allergies first. If you’re concerned, simply use a lower concentration or put the concoction on your clothes instead of directly on the skin.

If you want to get fancy, you can even make your own herbal decoctions by soaking dried herbs and then adding a bit of rubbing alcohol. If you take this route, adding tobacco leaves can supercharge your bug spray (tobacco’s constituents are fantastic insect repellents—I even plant tobacco plants in my garden to keep bugs away).

Mix your ingredients into distilled or boiled water (to ensure sterility), and add a bit of vegetable glycerin if you’d like your solution to be a bit thicker. For serious bug control, add apple cider vinegar to your blend (with or without the dried herbal concoction). For best results, apply it to the skin or clothes and take 1 tablespoon internally (a practice that would never be advisable with store-bought bug sprays).

Play with the recipe until you find the exact combination that works best for you. Apply whenever necessary—using this homemade bug spray will not only free you from bug bites, but also from the toxic effects of conventional insect repellents.



[1] https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002763.htm

[2] Ibid.

[3] https://www.statnews.com/2016/02/02/zika-revives-calls-for-ddt/

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Category: Body, Featured, Healthy Living

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