Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dangerous Deet

Yesterday I had to shear my Great Pyrenees, yes, I know that dogs get groomed and not shorn, but when you use llama equipment, I think you can get away with calling it shearing! This is a rather large job, and I was not really looking forward to it, as a matter of fact I had been dreading it, but for all of the wrong reasons.

The shear job was going quite well, but I was getting eaten alive by flies. I had my daughter run and grab the bug spray, we put it on myself, Tia (the dog) and my daughter. Thankfully as young girls do, Isabella lost interest in cutting the dogs hair and ran off to play. I really don't know what I was thinking, obviously I wasn't, because I continued to spray myself whenever the flies got to the point where I could no longer stand them. Probably four times in the 1 1/2 hours it took me to complete this monumental job.

Living in the mountains we are very blessed as far as bug population goes, so I don't deal with bug spray often. I'm embarrassed to say I have mostly used it on my kids-without even thinking! Anyway, I started not feeling good as I was cleaning up the yard. Lightheaded, headache and nausea, I assumed I hadn't eaten enough that day and headed in to make some lunch. Within an hour I had a severe headache and felt like I couldn't pull my sentences together. I was in bed by 6:oo and must not have looked too good, as my adorable family checked on me at least 10 times, not too restful, but adorable!

So, needless to say this caused me to do a little research on bug spray this morning, and I have to tell you it really caused me some alarm. According to Extension Toxicology Network, Deet is far more dangerous than a lot of people believe. Extoxnet is "A Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, and University of California at Davis. Major support and funding was provided by the USDA/Extension Service/National Agricultural Pesticide Impact Assessment Program. " As I read the very scientific and sometimes difficult to read report my stomach kept sinking. Following are a few parts of that report that I have copied and pasted:

Products containing N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide and isomers (Deet) are beneficial as insect repellents, but have also been associated with dermal and neurological reactions in humans (3).

Several cases of toxic encephalopathy associated with the use of Deet in children have been reported in the medical literature.

Generalized seizures have also been temporally associated with the use of Deet-containing insect repellent on skin (Oransky et al 1989).

Deet is absorbed promptly from the skin and distributed to all organs including the brain and the fetus. The compound is excreted in the milk but primarily in the urine (1, 15, 16).

There was quite a bit more information on the horrors that they have inflicted on lab animals to test Deet that also showed reproductive issues and severe skin reactions. Reactions were noticeably higher in kids. Okay then, I'm never getting near the stuff again!

On the lighter side of things, I also found some wonderful alternatives. There are many organic bug sprays made up of essential oils that are shown to be pretty effective. I also learned that if you put original flavor Listerine in a spray bottle you can spray it around the perimeter of your working and playing areas. Bugs do not like the strong minty smell and it provides a bug free zone for you and your family. I can't wait to try these methods and will keep you informed of any "results" I may come up with.

Today's picture should be called "And you thought you were having a bad hair day?"! This is the results of the very unsophisticated haircut that I gave Tia. Her name is Valentia, Spanish for bravery; she's not looking to brave this morning-Ha!

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