News from CRIS: Insect Repellant - DEET

August 3, 2021

What are insect repellents? 

Insect repellents are products that help prevent, repeal, or mitigating pests. These can be products that we apply to our skin or products like lanterns or candles that use a heating mechanism to disperse repellents (1).

This post will focus on products that we apply topically, such as a spray or lotion.

What are EPA-approved insect repellent ingredients?

EPA-registered active ingredients include:

• Catnip oil
• Oil of Citronella
• IR-3535
• q-Methane-3,8-diol (pmd)
• Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
• Picaridin
• 2-undecanone
The most commonly used ingredient in EPA-approved insect repellents is DEET, and we find it in more than 500 products. 

What is DEET?   

DEET is the term used for the chemical ingredient N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide that can repel mosquitoes and ticks that may carry harmful diseases. 
DEET works by interfering with the receptors on a mosquito’s antennae making it harder for it to detect our presence, therefore they’re unable to find us to bite us (1,2). 
DEET’s been in use since the late 1940s and has been studied extensively. Research shows it’s safe and effective when used as directed (1,2,3,4,5). 


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