Here you are between the proverbial rock and hard spot(whack!). Those red welts are from mosquitoes. You can get the welts and such lovely diseases as malaria or West Nile virus, or you can use something with DEET in it. DEET has been shown to have drug interactions and to have toxic effects on humans (especially children) when used in the wrong quantity.
Fortunately (swat, swat), there's an alternative to DEET that is tamer in the toxicology department. Insect Biotechnology has applied to the EPA for approval to use IBI-246 as an insect repellent in several products. IBI-246 come from wild tomatoes and repels mosquitoes as well as ticks.
The compound, which apparently is part of the tomato's natural defenses against insects, is about the same cost to produce as DEET, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture developed for the Army in 1946. Insect Biotechnology CEO John Bennett says, "People have been looking for a competitive product to DEET for 20 years."
Our cynical eye wanders toward the marketing department. That study showing DEET's ill-effect on rats will probably get sliced, diced and used in bits on the containers of every product containing IBI-246 instead of DEET. The great DEET battle will be at hand, soon.
This stuff is not EPA approved, yet. Approval is expected by the end of 2002. This means products will hit the shelf shortly afterward.
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