April 28, 2005 – The CDC says it is adding two new forms of mosquito repellent to its list of recommended products in the hopes of encouraging more Americans to guard against West Nile virus this spring and summer.
The agency says repellents containing picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus can both be considered along with DEET, the active ingredient in most bug sprays on U.S. shelves. Officials say DEET remains highly safe and effective but that more consumer choices could help encourage use of repellents.
..Picaridin, also known as KBR 3023, has been on sale for years in Asia, Australia, and Europe. It was only recently approved for use in mosquito sprays by the Environmental Protection Agency. The chemical has already hit stores in at least one product, Cutter Advanced repellent. Oil of lemon eucalyptus, also called p-menthane 3,8-diol, or PMD, is available in a number of sprays and lotions.
Studies show that picaridin works as well as similar concentrations of DEET, while oil of lemon eucalyptus repels insects about as well as low concentrations of DEET. Because picaridin is only available in a 7% formulation, neither product will prevent mosquito bites for as long as high-concentration DEET will, CDC officials say.
(Emphasis mine). Anything that gets people to wear a barrier to mosquito-borne diseases is good in my book, though I’d probably avoid the oil of lemon eucalyptus unless I just couldn’t tolerate the DEET. DEET for me, as I tolerate it quite well.