DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide), a common ingredient in mosquito repellents, has been linked to nerve damage.
A new study by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, published in the Journal of Neurochemistry, found that DEET-based mosquito repellents interfere with proper nerve signals, disrupt the hormone dopamine needed for healthy brain function, and invoke chemical mechanisms associated with neurological disorders and nerve degeneration.
Earlier studies have also linked DEET to brain damage. Duke University researchers found that the toxin is linked to brain cell damage, harmful interactions with some medications, and behavioral changes. The scientists also observed brain cell death and behavioral changes in animals exposed to DEET after frequent and prolonged use.
According to the chemical industry’s own material safety data sheets, the toxic effects of diethyl-meta-toluamide include: reproductive disturbances, genetic material mutations, and central nervous system disorders.
The effects may be worse in children since their brains and nervous systems are in the developmental stages. Instead of spraying yourself or your family members with DEET-based mosquito repellents, why not give the natural options a try? Some have even been proven to be more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET.