Jeff Sheppard, Attorney in New Jersey Asks: How Safe is DEET?

Posted on: June 11, 2018
NEW JERSEY. According to the number of lyme disease cases in New Jersey is on the rise. In 2017, there were 5,092 cases reported in the state. According to Mayo Clinic, lyme disease often develops after a person suffers a tick bite. Not all tick bites result in lyme disease, but ticks are known carriers, especially in New Jersey. After a person is bitten by a tick, they may develop a “bull’s eye” rash, or ring of irritation around the bite. After the rash, a victim may begin to experience flu like symptoms. It is important to receive treatment for lyme disease as soon as possible. Left untreated, individuals can suffer a lifetime of joint pain, neurological problems, muscle weakness, and even paralysis. If you’ve been bitten by a tick, and see any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor as soon as possible,

One way to prevent tick bites and lyme disease is to wear long sleeve clothing (which isn’t always practical in the summer) or to use insect repellent. The problem is that many of the effective insect repellants often use DEET. The question is: is DEET safe? According to Outside Online, 200 million people use DEET to prevent mosquito and tick bites every year.

Studies on DEET have found some troubling results. For example, DEET can build up in the bodies of freshwater fish over time, even accumulating to levels that can be lethal. DEET can also be deadly if individuals overuse the substance. There are have been deaths due to deliberate ingestion of DEET, two deaths due to skin exposure, and three deaths of children who were overexposed to the chemical through regular use.

DEET has also been found to damage human DNA and among Everglades National Park workers who use DEET often, researchers found that park workers were at risk of cramps and insomnia.

While DEET may pose risks, it isn’t likely that we’ll see personal injury lawsuits against the chemical anytime soon. Outside Magazine analyzed the number of health incidents arising from DEET use as opposed to Tylenol and it found that DEET was safer. Furthermore, when you factor in the real risks that mosquito and tick-carried illnesses pose to human health, DEET proves effective and safe. So, as long as you’re not completely soaking your body in DEET many times a day, you should be just fine and probably should use it regularly.

As summer approaches, other hazards remain far greater—like slip and fall injuries near pools, drowning, boat accidents, and car accidents due to distracted driving. If you plan to enjoy water activities over the summer, now is the time for a boat refresher course or maybe a swimming lesson or water safety course for the kids.

Jeff Sheppard, Esq. is a personal injury lawyer in New Jersey who closely watches how accidents affect the community. If you have a question about accident law or personal injury, reach out to our firm today at

Jeff Sheppard, Esq.
750 White Horse Pike
Hammonton, NJ 08037
Phone: 609-605-2717