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Mosquito Repellent: A Double Edged Sword?

Mosquitos occupy a large space in our lives, especially during outdoor trips and events. When it comes to getting rid of that buzzing noise, there are a number of commercial mosquito repellents available on the market. In all honesty, it is hard to imagine an evening barbecue without a visit from those tiny winged creatures. For years, people have tried in vain to vanquish them from their backyards. Every so often, a product comes along that seems to do the job but is it really worth it? What exactly is it that keeps the mosquitos at bay?


Developed by the United States Army and approved by the CDC, diethyltoluamide is one of the most effective and commonly used mosquito repellent. The Centers for Disease Control believes that the risk of mosquito born illness is greater than the risk of inhaling DEET. Known to be a potent skin, lung and eye irritant, DEET is not suitable for infants and needs to be washed off periodically. Although inhalation can cause respiratory issues, it has been deemed safe when used in products containing concentrations under 30%.

Alternatives to DEET

While it is difficult to deny that mosquito repellents containing DEET tend to work quite well, they may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with sensitive skin, asthma and other health complications may need an alternative. Unfortunately, the options are limited. A couple acceptable substitutes do exist, however.


Studies have shown that icaridin can be just as effective as DEET. The difference, however, is that icaridin produces nearly the same results without the health risks. The Centers for Disease Control has approved icaridin for use in countries prone to disease outbreaks associated with mosquito bites. With no known side-effects, Icaridin offers a viable alternative to DEET and in some cases, may be superior.


Citronella is an oil extracted from lemongrass. The oil has long been used as this and recent studies have verified its effectiveness. While there are no known health risks associated with its use, citronella oil is only effective for short periods of time. In order to work as an effective mosquito repellent, citronella needs to be reapplied periodically and you should get soaking shower after applying this.

Is It Worth the Risk?

The majority of the products on the market today have proven to be effective mosquito repellents. The vast majority of them also contain a known irritant. It is correct to believe that the that contracting the Zika Virus or Dengue Fever would be much worse than the risks associated with DEET use but it is also important to know that there are effective alternatives readily available.

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7 Reasons Why You Should Reconsider Dryer Sheets

As more and more people turn to living a greener life one place that is often overlooked is the laundry room. A growing movement has begun to rid the use of dryer sheets and fabric softener. However, even organic wool dryer balls are not safe as wool itself may not be 100% organic and could contain harmful substances that could transfer to your clothing. Check the label before you purchase any dryer balls. Below is a list of 7 reasons why you should reconsider using dryer sheets.

Dangerous Chemicals

One thing to watch out for in dryer sheets (even ones that claim they’re dye and allergen free) are harmful chemicals that can be absorbed into your skin and clothing. All dryer sheets contain benzyl acetate which has been linked to pancreatic cancer and is also found in fabric softener.

Other chemicals that are just as dangerous are also found in the creation of dryer sheets. While they might not seem like a threat you have to think about how they are used. Dryer sheets work by transferring dangerous chemicals to your clothing as it’s heated during the drying cycle in order to rid your clothing of static cling. It’s the heat that triggers the chemical release.

Puts Pets’ Health at Risk

Dryer sheets are toxic to dogs and cats too! Be sure not to let your beloved pet get one in his or her mouth. Ingesting the harsh chemicals can lead to illness and possibly death.

7 Reasons Why You Should Reconsider Dryer Sheets

Emerging Health Problems

Roughly 12% of the USA’s population has reported developing health issues simply due to using dryer sheets. That’s a staggering statistic.

The biggest offender to these rising health concerns are acetaldehyde and benzene. These two chemicals are found in vehicle exhaust and are extremely unsafe to breathe into your body. There is no level that’s considered safe in regard to ingesting these two chemicals.

Symptoms from dryer sheet exposure includes but is not limited to: runny nose, asthma attacks, migraines, skin issues (such as rashes), and gastrointestinal distress.

Wear Out Your Clothes Faster

Dryer sheets contain chemicals that break down the fibers in your clothes. This means that every time you use a dryer sheet (or fabric softener) you’re literally wearing your clothes out more quickly than if you simply let your clothing air dry. In turn this means you have to spend more money out of pocket to replace them.

Synthetic Fragrance

Unlike fragrances used in the past, many synthetic fragrances are causing health problems like diabetes, obesity, autism, ADD/ADHD, seizures, and even hormone disruption.

7 Reasons Why You Should Reconsider Dryer Sheets

A Plethora of VOCs

There are over 25 different VOCs (volatile organic compounds) found in dryer sheets. Acetone and ethanol are just two of the most awful. There are many more almost as bad as these two harmful substances.

Industry Not Reporting All Ingredients

It is true. Current laws allow industries to put some of their ingredients on labels but not all of them. Do you really want to use a product that doesn’t report a complete list of everything it incorporates onto its package? Of course not, which is why you need to consider using organic wool dryer balls and stop using your dryer sheets. You’ll begin to feel a difference as soon as they’re all gone.

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