After a long and cold winter here at the Restek headquarters in Bellefonte, PA, USA it seems that spring is finally here! It is so nice this time of year to get outside and enjoy the weather and the beautiful outdoors that Pennsylvania has to offer. Unfortunately after a hike in the woods there is always the required tick check. Ticks are nasty little arachnids and can carry a number of diseases, including Lyme disease. I’ve had to pull a few off of myself, but animals seem to be even more susceptible to getting ticks since they are closer to the ground and walk through the grass and brush where ticks like to hide out. Repellants like DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can be applied on exposed skin and clothing to protect from ticks. Permethrin containing products can also be used to treat clothing and other outdoor gear that may be exposed. It is always important to read the application instructions carefully and apply the product only as directed (for you and your animals!).
Another thing to consider is that many of these topical treatments and other personal care products eventually end up in our streams and lakes. Jack Cochran and I, with the help of Cory Fix, worked on a project where we were using GCxGC-TOFMS to evaluate the Las Vegas Wash, an urban river that flows into Lake Mead. In order to see very low levels of both targeted and non-targeted analytes we took 4L of wash through a disk extraction and concentrated to a final volume of 1 mL. We found a lot of interesting things in that water and of course DEET was one of them!