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> > Permethrin clothing...thumbs down

Jkrah123April 19th, 2010, 3:57 pm

Posts: 2
I've noticed permethrin clothing is becoming more popular. I was very dissapointed to open my "Twenty Ten" Simms catalog to see they are offering such clothing.

I'd like to say I have Simms waders and (felt) boots and I love them.

Here's my gripe (with Simms): Permethrin is toxic to fish (especially Oncorhyncus and Salvelinus) and it's water soluble.

Uh...hello...anybody home...

So Simms makes a big deal out how bad felt-sole boots are because they will transport if the laces, mesh, seams, etc. don't. Just a stupid trend, which coincidentally requires all "consciensus" anglers to buy new boots. $$$ for Simms, and a super-soft rubber surely won't wear out soon right...$$$ new boots more often.

So Simms wants to avoid the spread of mussel larvae or viruses...kudos, but they'll take your money and hand you a poison soaked shirt! Don't transport algae, but go ahead and directly poison that lil' brookie.

Regardless of what the advertising says, it's water soluble, it's toxic, and you'll get your arms in the water near fish. By the way it's a known carcinogen, also causes Gulf War Syndrome.

Jason: I hope advertising $, doesn't cause you to take this down.
TroutnutApril 19th, 2010, 5:48 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2547
Although it may change in the future, so far I don't work directly with any of my advertisers. All the ads are automatically brokered through Google: they decide (all automatically by computer, of course) what they think my site is about, and show the ads they think are most on-topic. No link in that system cares what somebody on my forum says about some product or another. :)
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
MartinlfApril 19th, 2010, 8:17 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2927
Cost, if nothing else, would keep me from buying buzz off shirts, but I'm happy to learn a good reason to avoid them if I were ever tempted.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Shawnny3April 19th, 2010, 9:17 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Wow - I sure wouldn't want to wear anything intentionally infused with toxins (well, I suppose I do spray DEET directly on my skin, which I'm sure has some sort of mild toxicity).

Without having researched it at all (which has never stopped me from having opinions before) I have to question the claim that the ingredient in question is water soluble. If it was, then the material would be rendered useless at first washing or wading. I would find it VERY surprising if that were the case. That's not to say it couldn't leach into your skin from prolonged exposure, but there is no way this material is put into fishing gear in a water-soluble form. Just no way.

Even if the toxin were water-soluble to some degree, to think that the amount being shed by your clothes could contaminate to any significant degree a stream you're wading or a fish you're handling sounds to me (as a chemist) ridiculous. If we're talking about something that is actually efficacious in preventing the spread of organisms deadly to streams and fish, then in a world of instant travel, it's probably better than nothing. Let's put it this way - I'd love to know that the guy visiting my home stream didn't bring some awful organism with him on his boots. But I'd be skeptical of its efficacy, as well.

My only concern would be for myself. I hope that doesn't sound selfish and environmentally obtuse of me. I have been accused of those things before...

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
MartinlfApril 20th, 2010, 7:47 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2927
Interesting, Shawn. They do note that the bug off effect only lasts through a certain number of washings. But you're certainly right that it's not likely that one could poison a whole stream with a dip or two up to the sleeves--or a thorough dunking. I still am not sure I'd want the stuff being absorbed by my skin, if that's possible.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
CaseyPApril 20th, 2010, 6:36 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
my buzz-off shirts claim it will take 20 or more washings to render them ineffective, i.e. wash out all the juice with warm water with soap. and they work. i roll my sleeves up before i put my arm into the stream. i'll take one of these shirts over Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus any day. Virginia has both.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
TroutnutApril 20th, 2010, 10:38 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2547
I had a lot of Buzz-off stuff and stopped wearing it a few years ago. It irritated my skin quite a bit, at least when it was getting wet all the time and sticking to me. I wasn't getting mosquito-bitten through my shirt, but so what? That's not the main problem, anyway. It was never strong enough to keep them from biting the exposed skin near my shirt, which was the real problem.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Jkrah123April 21st, 2010, 1:29 pm

Posts: 2
I agree with most of what you've written Shawn and it wasn't my intent to insinuate that an entire reach could be poisoned (now hoping that I didn't lay down some typo to be misunderstood in perpetuity) I will maintain that the chemical is water soluble. All of the, few, companies I have come across that sell such clothing come right out and state that the chemical is lost through washing. There is certainly a chance, however slim it might be, for a fish to be affected adversely through direct contact.

I guess my main point, a rant, and apparently poorly wriiten... was to point out a bit of hypocracy that I believe exists within a company well reputed by most fly anglers.

What likely belies such issues is the "ecology" accepted by clubs, organizations and private companies to be profound but could be better described as TRENDS.

Shawnny3April 21st, 2010, 6:26 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Agreed, Jkrah, that marketing gimmicks often give the illusion of environmental conscientiousness. A perfect example is the label "green," which people now attach to literally anything they want to sell, from lightbulbs to laundry detergent. And I fear the gimmicks of the green revolution are just beginning.

Before anyone agrees with anything I said, perhaps someone ought to do a little more research than I did (which was none whatsoever). I was only taking issue with the idea that water soluble toxins would be used in fishing clothing. I misread your initial post, Jkrah - I thought you were implying that Permethrin was used in wading boots and laces to kill off undesirable organisms before they were transported from stream to stream. I didn't realize it was just an insecticide and you were just making a comparison of "greenness" with a totally different product Simms offers (the felt-less boots). My apologies for that knee-jerk response with 0% facts and 100% conjecture - I didn't really know what you were talking about, much less what I was talking about.

I've since read up a little on Permethrin. Permethrin is a synthetic insecticide similar to DDT that additionally tends to harm many cold-blooded species by blocking sodium receptors (it's a neurotoxin, like many other pesticides). While toxicity in humans is low and it is often used to treat lice and ticks, it's a suspected carcinogen (like virtually everything synthetic, I suppose). It has a low solubility in water, about 0.2 mg/L, but that's enough to make it wash out of clothing after several wash cycles. Toxic levels to fish are typically somewhere between 1 ppb and 1 ppm - it's VERY toxic to fish. 0.2 mg/L corresponds, if my calculations are correct, to about 10 ppb. So a saturated solution of Permithrin COULD have a toxic effect on a fish, but probably only to certain species and only with its direct exposure to a nearly saturated solution (possibly, I suppose, by smearing the fish with your soaked shirt prior to release?). I'd still say the chances of harming a single fish would be unlikely, but not completely out of the realm of reason.

What's a much more likely cause of fish exposure is Permethrin's widespread use by farmers to kill insects on food crops. Even though Permethrin breaks down quickly in water, the levels present in runoff from fields could potentially, I suppose, reach high (and sustained) levels for long enough not only to impact A fish but an entire stream. Permethrin has been measured in streams due to such run-off, and aquatic insect populations have been shown to suffer immediately following streamside sprayings, but large-scale fish kills haven't been observed (from what I've read).

Perhaps THIS should have been my first response. My apologies to all for my initial, ignorant, post. Hope this is a little more helpful to the discussion.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
MartinlfApril 22nd, 2010, 5:47 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2927
Acquiring knowledge is a process. It may start with conjecture and when it does conjecture is often the catalyst. I like the way folks interact here to examine opinion and to give others the chance to take a second look and gather more information. I've been corrected more than once in posts on this forum and am happy to have been disabused of a few incorrect notions. And then sometimes I've been right. Or at least still think so.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WiflyfisherApril 22nd, 2010, 6:56 am

Posts: 604
Last Fall I bought a can of the stuff to spray on my bird hunting clothes to protect from deer ticks. I haven't used it as of yet, but I can't help wonder what effect it might have on my health. But with all the ticks in the woods lately I also worry more about them.

By the way, I tie all "eco-friendly" flies using mainly all natural materials and sometimes I recycle my hooks too. :-)
John S.
RleePApril 23rd, 2010, 11:44 am
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 382
Here's my insect protection program:

1) Long sleeves, even when it is hot. This has the added benefit of offering at least some protection from the radiation emitted by the huge fusion reactor in the sky.

2) Head net ($1.99 at WallyWorld) wore over top of my official Pennsylvania Game Commission ball hat, when the bugs are bad enough. I've worn 2 behind the ear hearing aids for the last 30 years and I'm not about to expose the plastic cases on them to DEET, not at two grand a pop, I'm not.

3) No more collapsing face first in the high grass along the stream when I'm too pooped to walk any more. Now, I find a log and sit on it like a gentleman. This has reduced my exposure to ticks by at least 2/3.

4) Back of the hand speed slapping exercises. I try to do 5 series of 20 reps each 3 times a week all winter. Before I started this routine, I was only getting 1 out of every 5 deerflies that landed on my knuckles and less than half the mosquitos. Now, I'm up to 60% on deerflies and close to 90% on mosquitos.

