Insect repellent: What’s Picaridin?
The heavy duty commercial insect repellents this summer seem to have a newish active ingredient: Picaridin. Thing is, it’s hard to find too much solid information on it, aside from here:
(Excerpted) (from a CDC press conference in 2005)
This morning we’d like to emphasize that Americans now have more options than ever to use in protecting themselves from mosquito bites, which remains a mainstay of protection against West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. Today, the CDC is releasing new guidance about effective mosquito repellents now available in the United States. This updated guidance includes addition of two active ingredients, the Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus, which have been shown to offer long-lasting protection against mosquito bites.
Repellents containing DEET, may I emphasize, these repellents containing DEET continue to be a highly effective repellent option and are also included in the CDC guidelines.
DEET, actually, we have the most experience with over the years and it’s been shown to be an extremely safe and effective repellent and remains a very important option for consumers.
Picaridin, which is one of the ones we’re now adding to our list of recommendations as far as effective repellents, is also known as KBR 3023, and this is an active ingredient that has been available in Europe, Australia, Latin America and Asia for some time.
Evidence indicates that it works very well, often comparable with DEET, and with Picaridin there’s been, as I emphasize, there’s been a long-standing experience in other parts of the world which have shown it to be safe and effective.
One product containing 7 percent Picaridin is being distributed in the U.S. this year, and I’m confident that other products containing Picaridin will be on the market also shortly.
The other ingredient that we’re adding to our list of recommendations is oil of lemon eucalyptus, also known as P-menthane diol, or PMD, for short. PMD is a plant-based repellent that gave protection time similar to low concentrations of DEET products in two recent studies, and is available in a variety of formulations throughout the United States.
CDC says Picaridin is safe. That’s good. But they also say DEET is safe. Which doesn’t exactly encourage me.
It’s encouraging that lemon eucalyptus oil is getting some mainstream press–until they say this:
Now I must emphasize that oil of lemon eucalyptus, although it appears to have a efficacy similar to low concentrations of DEET, the experience with oil of lemon eucalyptus is less than the many years of experience that we’ve had with DEET over the years, but it does appear to be a good alternative to DEET.
We have less experience with lemon eucalyptus. Because it’s plant-based and no one has bothered to study it, because no one can make the kind of money on it they can on something synthetic. So they’re carefully implying that this aeons-old long-established natural remedy doesn’t have the safety track record of things like DEET and Picaridin. Nice.
Then there’s this (Picaridin fact sheet) http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/Picaridintech.pdf
Unfortunately, I don’t really understand any of it. But that’s a good website; I’ve bookmarked it, and it has info regarding a whole mess of different pesticides.
Does anyone in the whole green movement know anything at all about this stuff, what it means, how it works, and what its danger level is?