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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Are Mosquito Coils giving us Asthma?

Are Mosquito Coils giving us Asthma?

M. Prabhakar Rao

Chronic exposure to pyrethroid-based allethrin and prallethrin mosquito repellents alters plasma biochemical profile.

Department of Biochemistry, Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Anantapur 515 003, India.

Continuous exposure of humans to pyrethroid-based mosquito repellents for longer durations may lead to adverse health effects. No information is available on long-term use of these mosquito repellents pertaining to the biochemical changes in human subjects.
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Prallethrin is one of a class of synthetic chemicals, called pyrethroids, that are derived from natural chemicals found in chrysanthemums. It is listed by the European Union as an endocrine disruptor. Pyrthroids are known to be very toxic to cats and owners should be cautioned against using them if cats are present in the home. 

·         Suspected endocrine disruptor
·         Very toxic to cats
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'Goodknight’ brand of mosquito coils contain Prallethrin 0.05%, w/w, 'Mortein' brand of mosquito coils contain d-Allethrin 0.20% w/w, 'Jet' Brand Mosquito coils contain 0.10% w/w of d-trans Allethrin (a.i.), 'Allout', 'Tortoise' et al brands of mosquito coils contain something or other chemical, which all have been certified to be safe to humans, save for eye-contact, some times skin allergies, etc. etc. And the same branded Mats & Liquids too contain the above chemicals.

As for the efficacy of these products against mosquitoes, one only has to browse (the consumers’ opinions on them @

So far, no manufacturer or independent research-body has conducted any study on the intense inhalation of the fumes of these mats, liquids or the smoke of the burnt coils for an exposure between 8 to 10 hours in a closed room, which is the case when we wish to drive out as well as prevent the re-entry of mosquitoes into our bedrooms & drawing rooms.

It is observed, by one and all, that the fumes may or may not drive away mosquitoes completely (as the efficacy solely depends on the season, ambient temperature & the intensity of hunger-pangs of the mosquitoes of that moment) but, noted to have been giving Chronic Respiratory Diseases especially to the infants, elderly people, women & those convalescing from a deceases, et al.  No concrete study has been made on whether these respiratory ailments or reversible or not or on the long-term damage to our lungs.

It seems we are victimising ourselves trying to protect ourselves from ‘mosquito-borne diseases’, by acquiring ‘respiratory & others diseases’ with constantly inhaling harmful chemical fumes & smoke for 8 to 10 hours a day, in closed-door environment.

Insect-Menace, especially that from Mosquitoes has not been new to the humans but, what are new are the modern-day chemical solutions being marketed as panacea to this ancient problem.  Insect Repellents of Natural Sources, with nil ill-effects on human health have been as old as the coexistence of humans with insects, among all cultures, based on what was naturally grown in that Agro-climatic Zone, to which that culture belonged.  However, most of these natural solutions to the insects have been systematically displaced with harmful, chemical based solutions, over a period of time, by the blindingly greedy Corporates, with aggressive campaigns and specious arguments against the usage of natural solutions. 

As published in Wikipedia,

Insect repellents from natural sources

Here are many preparations from naturally occurring sources that are repellent to certain insects. Some of these act as insecticides while others are only repellent.
§  Achillea alpina (mosquitos)
§  alpha-terpinene (mosquitos)[23]
§  Basil[24]
§  Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
§  Camphor (moths)[26]
§  Carvacrol (mosquitos)[23]
§  Castor oil (Ricinus communis) (mosquitos)[27]
§  Catnip oil (Nepeta species) (nepetalactone against mosquitos)[28]
§  Cedar oil (mosquitos, moths)[27]
§  Celery extract (Apium graveolens) (mosquitos)[23] In clinical testing an extract of celery was demonstrated to be at least equally effective to 25% DEET,[29] although the commercial availability of such an extract is not known.
§  Cinnamon[30] (leaf oil kills mosquito larvae)[31]
§  Citronella oil (repels mosquitos)[27]
§  Oil of cloves (mosquitos)[27]
§  Eucalyptus oil (70%+ eucalyptol), (cineol is a synonym), mosquitos, flies, dust mites[32])
§  Fennel oil (Foeniculum vulgare) (mosquitos)[23]
§  Garlic (Allium sativum) (rice weevil, wheat flour beetle)[33]
§  Lavender (repels insects) [35][36]
§  Lemon eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora) essential oil and its active ingredient p-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD)
§  Lemongrass oil (Cymbopogon species) (mosquitos)[27]
§  East-Indian Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus)[37]
§  Marigolds (Tagetes species)
§  Neem oil (Azadirachta indica) (Repels or kills mosquitos, their larvae and a plethora of other insects including those in agriculture)
§  Oleic acid, repels bees and ants by simulating the "Smell of death" produced by their decomposing corpses. It is a 400 millions years old natural mechanisms helping to sanitise the hives or to escape predators[39]
§  Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) (mosquitos,[32] fleas[40]), but very toxic to pets.[40]
§  Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) (mosquitos)[41]
§  Pyrethrum (from Chrysanthemum species, particularly C. cinerariifolium and C. coccineum)
§  Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)[38] (mosquitos)[27]
§  Spanish Flag (Lantana camara) (against Tea Mosquito Bug, Helopeltis theivora)[42]
§  Thyme (Thymus species) (mosquitos)[23]
§  Yellow Nightshade (Solanum villosum), berry juice (against Stegomyia aegypti mosquitos)[44]
§  Andrographis paniculata extracts(mosquito) [45]

I know, for sure, any extract, leave, stem, root, etc. of “Tulsi” (Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum), not only drive away mosquitos & other insects but also doesn’t give any form ill-effects to the health of humans.  In fact ‘Tulsi’ is, successfully, cross-cropped along with vegetables, fruit, etc. to protect them from insect attacks.

I am, equally, sure that the some others listed above too would give us similar possibilities.

I wish to urge you all to think in terms of coming out with “disruptive Solutions’ based on the essential oils as well as of the leaves, flowers, stems, roots, etc. of the above to displace harmful, chemical based mosquito repellents.

I am consumed by a passion to be part of developing some lasting natural solutions, for mosquito-menace, from some of the above. 

Am willing to devote my rest of life, time, energies, intellect, etc. for developing the above.

Are you???


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