Research Links DEET Mosquito Repellents to Nerve Damage

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.

Subscribe to my free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more.  Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.


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Aud Nordby
Aud n4 years ago


Kim W.
Kim W5 years ago

DEET is bad, get use to the fact that chemicals are not our friends. Check our website we have a great essential oil bug repellent that YES it does work, and YES it is not expensive, and YES i will share the recipe. Get over your self, even if you are stacked with MD knowledge, you cannot lie and say chemicals are our friends.

Ela V.
Ela V5 years ago


Yankee G.
Yankee G.5 years ago

You failed to mention Geraniol. According to laboratory and field studies by the University of Florida in Gainesville, Geraniol, the active ingredient in BugBand insect repellent, has been proven effective in repelling a wide variety of insects, including mosquitoes, house flies, stable flies, horn flies, cockroaches, fire ants, fleas, gnats, dog ticks, lone star ticks, and no-see-ums

Sagiia R.
Sagiia R5 years ago

Sorry Judi and Diane but natural remedies DO work. Why would you risk exposing your self or your child to known neuro toxins when there are safe and effective, some even more effective, alternatives. And I have never heard of AIDs being spread by mosquitos.

Dianne Lynn Elko
Past Member 5 years ago

Agreed with you Judi,I got bit by a tick and got Lyme Disease from it.Also am an R.N. and agree with your information you posted.Let me see--- Deet,with possability of nerve damage(not proven)--or Aids,Mylariea,and Lyme Disease,among other diseases caused by ticks and mosquitios......

Dianne Lynn Elko
Past Member 5 years ago

Agreed Judi,I am an R.N. and I agree with you.Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Rosie Jolliffe
Rosie Lopez5 years ago

it should be banned! thnx for sharing!

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad5 years ago

Like I've said previously, this Deet is sheer poison!

Aurora H.
Past Member 5 years ago

Try pinning a sheet of fabric softener on your clothes--it works! You may need more than one sheet, depending on the voracity and number of mosquitos!