Noxious bug repellents carry heavy risksThe next time you slather on a conventional insect spray or lotion, think about this: DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide)-based repellents have a long history of serious side effects. Developed in the 1940s, DEET is used to deter biting insects like mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers and black flies. Unfortunately, this protection comes at a cost. DEET is linked with behavioral changes and brain cell death in laboratory tests. Frequent and prolonged use impairs motor coordination, learning, memory and concentration. Muscle and join pain, headaches, fatigue as well as tremors and shortness of breath also occur. Considering approximately one-third of the U.S. population uses DEET-based products, safe alternatives are needed. As luck would have it, creating natural repellents is easier than you may think.