In the July issue of Consumer Reports, there is an article titled “How to Win the Battle of the Bugs.” Unlike typical Consumer Reports articles, this one is alarmist, error-filled, and biased.
It is biased against the use of the insect repellent DEET, implying that if you use it, you would basically “ . . . douse yourself in armful repellents full of potentially dangerous chemicals.” Consumer Reports ignores more than forty years of scientific data that shows just how effective and safe DEET actually is. It remains the Gold Standard of protection. The article also tells you not to use any repellent containing more than 30% DEET, but neglects to mention that in 2001 it rated Ultrathon (33% DEET, which provides 12 hour protection) the best insect repellent available.
The article compares various repellents and determined that Sawyer’s Fisherman’s Formula, with 20% picaridin, is the “Best All-Around Repellent.” Picaridin is a non-DEET-containing repellent. It was tested against a 25% DEET repellent, not a 30 or 33% DEET repellent. By using a lower-dose DEET repellent, they could give the Fisherman’s Formula its top ranking, while demonizing DEET.
This article will scare people away from DEET repellents and possibly cause many travelers to be infected with insect-transmitted diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever.
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