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  1. #1

    Default Water Crossings with Permethrin

    So, I know that permethrin is virtually harmless for human skin contact after it dries, but if it wears away after washing, it obviously breaks down and some is lost in the water. I am fairly new to backpacking, and haven't ever used permethrin before. Nervous about areas such as TN and PA, though. Does anyone know if it is harmful to the wildlife (those that live in or just drink the water) to cross water or dip a bandana/buff in the water with permethrin treated clothing? I know that commercial products have a low concentration, but if it kills ticks, it obviously has to have some potency. Thank you so much for your time!

  2. #2
    Registered User Crossup's Avatar
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    Default

    It can survive multiple washings with detergents so the amount you are talking about is so miniscule any dissolved by your action is not harmful and is further diluted by the water. My guess is once it dries its does not go back into solution easy hence the ability to wash treated clothing repeatedly. I think most of the loss of potency is due to "mechanical" mechanisms like rubbing and flexing of fibers in your clothing.
    Ticks are affected because at the scale of a tick they are effectively walking thru a rock garden of permethrin. I would harm you too if you scaled the dose of a tick up by 10000X.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by MoonSeeker View Post
    ....Nervous about areas such as TN and PA, though.
    First, it's awesome you're considering how your activities could affect the resident critters. Thoughtful.

    I don't think you have to seriously worry about ticks in PA--or many states. There are areas in PA where the trail is narrow/may be overgrown, for example, through grassy agric. fields in the south roughly around Boiling Springs. But, I don't think they are tick heavy areas. In the rocky sections of PA, ticks are a very minor concern.
    I don't know TN.

    Also, ticks are one of those things. You'll hear all kinds of opinions (that range from panic to casual disregard) and just have to get out there and find your own level of comfort/safety. If you're overly cautious at some point, no big deal, right? Just work towards something that's comfortable for ya...

  4. #4

    Default

    It isn't water that causes permithrin to work out of treated clothing. The reason they say X number of washes is the agitation of the washing process in the washing machine will slowly work it out over time. You'll notice they don't say, "or X minutes soaking in water." You aren't going to get that sort of agitation in a typical water crossing.

  5. #5
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Default

    From the Sawyer Permethrin "tips & tricks" card: "sweating and exposure to water does not significantly deteriorate the permethrin application. It is the agitation of a washing machine..."

    I'll take that to mean not enough is going to rinse off in a stream crossing to worry about.

  6. #6

    Default

    I agree that the amount washed from in a stream crossing is probably not harmful to the environment. I doubt the EPA would approve its use if it was.
    Below is a link to Lyme disease cases by state, by the CDC. Pennsylvania is definitely a state to worry about.
    https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/datasurveil...ps-recent.html

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    Thumbs down No worry about ticks in PA?

    > I don't think you have to seriously worry about ticks in PA

    As someone who got Lyme Disease while doing a day hike in Pennsylvania, I respectfully disagree.
    The link supplied by gpburdeljr shows that Pennsylvania is ground zero for this disease, which you most definitely do NOT want to get!!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenBear View Post
    > I don't think you have to seriously worry about ticks in PA

    As someone who got Lyme Disease while doing a day hike in Pennsylvania, I respectfully disagree.
    The link supplied by gpburdeljr shows that Pennsylvania is ground zero for this disease, which you most definitely do NOT want to get!!
    Great--thanks for posting this info. and for the link posted by gpburdelljr.
    This is what the OP, MoonSeeker, needs to hear to figure out the best course.

    I'm truly sorry you caught Lyme on a day hike in PA. I know how difficult that can be--and how frustrating from a day hike! I was a bit quick and confident/cavalier with my suggestions.
    That's my experience and how I approach hiking in PA--not for everyone.

    I hope it was helpful that I included that opinions will range from panic to casual disregard. My response is closer to one end.
    I was jumping off topic a bit also--question was about permethrin effects on wildlife, not on whether Lyme is a big concern in PA.
    Thanks.

  9. #9

    Default

    Note to Self-wash my hiking clothes on Delicate Cycle.Also,for people who are curious,google B complex vitamins as a deterrent to tick bite.I do both after having a couple run ins with the bullseye bite and doxycycline which apparently was administered in time.I also have very little interaction with mosquitoes when I take B complex vitamins.

    I did an overnighter in the woods with friends last weekend.They wore shorts,used picardin,I am not sure about permethrin on their gear or not but were besieged with ticks.I had on long pants,treated,with gaiters.Long sleeve treated Aricle Kool shirt and a hat.No problem but found one crawling on my hand and flipped him off.No way to tell how long he was on me or not but I was not bitten.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MoonSeeker View Post
    So, I know that permethrin is virtually harmless for human skin contact after it dries, but if it wears away after washing, it obviously breaks down and some is lost in the water. I am fairly new to backpacking, and haven't ever used permethrin before. Nervous about areas such as TN and PA, though. Does anyone know if it is harmful to the wildlife (those that live in or just drink the water) to cross water or dip a bandana/buff in the water with permethrin treated clothing? I know that commercial products have a low concentration, but if it kills ticks, it obviously has to have some potency. Thank you so much for your time!
    Unfortunately I do not remember where I heard this but permethrin supposedly has little impact on the environment because it breaks down rapidly when it finds its way into water and soil.


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliotrope View Post
    Unfortunately I do not remember where I heard this but permethrin supposedly has little impact on the environment because it breaks down rapidly when it finds its way into water and soil.
    Unfortunately you are mistaken. From the material data safety sheet for permethrin:
    "Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects."
    "Avoid release to the environment."

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