No Permethrin or DEET for me...
MartinlfApril 23rd, 2010, 1:22 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2927
Head net. Good idea.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GutcutterApril 23rd, 2010, 6:28 pm

Posts: 470
no thanks. i'll use the deet and the 50 sunblock. don't see the need to buy fancy insect repelling clothes when i have been using muskol since i was a kid.
don't really worry about things such as this. yeah, a train load of permethin spilled into a river would probably be pretty bad, but come on guys...
i'll bet all of the children dying of malaria in africa worship rachel carson
show me facts. not emotions.
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
TroutnutApril 24th, 2010, 10:55 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2547
In addition to head net and long sleeves: gloves, even when it's hot. I basically need to do that for my field work during the worst mosquito months here in Fairbanks. They're not the worst mosquitoes I've been in, but they're nearly tied.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
RleePApril 24th, 2010, 11:27 am
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 382
>>i'll bet all of the children dying of malaria in africa worship rachel carson
show me facts. not emotions.>>

The entire DDT thing is an apples vs. oranges canard where Carson was right in her warnings about the impacts of large scale agricultural use of DDT, but those who try and invoke her warnings to stop the much smaller use of the chemical to treat entrance ways to domiciles and meeting places in malaria-prone regions are wrong. So, its not an either/or thing. Its just one more example of how the public dialogue on these matters has gone right down the tubes in our current say-anything culture.

You expressed an interest in facts. I'm happy to oblige...;)
GutcutterApril 25th, 2010, 8:05 pm

Posts: 470
fact: most african countries had 70% of their population infected with malaria in the mid to late 1950's.

fact: ddt was then used as pesticide to kill the vector

fact: malaria incidence decreases to under 5% by 1964

fact: silent spring published in 1962

fact: ddt spraying banned because of "enviornmental concerns" raised in carson's book

fact: by 1984 the incidence of malaria was back up to 50-60%

just wanted to make sure that the "facts" were out there for all to see.
if you would like to continue, please pm me or lets fish together and talk about it. i'm sure that the folks on this forum aren't interested in our banter.
if we are in the rockies - we will be able to see some bald eagles which in "fact" have markedly increased since the ddt ban
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
MartinlfApril 26th, 2010, 9:43 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2927
I actually find the DDT discussion interesting. Lee's point seems to be that it's not Carson's fault that some misapplied her warning. Sometimes well-intentioned governments make mistakes by not fully weighting all the risks and benefits of a policy. In sorting out policy for such situations, at times some person in power actually should have known better; at other times outcomes are too complex to predict or fully comprehend before trial and error shows the way. It's not always easy to see which. It appears to me that in a selective and careful use of DDT to control malaira the benefits ourweigh the risks. I do believe that we, however, need to be a lot more careful than we generally are about what we allow in the air and water, not only for the sake of the mayflies, bees, birds, and the fishes, but also for our own sakes.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
RleePApril 26th, 2010, 3:44 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 382
>>I actually find the DDT discussion interesting. Lee's point seems to be that it's not Carson's fault that some misapplied her warning.>>

Thank You, Louis..

Now I don't have to respond at length as that was precisely my point.

The zealots who made the selective use of DDT for malaria control difficult are only matched in the sloppy thinking, lack of discernment department by the zealots who blame Carson and her book for the entire problem.

Tony, I'd love to fish the Rockies with you, but I'm a little reluctant to leave the better fishing I have in Wisconsin...:)
NhflyguyMay 19th, 2013, 6:08 am

Posts: 1
Do your research and know the product before you desparge it
I have used Permethrin clothing and spray for the past three years with great success. I did extensive reading about it before I started using it on my clothes which I use to primarily protect me from ticks. It is the only thing that really works all day long. My work and play puts me in direct contact with ticks and tick habitat and since a tick almost killed me three years ago I use all means to keep them at bay. If you read thoroughly about permethrin, it only bonds to fabric and once bound there does not wash off. It becomes inaffective when the clothing fibers a loosened from washing and then when dried become caught in the lint trap. The military has been using the DOD system with Permethrin treated clothes as the base of the system since the late 1980's in order top protect troops from zoonotic diseases. Since these diseases seem to be growing every year, and since I have first hand experience I have adopted this same system in protecting myself from insects. Now if you are spraying this stuff next to a stream and all over the place that is a whole seperate issue, but using it on clothing or purchasing pre treated clothing is the smartest thing to do for protecting yourself from ticks. I have had no reactions to the treated clothes I use every day during bug season, which for us in the northeast is march through Dec for the deer ticks. I would be more worried about getting bit by a tick than being paranoid about permethrin.

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