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  1. #1
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    Bug Repellents: To Those in Uniform or Hammocks

    This is a response to a question that keeps coming up. Since it was asked by someone enlisted, my answer is respectfully addressed to those in uniform. However, the information concerning general use of DEET and specifically synthetic Permethrins apply to the general hammock community. The same chemicals and fabric treatments apply. The author considers the following a matter of personal health and pest control that he has found to be effective.

    To those who wish to treat their hammocks, clothes, or uniforms with chemical solutions, please consider safer options.

    The BDU, battle dress uniforms, already have too many chemicals in them. If you speak to mills that provide textiles for uniforms, they will inform you that there is a cocktail of chemicals, some of which are not going to wash out. Assume that whatever touches your skin will penetrate the skin and body.
    IMHO, there are better/safer ways to repel pests.
    Permethrin is among other things a neural (nervous system /brain+nerves) toxin. See citation below that answers the question of toxicity. But first...
    What I use personally is a combination of weapons against pests. Unlike synthetic chemicals, to the best of my knowledge these choices don't harm the one using them:

    *1. B complex vitamins. Good quality, ie Youngevity brand.
    *2. Bee pollen. Contains good nutrients that make you less of a target, while boosting the energy level and replacing minerals.
    *3. Garlic in food. Easier to implement for weekend warrior, or reserves. Food tastes better but not to parasites.
    *4. Rub plant leaves that are local on the outside of the bdu. IE. Identify them and use those known to repel like in the mint family and many others. It will vary as to region. Some, like lavender, are easily available as house plants and have leaves that can be used while readily available.
    *5. Purchase ready made plant oils. Tea tree oil/melaleuca, eucalyptus and lime/lemon oils. I will not write a book here, for brevity look them up. In the future I'll do a podcast where we'll get into more details. Can simply be diluted in a little sprayer like a hand sanitizer, and lightly sprayed on outer clothing. Just as easy to use as harmful chemicals. It washes off, so I reapply when needed, but beats getting cancer, ms, or ending up in a VA "hospital "while some quack pretending to play Dr kills you. That's a place I'd avoid more than a beaten zone. Better the enemy you know than the enemy within as far as I'm concerned.
    * This is what I've done and not to be taken as advice. Judge for yourself since we all live with benefits and consequences of our personal choices.

    Simple barrier against ticks are a rubber band on your cuffs. If bloused inside the boots, they often come out during PT, physical training. Even tied, better to have elastic, then check periodically for ticks. In heavy mosquito area drop a net from the one tucked under your cover. There's ways to attach easily. Plus, head gear with essential oils properly applied works for me. If anyone rasses you they will not do it after their sleepless itchy night.
    Those are simple easy solutions that I have been fortunate to avoid tick bites for over a decade; handling ticky game, and wildlife while working in tick country. That said, I've always been THE mosquito magnet at camp until using those simple tips.

    This topics keeps coming up, so I think I should post it as a new thread so many more can benefit.

    I advise against Deet at all costs. It's worse than synthsized permethrin. Maybe my brevity and bluntness comes off as preachy, but hang your own hang. Or as some say, pick your poison. I'm only taking time to say this as someone who cares. Below is a brief citation from a text addressing this issue.

    Book cited from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine:
    Health Effects of Permethrin-Impregnated Army Battle-Dress Uniforms (1994) ch.4
    " Death in animals occurs within 3 days of exposure to permethrin. The cis/trans isomeric ratio also appears to affect toxicity, the cis isomer being more toxic than the trans isomer in animals (Table 4-2).
    Clinical signs of toxicity, when evident, occur within 2 hr and are associated with central nervous system functions. Permethrin belongs to the Type I group of pyrethroids, and exposure to permethrin is associated with tremors (T syndrome), convulsions, irregular breathing and increased respiratory rates, incoordination, ataxia, hyperactivity, prostration, and paralysis. Other signs that have been reported include hyperexcitability to external stimuli, lacrimation, occasional diarrhea, defecation, and urinary incontinence (Ishmael, 1989). Core body temperature is increased when clinical signs are severe. Signs of toxicity can last up to 3 days after acute exposure."
    ______________________________
    This commercial chemical is Not like walking though a patch of chrysanthemum flowers as some would have you think. This week and next i'll be working around skeeters, parasites, including fleas. FWIW, I've learned a few things from experience with wildlife and in toxicology.

    I have advised recruits and officers to keep in mind that God and your family love you. The top brass and VA hospitals are Neither. Just ask the few old timers still alive after agent orange exposure, the gulf war syndrome, and experimental shots. Those who are not...can not speak for themselves.

