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EPA Says Thermacell Products Repel Mosquitoes Carrying Zika

By: Kraig Becker - August 11, 2016

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With the recent discovery of Zika-carrying mosquitoes in Miami, and the well-documented risks of exposure at the Olympic Games in Rio, it seems that a lot of people are expressing concerns about the potentially dangerous virus once again. But for those looking to avoid exposure to the disease, which has been linked to birth defects in newborns, there is some good news to share. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently recognized products made by Thermacell for their ability to fend off insects, including mosquitoes that could carry Zika, making them the first area repellents to receive this distinction.

For those unfamiliar with Thermacell, the company makes an array of products – including wearable devices and camp lanterns – that use a simple and natural process to create a 15x15 foot area free from mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-ums. These devices use a special mat that is saturated with a repellent called allethrin. This material is a synthetic copy of a naturally occurring material that is found in chrysanthemum plants. When heated with butane, the mats release the repellent into the air, essentially creating a no-fly zone for these insects. 

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This zone of protection from the mosquitoes and other bugs lasts for approximately 4 or 12 hours depending on which Thermacell product you are using. It is also a completely silent process that is free from odor and perfectly safe for use around pets and children. The fact that it is effective against mosquitoes carrying Zika makes it a great option for use in places where potential exposure to the virus is a real possibility. 

In the past, we've taken a look at two products from Thermacell, including the Outdoor Lantern and the newer Scout Lantern. In both cases we came away impressed with how effective these lanterns were at keeping biting insects at bay, allowing us to enjoy the outdoors more fully for extended periods of time. The Scout is one of the newer additions to the Thermacell catalog and is capable of using the company's Max Life mats, which will function for up to 12 hours at a time. That, along with the fact that it includes a 220-lumen lantern, makes it a good choice for summer camping trips.

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Having a safe, natural method to keep mosquitoes away is always a nice option for those of us who enjoy being outdoors. But, as the risk of exposure to Zika continues to rise, it could also prove vital to our health as well. Find out more about how these products can help protect you from the virus on the Thermacell website

About the Author

Kraig Becker

Kraig Becker

Kraig Becker is news editor for the Gear Institute. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @kungfujedi

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