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N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (Deet) Proposed Rule 5/91

                             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

                             Wednesday, May 22, 1991

CONTACT: NYS Dept. of Health:  (518)474-7354

         NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation:  (518) 457-5400

New Yorkers Urged to Use Lower Concentration DEET Products

ALBANY, May 22 -- The State Health Department is urging New Yorkers to

only use insect repellents containing DEET concentrations of 30 percent or

less to reduce their risk of adverse reactions.


       The Department of Environmental Conservation, on the recommendation of
the Health Department, has filed a proposed rule that would prohibit the
distribution or sale of repellents containing more than 30 percent N,N-
diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET).  Repellents, insecticides and other pesticide
products must have DEC registration to be sold in the state.  Until the rule
making process is completed, New Yorkers are urged to use only products with
30 percent or less DEET.

     Products containing DEET are beneficial insect repellents, but have also
been associated with skin and neurological reactions.  Recent concern about
Lyme Disease, which is transmitted by infected deer ticks, has led to the
marketing of higher concentration DEET products and the possibility that
people will apply excessive amounts of insect repellents.

     Last year there were more than 3,200 cases of Lyme Disease reported in
New York State and so far this year more than 1,500 cases have been reported.

     Overall, the Health Department believes data indicate that the use of
repellents containing concentrations of DEET greater than about 30 percent
increases the risk of adverse reaction, with little or no increased
protection.

    In general, reported adverse effects in adults using DEET are limited to
skin reactions.  But, there have been reports of serious neurological problems
in children after excessive application of DEET-containing repellents on the
skin.  These problems, although uncommon, have ranged from slurred speech and
confusion to seizures and coma.

     DEET can offer important protection against Lyme Disease and other
insect-borne diseases but these products must be used with care.

     This means:

-- Use all repellents sparingly.

-- Avoid prolonged and excessive use of DEET.  Use just enough repellent to
   cover exposed skin or clothing; do not treat unexposed skin.

-- Particularly with children, try to reduce chemical use by dressing them in
   long sleeves and long pants when possible.  Apply repellents to clothing,
   when possible.

-- Don't apply repellents to portions of children's hands that are likely to
   go into their eyes or mouth.

-- Avoid use of any DEET products on damaged skin.  Studies show that DEET is
   readily absorbed through the skin.  Skin damaged by sunburn, cuts,
   psoriasis or other conditions increases absorption.

-- Avoid inhaling or ingesting repellents when being applied.  Keep repellents
   out of eyes.

-- After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.

-- If you suspect you or your child are reacting to an insect repellent, wash
   treated skin and call your doctor.  When you go to the doctor, take the
   repellent with you.

     A public hearing on the proposed rule will be held at 1 p.m., July 23 at
the Department of Agriculture and Markets building in Albany.  Comments on the
proposed rule may also be filed in writing and should be sent to; Frank
Hegener, N.Y.S. Department of Environmental Conservation, 50 Wolf Road,
Albany, New York 12233-7254.


                                  Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment
                                  NYS Department of Health
                                  May 20, 1991