Daily News Archives
From May 5, 2005

New Mosquito Repellents Recommended by the CDC
(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2005)
After years of recommending only mosquito repellents with DEET as the active ingredient, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has backed the efficacy of two new mosquito repellents, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus, a natural oil. The CDC has repeatedly pushed DEET in the fight against West Nile virus mosquitoes. However, recent studies have prompted the CDC to consider looking at picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus, products which have been available in other countries for some time.

The CDC announced this news in hopes that at the onset of mosquito season more people would protect themselves against West Nile Virus. In a media conference Dr. Zielinski-Gutierrez of the CDC reported, “Nationwide, about 40 percent of people report that they use mosquito repellents with any regularity.”

These alternatives give people more options, especially those who are concerned over possible health impacts of using DEET products, especially when combined with other chemicals often used in mosquito control such as permethrin that can lead to motor deficits, motor, and memory problems. Consumers should be aware however that very little toxicity data exists on picaridin and therefore may choose to avoid the product until health and safety data is made available.

The CDC press release noted “Oil of lemon eucalyptus (also known as p-menthane 3,8-diol or PMD), a plant-based mosquito repellent provided protection time similar to low concentration DEET products in two recent studies.”

For a list of herbal mosquito repellents safer than DEET, see Alternatives to Spraying in Beyond Pesticides West Nile and Mosquito Management program.

TAKE ACTION: For more information on ways to protect yourself and your community from mosquitoes and West Nile virus without the use of hazardous pesticides, see Beyond Pesticides Public Health Mosquito Management Strategy.