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Mass Zika hysteria fueled by media could spike cancer rates among people foolish enough to use DEET on their bodies


(NaturalNews) An "expert" on the Zika virus has some dangerous advice for people living in Miami: Use DEET as a sort of anti-mosquito "perfume" to protect themselves from getting bitten.

There's just one problem with that, however: DEET is a registered pesticide, and could have extremely toxic effects on the central nervous system, especially in young children. But the mainstream media continues to hype it as the "best" means of protection against Zika-carrying mosquitoes, when it clearly isn't.

As reported by CBS News, the DEET-as-perfume advice comes from Dr. Matthew DeGennaro, a mosquito geneticist who thinks the Zika virus infestation in one part of the city will eventually spread to the entire Dade County area.

"The way that will happen is not by the spread of mosquitoes themselves, but by the movement of infected people," he said.

"DEET should be Miami's new perfume," he added.

He's not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also advised people living in areas where mosquitoes are carrying Zika to cover up as much as possible and to slather themselves in DEET.

DEET is a neurotoxin

But according to the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia in Canada, using DEET can be hazardous to your health.

The group notes that the pesticide is a member of the toluene family, which is an organic solvent that is used in paint removers, plastic cements and rubber products.

When applied, DEET is absorbed into the skin and passes into the bloodstream. The group quotes the Medical Sciences Bulletin, published by Pharmaceutical Information Associates Ltd., in noting: "Up to 56% of DEET applied topically penetrates intact human skin and 17% is absorbed into the bloodstream."

In fact, blood concentrations of roughly 3 mg per liter have been measured hours after the repellent was first applied. In addition, the EHANS said, DEET is also absorbed into the gut.

Some researchers say that the most concerning aspect of DEET use is its potential effect on the central nervous system. A Duke University scientist, Dr. Mohammed Abou-Donia, studied the effects of DEET on lab animals and how they performed neuro-behavioral tasks that required muscle coordination. He reported finding that the animals exposed to the same average human dose did far worse than untreated animals. In addition, EHANS said, Abou-Donia found that combined exposure to DEET and permethrin, an ingredient found in mosquito sprays, can also lead to learning and memory dysfunction as well as motor deficits.

As NaturalNews reported in 2010, new research at the time found that DEET has neurotoxic effects, and functions much like deadly nerve gasses and other dangerous pesticides.

"These findings question the safety of deet, particularly in combination with other chemicals," said researcher Vincent Corbel of Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement in Montpellier.

Natural oil much more effective at repelling mosquitoes

Though many other researchers have long insisted that DEET is safe to use, they have also recommended that a minimal amount of it be applied – just enough to cover exposed skin and clothing. They have also advised that the pesticide not be applied directly to open wounds and damaged skin.

That said, there is a natural alternative to DEET that has been proven to be effective. As we reported in 2015, natural essential oils from some plants are better suited to deterring mosquitoes safely, and one of them is lemon eucalyptus oil.

The safe, natural alternative contains p-menthane-diol, a plant compound that has proven to be safer and more effective than DEET.

A study published last year by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, tested natural alternatives including lemon eucalyptus oil. Two others did not perform significantly well, but the lemon eucalyptus oil outperformed DEET in its ability to repel mosquitoes. Researchers found that the oil gave 96.89 percent protection for four hours, while DEET only provided 84.81 percent protection.

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