Skip the bug spray at the cottage

Active ingredient in many insect repellents may be neurotoxic

Researchers have found that the active ingredient in many insect repellents, a chemical called deet, may be toxic to the central nervous system. “We’ve found that deet is not simply a behavior-modifying chemical but also inhibits the activity of a key central nervous system enzyme, acetycholinesterase, in both insects and mammals,” says Vincent Corbel, lead author of the study. The enzyme acetylcholinesterase is the target of many Alzheimer’s dementia drugs and nerve gases. The study also showed the effects of deet are amplified when used in combination with other neurotoxic insecticides. “These findings question the safety of deet,” says Corbel, “particularly in combination with other chemicals.”

Science Daily