Reports of more strict regulations on natural supplements and health products have been circulating for years, and now the effects are being felt in Canada, where a popular line of natural bug sprays is being pulled from store shelves.
According to a report from CBC News’ website, Health Canada is planning to pull scores of citronella-based bug sprays from store shelves by the end of the year due to alleged “safety questions.”
The sprays are based on natural citronella oil, an essential oil that has been used safely across the world for thousands of years to repel insects, especially the bothersome disease-carrying mosquito.
As the CBC News report notes, some scientists who advised the governing body on the issue are “befuddled” by the ban, which will deprive millions of one of the most commonly used and effective natural remedies for a simple everyday problem.
Customers Have No Choice But to Use Synthetic Chemicals?
Due to the ban on such citronella oils, many will now have to turn to synthetic chemical-based sprays made with DEET.
The number one active ingredient in many insect repellant sprays, the manufacturers swear by its safety, but there are concerns about potential neurotoxicity according to a 2009 study noted in this Science Daily article. Synthetic bug sprays based on DEET can also cause irritation in people who are especially sensitive.
Despite evidence of harm that DEET may be capable of causing, natural sprays are the ones under attack by mandates that call their safety into question, including those made from small companies and even neighborhood co-ops.
While some companies went out of business in 2012 when they first went into effect, others chose to challenge the ban, but will see their time run out at the end of this year.
Health Canada: Pay Up for Testing or Risk Ban
In Canada, the insect repellents industry falls under strict regulations for safety standards because they are classified as pesticides, but many producers of natural citronella based bug sprays don’t have the necessary funds to submit the high amount of safety data necessary to keep selling.
One scientist, toxicologist Sam Kacew, was on the independent scientific panel for Health Canada in 2005 and said that citronella safety studies are flawed considering they’re based on what happened when rodents swalloed the oil.
He added that the panel found citronella is safe as long as it doesn’t contain the potentially carcinogenic chemical eugenol, and most of the oils available did not in fact contain them, the article said.
One company, Druide based in Montreal, needed $1 million just to fund a study on “many generations of animals.” The company doesn’t allow animal testing for ethical reasons and thus accepted its fate, getting rid of its best-selling citronella spray at the government’s request.
Citronella is an extract from lemon grass but is not a strong candidate for expensive studies because it is natural and cannot be patented.
Customers who want to purchase the natural oil based products can still buy them by crossing the border into the U.S., but that’s likely to be no consolation for the natural product makers who will be driven out of business in the coming months.
You can sign a petition against the last phase of the ban by clicking here. You can also “like” AltHealthWORKS on Facebook by clicking here.