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Thread: Please educate me on Permethrin-treated garments

  1. #1
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    Question Please educate me on Permethrin-treated garments

    An old friend in UK recently sent me a British Forces-issue field shirt in MTP Pattern. It's nice. Tags attached say it's treated with Permethrin and not to wash it with other clothing. Concerning.

    I asked a colleague here who hikes the mountains regularly about Permethrin and told him about said garment. "Effective against mosquitoes," he told me, "but bear in mind it's a neurotoxin. I wouldn't have it next to my skin if I didn't have to."

    Since my active duty days are 20 years behind me and I just wander about the hills and woods appreciating nature, now, there's no work requirement for me to wear treated clothing. Mosquitoes are here but malaria is long gone, and I'm not headed to the Middle East, ever.

    Is this shirt safe to use and wear, regularly? Or is the safer bet to simply hang it up as a collectible and use something else? Thanks in advance for any guidance.

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    I doubt if there is any permethrin left in the shirt one year after manufacturing. And permethrin is used as a personal insect spray and in lotions.

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    I explicitly remember being issued permethrin treated ACUs that I wore during summer training in Alaska. Same with the issued mosquito bed nets.

    I have no idea about any long term effects of it. However, day to day use won't show any ill effects...long term, no clue. To be honest, I just use sprays versus treated clothes while hiking and camping, so if the permethrin concerns you, then it may just be worth it to avoid them altogether and keep doing what you're doing.

    I personally wouldn't think twice about wearing it once in a while.

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    I believe it works against ticks as well. Which is something we need here in NE Indiana this year. Just now end of April and they are BAD already
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    Permethrin is an effective, relatively long term clothing treatment option for keeping off pests and the like. I've had more than a couple sets of ACUs that were treated with it, and you can buy permethrin spray at sporting goods stores for treating your clothing. Great for hunters, hikers, fishermen, etc, especially with the rise of lone star ticks carrying Alpha Gal syndrome. I'm sure it'll eventually be shown to have some sort of negative impact on wearing it regularly, but I'll take that risk over getting bit by a lone star tick and developing Alpha Gal. I enjoy my steaks too much to risk that.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HHollow View Post
    I doubt if there is any permethrin left in the shirt one year after manufacturing.
    Insect Shield is rated to last through 70 washings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Disciple View Post
    Insect Shield is rated to last through 70 washings.
    Chemicals are an occupation for me so forgive the detail.

    First of all, never believe a vendor because he wants to you to buy and will twist facts. The insectshield.com link makes some crazy claims. Firstly, bleach will most certainly destroy Permethrin because it is a delicate organic chemical. I wager that their claim of surviving 70 launderings means that a trace was still left after using cold water and no soap.

    A more objective description of the properties of Permethrin is here:
    http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/archive/Permtech.html

    The link pretty much describes how Permethrin is sensitive to light and soil bacteria. Add a little moisture and Permethrin decomposes quickly.

    I would expect that a Permethrin treated garment would be ok if stored in a dry dark place. But I would expect to useful Permethrin left on it after a couple of uses and launderings.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by HHollow View Post
    I doubt if there is any permethrin left in the shirt one year after manufacturing. And permethrin is used as a personal insect spray and in lotions.
    I don't know of any insect repellents for use on skin that contain permethrin and the explanation I have seen as the reason for that being given as having a very short life on skin.

    It is the stuff in lice shampoos which is a good reason to keep a bottle handy if ever coming in to contact with juvenile ticks which can deliver hundreds of bites quickly.

    Haven't seem anything about bleach neutralizing permethrin before it's stated service life is up, but dry cleaning chemicals will. I have read a time/washing limit on permethrin acting as an insecticide and after that it acts as a repellant.

    I have never came home with a tick while using permethrin treated clothes even some that are several years old. I get that is somewhat anecdital, but companions that didn't use any protection ended up with several so it does seem to be more than just luck.

    Military manual on using permethrin and other products.

    https://www.med.navy.mil/Portals/62/...PROTECTION.pdf


    Newer version mentioning Picaridin.

    https://www.acq.osd.mil/eie/afpmb/do...uides/tg36.pdf
    Last edited by jsbhike; 05-16-23 at 15:45.

  9. #9
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    The uniforms that are issued now have a small percentage of permethrin in them and are good for 50 washes (per the tag). I remember in 2005 prior to a southeast asia deployment, we had to lay out our uniforms to have them sprayed with permethrin. I have not had any issues with insects while wearing permethrin coated clothing.

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