Archive for Saturday, 1 April 2017

DEET-free insect repellent that really works! Natrapel®


It’s about time – a DEET-free insect repellent that really works! Natrapel® provides 8+ hours of protection from mosquitos, ticks and other biting insects, thanks to its CDC-recommended 20% Picaridin formula. Unlike ineffective DEET alternatives, Picaridin is the only formula that consistently shows equal or better performance than DEET in independent, clinical tests. Even better, Natrapel®  is completely safe on gear and will not melt clothing, jackets, fishing line, and other synthetic materials. The 6 oz. continuous spray bottle provides effortless, even application.

  • CDC-Recommended Formula
    20% Picaridin is the recommended concentration to guard against diseases transmitted by insects including the Zika Virus, West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Lyme Disease, and Dengue Fever.
  • Easy to Apply/Easy on the Air
    Eco-Spray can delivers even, continuous spray without releasing harmful aerosols.
  • Safe on Your Gear
    DEET-Free formula won’t melt jackets, fishing line, and other plastics.
  • Lasts All Day
    Enjoy 8-plus hours of tick & mosquito protection!

Active ingredients

Picaridin 20%

Effectiveness Aedes Mosquitoes (hrs.)


Effectiveness Culex Mosquitoes (hrs.)


Effectiveness Deer Ticks (hrs.)


® 8-hour provides 8+ hours of protection from biting insects and ticks. This protection is due to its CDC-recommended 20% Picaridin formula. Unlike ineffective DEET alternatives, Something as simple as an insect repellent and bite treatment are guaranteed to make any trip more comfortable and safe. Our new travel-friendly size of Natrapel is easy to carry, apply and offer long lasting protection.”

Posted Saturday, 1 April 2017 by Culebra Snorkeling and Dive Center in Culebra Posts & Reviews

Personal Care and Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid

Personal Care and Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid

There are no federal regulations defining the use of words like ‘natural’ or ‘green’ when it pertains to biodegradable sunscreens, personal care products or cosmetics. Some brands will add a very small percentage of an ingredient in their products, then put safe, natural, green or organic on the label. This is not only misleading, but is not cool! The chemist, the explorer and the environmentalist all wish for a world where every consumer reads the ingredients panel of every product they choose to use… and begins to pick out some ingredients that may not only be harmful to your body, but also to our fragile marine environment. Here are some key body care and sunscreen ingredients to avoid that we’d like you to be conscious of:

Benzophenone-3, also know as Oxybenzone

A very common ingredient in FDA approved sunscreens. Very effective at reducing UV exposure, it is also classified as a hazardous irritant for eye contact and slightly hazardous for direct skin contact. ( This ingredient penetrates the skin and is also used to help other chemicals penetrate the skin. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 97 percent of Americans have this chemical circulating in our bodies. Also listed as a direct cause of coral bleaching by Robert Davanero et al – there is strong cause to avoid all products using this ingredient: (

Cylcopentasiloxane / Cyclomethicone

Silicone-based ingredients that are used in skin and hair care products. They soften the skin and smooth hair follicles, but they’ve also been shown to be toxic and to bio-accumulate in aquatic organisms. They are also suspected to be reproductive toxins and endocrine disruptors.

Formaldehyde, Diazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM Hydantoin and Hydroxymethylglycinate

Formaldehyde – you won’t see formaldehyde listed on any of your personal care products, but many of the preservatives that have been used as paraben replacements RELEASE formaldehyde! Diazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM Hydantoin andHydroxymethylglycinate are all formaldehyde releasers. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified formaldehyde as a human carcinogen. It is also an ecotoxin.


Another very common sunscreen ingredient that, for health concerns, is limited to less than 10% in a formula by the FDA. Its used as a UV absorber that helps sunscreen ingredients penetrate your skin. It bio-accumulates in the body faster than it can be eliminated and is considered a hormone disrupter.


A widely used and very effective preservative. It is considered a sensitizer and irritant, is associated with allergic reactions, and lab studies are suggesting that it may be a neurotoxin. It is also considered an ecotoxin.


Most commonly used in cleansers and exfoliants, but also found in other personal care products like toothpastes. Because they are so fine, most wastewater treatment plants cannot filter these and they end up in the environment. These have been found in fish and other aquatic species.

Nano particles

These are insoluble or biopersistant materials with a size of 1 to 100 nanometers, which can be up to 100,000 times smaller than a human hair! Nanomaterials can react in the body and environment differently from the same material that is non-nano. Although manufacturers have stated that nanoparticles are safe, there are still concerns among scientists. A recent study has shown that zinc oxide nanoparticles, even in extremely low concentrations, caused significant developmental disorders in sea life ( When nano sunscreens wash off people’s bodies, they can harm our environment. If you are using a mineral sunscreen, zinc or titanium, make sure it is non-nano grade.


