Yenra : Safety : DEET Chemical Formula Insect Repellant Kids Safety Danger Information : Basic Facts About DEET and DEET-Based Insect Repellents


DEET is the common name for N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide, which is the active ingredient in the most widely used insect repellents applied to the skin.

DEET-based products are marketed worldwide in a variety of concentrations and forms designed to protect consumers from biting insects and ticks, and the serious diseases they can carry.

In carefully controlled independent tests using mosquitoes and human subjects, as reported in the July 4, 2002 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, insect repellents containing DEET provided complete protection from bites for longer periods than other widely used repellent products. The researchers tested four consumer products containing DEET and 12 other repellent products. According to the study, "Only products containing DEET are dependable for long- lasting protection after a single application."

All DEET-based products are carefully evaluated and registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before they are marketed in this country. The EPA has determined that the use of currently registered products containing DEET, when label directions are followed, which includes all concentrations, will not pose unreasonable risks or adverse effects to humans.

DEET disrupts the ability of biting insects to detect the source of carbon dioxide - the gas naturally given off by our skin and in our breath - which is what attracts mosquitoes and other insects to us. Insects aren't killed - they just can't locate their prey for a period of hours.

The World Health Organization, U.S. Army and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are among the many organizations that recommend using DEET-based repellents in affected areas.

DEET is used by approximately 30 percent of Americans annually, averaging seven to eight applications per person. This results in more than 400 million applications of DEET annually.

The most commonly reported adverse events, which happen rarely, are skin rashes in a very small percentage of the population. These resolve quickly when the product is washed from the skin. There is no relationship between the concentration of DEET in a product and the incidence of skin rash.

No other personal insect repellent has been tested as rigorously and extensively as DEET for effective consumer use.

No direct link between DEET and significant health symptoms has ever been scientifically established from the proper use of DEET repellent products.

Application Information

Always follow labeling instructions.

Reapply when mosquitoes begin to be troublesome again.

Do not soak clothing or bedding in DEET-based repellents.

DEET products are available in a variety of concentrations. The more DEET in the product, the longer lasting the protection.

The EPA has noted that individuals of all ages (age 2 and up) can use DEET-based repellents with confidence in any concentration so long as label directions are followed. While the American Academy of Pediatrics has indicated that concentrations lower than 10% are preferable for children, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that this lower concentration is needed. DEET products today are intended for all family members over the age of 2.

Parents should apply DEET-based repellents to younger children (rather than allow them to do it themselves). It is advisable to put a small amount of DEET-based repellent on the parent's hands then rub the hands on the face of the child (Never spray DEET onto anyone's face; it can cause eye irritation).

DEET-based repellents should be applied to exposed, unbroken skin. These repellents are not needed underneath clothing.

Do not apply DEET-based repellents to the parts of a very young child's hands that might end up in the mouth or rubbed on eyes.

Important to Note

DEET is a personal insect repellent, designed for use on humans.

DEET does not kill mosquitoes; it simply repels them. According to one expert, "They go into 'time out' for about three hours."

Pesticide products designed to kill mosquitoes and other insects should NEVER be applied to humans.