Posted in: Health

Insect Sprays: Choosing the Right Product with Safe Chemicals

All of us want to protect ourselves from anything that will harm us, no matter how small it may be. Mosquitoes, bugs, and other small insects that fly or creep around our house are just some examples of those small beings that can pose a serious danger to our health, especially to the young ones.

That is why almost all of us have resorted to having insect sprays and repellents easily found on the shelves of our favorite grocery store. For quite a long time, these sprays have been the most effective method of getting rid of those pests in our house. However, as technology progresses and new studies have been made, these commercial sprays and repellents were found to be as harmful as the pests their trying to get rid of.

Chemical Contents on Insect Sprays:

One kind of chemical that has been present in insect sprays is the lead arsenate. Lead arsenate is an inorganic compound of arsenic and found to be useful for the purpose of killing pests. However, this chemical is highly toxic especially to organisms that it is not meant for. It also persists in the environment even after several years of not using them.

Chlorinated hydrocarbons, though found effective against mosquitoes causing malaria and fleas, have serious drawbacks also. First, other insects like houseflies were found to be resistant to this chemical. Also, DDT or dichloro, diphenyl, trichloroethane, one of the chemicals based on hydrocarbons, was found to be fat-soluble. Those who are heavily exposed to this chemical most likely have concentrations of DDT 1000 times higher in their fats than in the blood. Although it may not pose any real harm, it might eventually lead to some complications.

Organophosphates are very toxic chemicals that are also found in some insecticides. Parathion, an example of an organophosphate, is actually 30 times more poisonous than DDT. Each year, since it was developed during the time of World War II, these organophosphates poison thousands of people throughout the world and even kill them. Those who are taking care of these victims are also in danger. The excretions of these patients or even vapors coming out from them are enough to poison a human being.

Infertility in adult men may be caused by several factors. However, recent studies show that exposure to insecticides have an effect on male infertility. This is because of the chemical chlorpyrifos found in these sprays. When exposed to chlorpyrifos or its metabolite, it may lead to a reduction in the levels of testosterone in men.

The chemical, chlorpyrifos, had been the most common insect spray used in residences. After the results of the studies were released though, the Environmental Protection Agency prohibited its use in residential areas to prevent children from being exposed in that harmful chemical.

How to Understand the Label

Since this commercial product is known to have chemicals in it, we should understand what the label tells us to be safe. We need to know the toxic potential of these insect sprays. Since these chemicals can prove to be lethal to humans, we must know the acceptable level that is safe for humans. The unit of measure of lethality is called the lethal dose 50 or LD50. The lesser the LD50 value, the more toxic the chemical is.


This information about the commercial insect sprays may be disturbing. But the good news is, there are several alternatives also available in the market that are much safer to use. You just have to read the labels carefully to know which one is better.

These alternatives are those that are made from organic components. There are some that are made from a natural blend of plant extracts and oils. Others are either alcohol-based or made from hot spices to repel insects. Most may not be aware but nicotine can also be used as an insect repellent because it is extremely toxic to these harmful pests. And nicotine as an insecticide has been widely used since the 1880s. Miracle II is reported as effective on insect cleanup.

Insect sprays are really important for us, especially if we have children around the house. We always rely on these products to keep harmful, little insects away from us and prevent diseases caused by them. However, we should also be careful in choosing the right product; else, we might end up being more harmed by these things that should protect us.

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