A synthetic UV absorber and SPF booster. It may cause allergic reactions in those with sensitive skin and has been shown to bio-accumulate in the body.

Oxtinoxate / Octyl methoxycinnamate

Also a commonly used UV filter approved by the FDA for use in sunscreens. It is absorbed through the skin and has been found in human urine, blood and breast milk, showing that it is systematically absorbed. It is an endocrine disruptor that can mimic hormones. Also listed as a direct cause for coral bleaching by Robert Davanero et al – there is strong cause to avoid all products using this ingredient:


Including propylparaben, benzylparaben, methylparaben and butylparaben are commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria, yeast and molds in personal care products like shampoos, lotions and sunscreens. These ingredients can mimic the hormone estrogen which has been known to contribute to breast cancer and can also mimic other hormones in the body. The good news is that many brands, including many in the main-stream, have recognized the cause for concern and will clearly label their products as ‘paraben-free’, but many still use this effective and inexpensive preservative. Read your labels, friends!


Commonly found in synthetic fragrances, block male hormones and can interfere with normal genitalia development. High levels can cause sluggish sperm and low testosterone levels in adult males. These are also classified as endocrine disruptors that can interfere with normal brain function. Although this doesn’t guarantee there are no phthalates in the formula, look for fragrances that are designated as ‘natural’ or derived from essential oils. Some companies will also state phthalate free on their labels or in their marketing literature.


A very effective, broad antimicrobial ingredient preservative that is suspected to be a formaldehyde releaser. Used in low concentrations, it is still classified as a skin, eye, and respiratory irritant. According to The North American Contact Dermatitis Group considers quaternium-15 to be among the most clinically significant contact allergens in children.

Retinyl Palmitate

Often found in many cosmetics and skin care products, is composed of palmitic acid and retinol (Vitamin A). When exposed to UV light (or sunshine), retinol compounds break down and produce toxic free radicals that can damage the skin. The FDA has raised concern that extensive, daily skin application of vitamin A creams may build up a high enough level of Vitamin A that may be toxic to a developing fetus.

Sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate (SLS/SLES)

A surfactant, detergent and emulsifier that creates lots of lather in shampoos and body washes. Although SLS is ‘derived from coconuts,’ the resulting molecule is VERY different from any coconut we’ve ever seen. A quick look at the ingredient’s MSDS sheet shows lots of potential for concern. They have been mentioned in nearly 16,000 studies in the PubMed science library about the toxicity of this chemical. Although the suppliers maintain that actual health risk varies based on the level of exposure to the ingredient, we maintain that it is the gradual, long term exposure that really counts and encourage you to avoid using this ingredient in any of your body care products. If that wasn’t enough to deter you, SLS is also listed as ‘toxic to aquatic organisms’

Zinc Oxide

Yes, Zinc is found naturally in the environment and in seawater; however, we are suggesting that you use extreme caution when choosing zinc based sunscreens that are promoted as ‘clear’ or ‘transparent.’ Some of these dispersions have the ability of offering a transparent zinc without having to use nano particles. BUT if you review the MSDS sheet of these materials – even the all natural version used in natural products – they are all listed as marine pollutants and have ‘a component listed as highly toxic to aquatic organisms.’ Some of these have ‘Attention! Highly toxic to fish and/or other aquatic organisms’ listed on first page of MSDS, others are buried under Section 12 of the MSDS sheet.

Posted Saturday, 1 April 2017 by Culebra Snorkeling and Dive Center in Culebra Posts & Reviews

Biodegradable Ocean and Coral Reef Safe Sunscreens

Biodegradable Ocean and Coral Reef Safe Sunscreens

The Concern: Certain ingredients in sunscreens are toxic to corals and reef fishes. Studies have shown that sunscreens worn by swimmers, divers, snorkelers, fishermen and general “aquaholics” contributed to the decline of coral reefs. Between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen washes off into our coral reefs every year and accelerates the process of coral reefs bleaching, as well being toxic to certain reef fish species.

Common sunscreen ingredients, such as Benzophenone-3, also know as Oxybenzone, can bleach coral and damage coral reefs. Cylcopentasiloxane/Cyclomethicone are silicone-based ingredients, used in skin and hair care products, have also been shown to be toxic and to bio-accumulate in aquatic organisms. They are also suspected to be reproductive toxins and endocrine disruptors. Learn more >

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