    Stay safe!
    To your Health and Happiness,

    Equalizer
    Last edited by Equalizer; Today at 02:01.
    Opossums! "Destroyers of ticks"...and mice!
    https://www.fox25boston.com/news/don...ease/768984007
    Last edited by Equalizer; 06-28-2018 at 02:04.
    [YOUTUBE="https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RRG8nUDbVXU"]Beyond Treason[/YOUTUBE]

  2. #2
    Senior Member jeff-oh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equalizer View Post
    Book cited from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine:
    Health Effects of Permethrin-Impregnated Army Battle-Dress Uniforms (1994) ch.4
    " Death in animals occurs within 3 days of exposure to permethrin. The cis/trans isomeric ratio also appears to affect toxicity, the cis isomer being more toxic than the trans isomer in animals (Table 4-2).
    Clinical signs of toxicity, when evident, occur within 2 hr and are associated with central nervous system functions. Permethrin belongs to the Type I group of pyrethroids, and exposure to permethrin is associated with tremors (T syndrome), convulsions, irregular breathing and increased respiratory rates, incoordination, ataxia, hyperactivity, prostration, and paralysis. Other signs that have been reported include hyperexcitability to external stimuli, lacrimation, occasional diarrhea, defecation, and urinary incontinence (Ishmael, 1989). Core body temperature is increased when clinical signs are severe. Signs of toxicity can last up to 3 days after acute exposure."
    Taking a single statement out of context and presenting as it was done is very mis-leading. The actual dosage tested that provided the results quoted above is:
    "The acute (single dose) oral LD50 of technical-grade permethrin (purity 90.5-97.2% and consisting of mixtures of cis/trans isomers in various proportions) in animals (rats, mice, guinea pigs, and chickens) is in the range of 0.5-5 g/kg of body weight,"

    No one is disputing that a human should not eat a 1 pound pill of nearly pure permithrin. This is the dose being studied. By contrast the amount being applied to a the external surface of a shirt or pants is approximately 0.001 g

    Though the post was probably posted out of concern, the presentation IMHO is misleading and overstating the references sited. I also find the underlying assumption disturbing, in that this post may insinuate that the US government is knowingly poisoning its service people. I take the study to represent what the study purpose statement says, that the US government wants to make sure its service people are totally safe and that using permithrin is not harmful to them.

    From the study:
    "Summary
    More active military service days have been lost to diseases—many of them transmitted by insects—than to combat. In the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War, disease casualties (caused mostly by insect bites) outnumbered combat casualties. U.S. military personnel deployed on field operations all over the world face an increased risk of mortality or morbidity from insect-borne diseases. ...

    Before introducing permethrin-impregnated BDUs for military personnel, the U.S. Army wanted a thorough and independent evaluation of the safety of wearing them or working with permethrin-impregnated fabric (as do garment workers) for long periods. Therefore, the Army requested that the National Research Council (NRC) review the toxicological and exposure data on permethrin to determine whether wearing BDUs impregnated with permethrin (at a concentration of 0.125 mg/cm2of fabric) 18 hr per day, 7 days per week, for up to 10 years is safe for soldiers, and whether handling permethrin-impregnated fabric is safe for garment workers.

    The conclusion of this study is that permithrin controls insect and insect transmitted diseases with extremely little risk or side effects to people.

    I will conclude that if you have questions with regard to the safety, effects or effectiveness of permithrin then this study is actually a great read.
    Last edited by jeff-oh; 06-28-2018 at 06:58.

  3. #3
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    I'm just now starting to recover from a very bad virus of some sort that has ruined my life for the past 6 weeks. Extreme fatigue and previously flu-like symptoms.

    Been to the doc 3 times and have tested negative for Lyme and a few other things, but went to a specialist last week who thinks it could be one of the several other diseases ticks carry. They took about a half pint of blood in order to check for these and other possible exotic crap that might be afflicting me. Test results are due any day now, so I still don't know for sure it's ticks or whatnot.

    However, if the tick-borne diseases are anything like what I have now, I'll take my chances with deet and permethrin.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  4. #4

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    Apple cider vinegar capsules and B complex vitamins are working against airborne pests for me.I don't know if it works on ticks or not because I Do wear permethrin treated gaiters and clothes.I also carry some picardin or lemon eucalyptus but have not used it in a long time.DEET will ruin your gear if you're not very careful so read the label.

