As summer finally rolls in, most of us are eager to shed our layers and splash in the surf or hike through the woods. Along the way, we might slap on some SPF 30 sunscreen to ward off skin cancer and hose down our arms and necks with skeeter repellent. But rather than go wild with DEET and just any old high-SPF sunscreen, it’s best to consider some potential health and environmental hazards first. Here follows a look at some of the more problematic products and their less-toxic alternatives.
Photo: Centers for Disease Control.
Insect repellent is likely to be a hot item this year, with fears of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus running high. (Paul Epstein, associate director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment, warns that the virus will likely be as devastating this year as it was in 2002, when it killed 284 people in North America.) But before you reach for the bug spray, take a second look.
Most conventional insect repellents contain DEET (also listed on labels as N, N-Diethyl-m-toluamide or N, N-Diethyl-3-Methyl benzamide)... Read more