Thursday, August 20, 2009

Relief for those who hate mosquitoes?

There are developing alternatives to DEET (, just as there are concerns about its use [em. mine]):

The new repellent was discovered at just the right time. Earlier this month, a team of French researchers reported that DEET affects cells in a manner similar to nerve gas, and enhances the toxic effects of a common pesticide. Though the study was preliminary and may not be relevant for humans, it became fodder for dozens of cautionary headlines leaving the public looking for alternatives. [...]

Her team used a computer program to find 2,000 chemicals that might repel mosquitoes. The scientists went on to make 23 of those compounds in their laboratory and evaluated their ability to repel a common type of mosquito.

For one of the tests, brave volunteers dabbed a bit of the substance on a cloth attached to their arms, and then stick them into a cage filled with 500 mosquitoes.

The best compound made by Tsikolia and her team provided the volunteers with protection for an average of 73 days, whereas DEET only worked for 17 days.

Of course one of the better alternatives is for environmentalists to stop killing poor people with bad science and bring back DDT (WSJ).

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