May 12, 2005

Only In America...

In late April, the CDC announced that it was adding two new mosquito repellant ingrediants to its list of recommended products to prevent contracting West Nile virus, picaridin (KBR 3023) and oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-menthane 3,8-diol (PMD)]. Picaridin is being pushed as an alternative to the CDC's #1 recommended mosquito repellant ingrediant, DEET, because, although it doesn't last as long, it doesn't have the same foul smell, doesn't feel heavy on your skin, is less likely to cause you to break out in a horrible rash and won't melt plastic or synthetic materials to your skin.

Picaridin was developed in the late 80's by the Bayer Corporation and has been widely available in the rest of the world since the mid-90's and is in some of the most popular repellants sold in the UK and Australia. However, the very first US product to contain picaridin was introduced just this January by Spectrum Brands. It's called Cutter Advanced and it must be like liquid gold because I can't seem to get my hands on a single bottle of it! Most Google hits for the product or the ingrediant only turn up tons of news articles about how great an alternative to DEET it is, but only REI seems to sell it online... and they won't ship it to California or New York. Why the hell not? It's in a pump bottle, so it won't explode and California has to have more hippies and camping nerds than the plains states combined.

I'm going to Maui next week where my aunt says there's mosquitos on some of the wetter parts of the island, and if you've ever seen how bad of an allergic reaction I get to mosquito bites you'll understand why I'm looking for a good DEET-alternative. DEET and I have had a long-term, love-hate relationship for many years now. It's ruined a lot of my shoes and made me smell like a chemical factory at every picnic or rafting trip I've ever been on. It's given me rashes and majorly dries out my skin. So, today I've had to call around to a few REI stores and could only locate a bottle of it in Corte Madera, where I had to put it on hold for Aaron to pick up for me sometime this weekend.

I'm putting my money on the bottle

So, I'm going to get some, but it absolutely blows my mind that something being pushed by the CDC and the EPA isn't available on the Internet. I don't have a car and I HATE calling stores, so being able to get things delivered has really become important for me and it upsets me when I have to go on a hunt for something so mundane. It's also shocking that despite being around for 10 years in the rest of the world, only one US product contains this sweet relief from painful swelling and chemical stench. Why is that? Is it because the CDC was only pushing DEET before so people didn't want to make products with picaridin because they thought they wouldn't sell well enough? Is it a regulatory approval, patent or licensing agreement hold up? Did the FDA not give picaridin the green light until recently? Were companies not allowed to produce it in the US until Spectrum started making its product? I don't know because I wasn't able to find any information on the Internet, but hopefully more US companies will catch on and it'll become easier for me to more willingly and confidently participate in outdoor activities again.

0) $paginate_current_page = 0; $paginate_sections = array( 0 ); $paginate_top_section = $paginate_sections[$paginate_current_page-1]+1; $paginate_bottom_section = $paginate_sections[$paginate_current_page]; } else { $paginate_top_section = 1; $paginate_bottom_section = 0; } $paginate_self = '&' . $_SERVER['QUERY_STRING'] . '&'; $paginate_self = preg_replace("/&page=[^&]*&/", "&", $paginate_self); $paginate_self = substr($paginate_self, 1, strlen($paginate_self) - 1); if($paginate_self == '&') $paginate_self = ''; else $paginate_self = htmlentities($paginate_self); $paginate_self = basename($_SERVER['PHP_SELF']) . "?${paginate_self}page"; ?> Posted by Kristina at May 12, 2005 10:52 AM