DEET:Caution Flags Are Raised
A recent study of the effects of DEET has raised some caution flags. DEET (N,N-diethyl-met-toluamide) has been a mainstay of bug repellents since 1946. A new study has raised questions about its action on nerve tissue and information transmission between nerve cells. The DEET study was not conducted on whole animals. It was conducted on cells in test tubes and may not apply completely to a live animal.
Powerful bug repellant DEET may do more than keep mosquitoes and other biting critters at bay–it might cause neurological damage in mammals, according to a study published in BioMed Central Biology.
The instructions on a DEET container give special directions to apply the bug repellent on very small children. The caution could be extended to warning not to spray or rub on skin that has been compromised either by cuts or abrasions. Pregnant women must balance the risks of mosquito bourne diseases against possible side effects.