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    OneClick's Avatar
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    I discount the "natural-grandmas-old-home-remedy" stuff 99% of the time. Just too many failures from past experiences. I'll stop using permethrin when they start saying it causes cancer...I figure we have another 5-10 years until then.

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    concerning the concentration rates......after diluting Martins 10% strength permethrin to .05% and soaking and air drying my hiking clothes, I placed an ant inside my cap and it took 20 min. for the ant to die. Its a repellant not a contact killer. Mosquitoes being more sensitive won't even land on treated bugnets.

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    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneClick View Post
    I discount the "natural-grandmas-old-home-remedy" stuff 99% of the time. Just too many failures from past experiences. I'll stop using permethrin when they start saying it causes cancer...I figure we have another 5-10 years until then.
    As i mentioned elsewhere, some of my friends were using picaridin in the Pharaoh Wilderness (ADKs) and were nearly eaten alive. Even with 40% deet (Repel Max) we still got a few bites, but it was FAR better.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    As i mentioned elsewhere, some of my friends were using picaridin in the Pharaoh Wilderness (ADKs) and were nearly eaten alive. Even with 40% deet (Repel Max) we still got a few bites, but it was FAR better.
    I'm liking the picaridin lotion so far, but haven't been in any hot zones to give it a major test yet. But combined with permethrin, I felt I was really keeping them away.

  9. #9
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdisgrace View Post
    concerning the concentration rates......after diluting Martins 10% strength permethrin to .05% and soaking and air drying my hiking clothes, I placed an ant inside my cap and it took 20 min. for the ant to die. Its a repellant not a contact killer. Mosquitoes being more sensitive won't even land on treated bugnets.
    Similar experience here. I was wearing some Rail Riders InsectShield pants and put a tick on the thigh area. I corralled him in the same area for about 15 minutes and nothing happened. These pants had been washed only 1 time and the treatment is purported to last 70 washings, so that wasn't the problem.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  10. #10
    Senior Member Grumpy Squatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff-oh View Post
    Taking a single statement out of context and presenting as it was done is very mis-leading.

    The conclusion of this study is that permithrin controls insect and insect transmitted diseases with extremely little risk or side effects to people.

    I will conclude that if you have questions with regard to the safety, effects or effectiveness of permithrin then this study is actually a great read.
    Bravo jeff-o! Thank you.

    This statement is also mostly incorrect:

    Assume that whatever touches your skin will penetrate the skin and body.
    First, because Permethrin designed to protect clothing is always mixed with a binding agent, to hold it on the fabric through wear and washings. It is specifically designed to stay on the clothes and not quickly wash or absorb off. Second, because many factors influence dermal absorption. Some good background information: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/skin/default.html

    They say,
    The rate of dermal absorption depends largely on the outer layer of the skin called the stratum corneum (SC). The SC serves [as] an important barrier function by keeping molecules from passing into and out of the skin, thus protecting the lower layers of skin. The extent of absorption is dependent on the following factors:

    • Skin integrity (damaged vs. intact)
    • Location of exposure (thickness and water content of stratum corneum; skin temperature)
    • Physical and chemical properties of the hazardous substance
    • Concentration of a chemical on the skin surface
    • Duration of exposure
    • The surface area of skin exposed to a hazardous substance
    Permethrin specifically is one of the most widely used treatments for lice and other insect infestations of the skin and hair. It is commonly applied directly to skin on children all around the world, so its absorption and metabolism have been extensively studied. And just because something is absorbed doesn't mean it is harmful. From one such study (https://link.springer.com/article/10...228-005-0932-7). There are many others if you search Google Scholar for "dermal absorption of permethrin."

    Results
    Pharmacokinetics were similar in all study parts. The time of maximal urinary excretion rate was 12.3, 20.0 and 14.6 h, terminal elimination half-life was 32.7, 28.8 and 37.8 h and urinary recovery of the metabolite reached 0.35, 0.47 and 0.52 M percent of the permethrin dose, respectively, in parts 1, 2 and 3 (means). The treatment was well tolerated.

    Conclusions
    The extent of systemic exposure following external therapeutic administration of permethrin is very low compared with doses used for preclinical toxicity studies, and elimination is virtually complete after 1 week. These data provide the pharmacokinetic basis for the clinical safety of topical permethrin.
    That's topical meaning applied directly to the skin in concentrations around 1% (in over-the-counter lice remedies like Nix) and higher by prescription for scabies and other conditions. The limited amount present on clothing (usually soaked in concentrations of 0.5% - 0.75%) and usually bound to the fabric with a polymer of some kind should produce far less possible absorption in the first place, even if over a larger surface area of skin.

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