DEET's nastiness extends to humans | Science News

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DEET's nastiness extends to humans

Study finds the bug-repellent ingredient stopped an enzyme from doing its job

11:25am, August 5, 2009

DEET, the active ingredient in many bug repellents, doesn’t only cripple mosquitoes — it also meddles with mammals. A new study examining DEET’s effects on insects, mice and human proteins reports that the chemical interferes with a prominent central nervous system enzyme. This effect is magnified when exposure to DEET is combined with exposure to certain pesticides, researchers report online August 4 in BMC Biology.

The results are consistent with previous studies, says Bahie Abou-Donia of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C, who was not involved in the new work.

“DEET is a good chemical for protection against insects,” he says. “But prolonged exposure results in neurological damage, and this is enhanced by other chemicals and medications.”

Led by Vincent Corbel of the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in Montpellier and Bruno Lapied of the University of Angers in France,

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