Treated clothing designed to keep mosquitos away

July 04, 2004|By Joanna Poncavage | Joanna Poncavage,The Morning Call

The battle of man vs. mosquito has spawned a new tool: clothes that appear normal in every way, except for their built-in repellent that keeps bugs at bay.

"This is the first new development in personal insect protection since DEET," says Haynes Griffin, CEO of Buzz Off Insect Shield of Greensboro, N.C. DEET is the active ingredient in most tick and insect repellents.

The active ingredient in Buzz Off clothing is permethrin, a synthetic version of pyrethrum, a natural insect repellent derived from the flowers of a plant in the chrysanthemum family.

Unlike DEET, which according to studies submitted to the EPA repels mosquitoes and ticks for three to eight hours, Permethrin-treated clothing remains effective through 25 washings.

Griffin says it took eight years to develop the chemistry and machinery, and to get EPA approval to become the first and only company to treat clothes with permethrin to repel mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and midges.

Buzz Off treats clothes made by two companies, Orvis (888-235-9763) and Ex Officio (800-644-7303). Colorless and odorless, the only way you can tell it's there is the bugs aren't biting, says Griffin, and the fabric is just slightly softer.

And Buzz Off clothes are a little more expensive.

Adults' long-sleeved shirts are $69; pants start around $72, and T-shirts at $39. Orvis has a men's sports coat for $169. Ex Officio has children's clothes, including convertible pants for $48, shirts for $44 and tees for $29. Buzz Off bandanas for $12 are top sellers.

The Morning Call, of Allentown, Pa., is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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