Zika Protection: Want Something 'Organic' or Something That Works?

coveredf Used a Joe Mercola insect repellent? Photo: Reddit

Chemical/ideological crunch time is here.

It's time to see whether ideology and fear will trump science, now that we have a real threat. After months of speculation, it would seem that Zika has arrived, and panic has already set in in Florida. Since the infection is in Florida, it is a safe bet that it will be found elsewhere—probably sooner rather than later.

This brings up an intriguing philosophical dilemma for those of you who have been manipulated into fearing chemicals. What are you more afraid of? Chemicals, like DEET? Or, getting possibly getting Zika because you have chosen instead to use plant-based "non-chemicals."

The latter is, of course, a farcical concept, which has largely been perpetuated by the chicanery of "organic movement," and the vultures who profit by spreading this mindset. And it has worked splendidly. How many products are advertised as being "chemical free?" (1)

So, let's take a look at what's out there:


Some observations:

  1. DEET remains the gold standard of mosquito repellents.
  2. There are a variety other products, but they are inferior DEET in different ways, primarily time of coverage, but also effectiveness.
  3. All of the commonly used repellants have, at worst, minor safety issues. Don't spray them in your eyes. Duh.
  4. The synthetic repellents are at least as safe as the natural repellants. Perhaps more so.
  5. The synthetic repellents work better than the natural repellents. Just don't say this while in Whole Foods.
  6. Citronella smells good. That is about all you can say about it.
  7. If you using a bracelet, no insect will bite the bracelet.
  8. Joe Mercola is selling something that is worthless. Stop the presses.

So, chemophobes— it's time to spray or get off the pot. What are you going to do? Pick something inferior simply because it happens to come from a plant, or suck it up and put a "chemical" on your otherwise pristine body?

DEET is not natural. Zika is.

Spray or pray? Your call.


(1) A Google search of the term "chemical free" yields 452,000 hits. All 452,000 of these are wrong.


Primary reference: "Comparative Efficacy of Insect Repellents against Mosquito Bites." http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa011699#t=article

Other references:

http://jinsectscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/15/1/140 http://datasheets.scbt.com/sds/aghs/en/sc-208171.pdf http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/IN/IN41900.pdf http://www.picaridin.info/ir3535.htm https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/registration/fs_... http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2987/8756-971X%282006%2922%5B507%3APARB... https://www.naturalsourcing.com/downloads/msds/MSDS_Essential_Oil_Citron... http://www.consumerreports.org/insect-repellents/mosquito-repellents-tha...