Health Canada cares about keeping Canadians safe, even if that means ruffling a few feathers. That’s why the government agency is moving to ban all citronella-based insect repellants. The decision has sparked criticism from environmentalist losers, but Health Canada isn’t willing to budge. Nor should it. In the absence of adequate safety data for citronella-based products, no other move makes sense.
Citronella, an oil derived from lemongrass, has been registered as an insect repellant in the United States for over 50 years. So how are we still alive? According to the US EPA, laboratory studies have demonstrated that it is minimally toxic, and therefore not harmful to the environment. If used properly, the US EPA does not expect that citronella is harmful to humans. These EPA reports strongly support one conclusion: ecomaniac hippies control the US EPA.
Despite its history as a safe repellant in the U.S. (the US EPA is not moving to ban citronella repellants), there is irrefutable evidence that citronella is a dangerous substance in Canada. In 2005, a review panel examined evidence that suggested that citronella might be harmful. The study in question found that citronella caused health problems in rodents that consumed it. In the worlds of public health and risk assessment, that’s as cut-and-dry as it gets. No need for a review…pull citronella off the shelves immediately!
Since citronella is dangerous and bugs still pose public health risks, it makes sense to replace citronella repellants with something safer. Thankfully, such a substance exists. Like citronella, it has been around for several decades. It’s called DEET. It’s a known toxic that messes with the central nervous system, and it has caused several deaths via dermal exposure in adults and children since it was registered as an insect repellant in the 1950s. While it hasn’t caused many deaths, any number exceeds the zero caused by dermal exposure to citronella (there is evidence of death by citronella consumption, but not by dermal exposure). So, logically, DEET is safer than citronella, because people drink bug repellant. Wait, no, they don’t. Since DEET has caused several deaths via consumption, there’s no way Health Canada would permit the sale of DEET-based repellants. Yet it is. And there’s a reason why.
DEET is allowed because it is a symbol of progress, of man’s ability to synthesize chemicals that can kill things. Sure, citronella could repel bugs, but it was so peaceful in its approach that it didn’t really fit Canada’s new image. It was too natural, too environmentalist to be effective. These days, Canada is a country at war, and no one wins wars with an essential oil derived from lemongrass. Health Canada knows that Canada is a winner. We derive our essential oil from tar sands, and we repel insects with DEET.