We’ve been there before: tobacco, lead, DEET and now Picaridin! Big Box stores along with Big Pharma are selling lethal poison to consumers wrapped in sweet and shiny marketing. In recent years awareness of the health and environmental dangers caused by chemical pesticide DEET has increased dramatically and it has led to a dramatic decline in sales of the insect repellents containing the poisonous pollutant. The chemical industry had to synthesize something fresh, new and cheap, so they did: marketed as a “safer alternative to DEET” pesticide Picaridin has become a staple in chemical insect repellents.
Turned out, Picaridin not only kills mosquitos, temporarily comforting consumers but also kills predators like salamanders that control the populations of mosquitos, hence permanently increase the number of mosquitos in the habitat. What a clever idea! Spray Picaridin bug spray to get rid of bugs, then go back to the store and buy more since the number of mosquitos will increase.
By harming mosquito predators, picaridin may help mosquitoes survive
“Insect repellents containing picaridin can be lethal to salamanders. So reports a new study published today in Biology Letters that investigated how exposure to two common insect repellents influenced the survival of aquatic salamander and mosquito larvae.
Insect repellents are a defense against mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and West Nile virus. Salamanders provide natural mosquito control. During their aquatic juvenile phase, they forage on mosquito larvae, keeping populations of these nuisance insects in check.”
Emma Rosi, a freshwater ecologist at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and a co-author on the paper explains, “Use of insect repellents is on the rise globally. Chemicals in repellents enter aquatic ecosystems through sewage effluent and are now common in surface waters. We set out to understand the impact of repellent pollution on both larval mosquitoes and the larval salamanders that prey on them.”