Popular insect repellent deet is toxic to central nervous system

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Washington, August 5 (ANI): Scientists are calling for more research into the toxicity of deet, an active ingredient in many insect repellents, after it has been found to be harmful to the central nervous system.

Vincent Corbel from the Institut de Recherche pour le Diveloppement in Montpellier, and Bruno Lapied from the University of Angers, France, led a team of researchers who investigated the mode of action and toxicity of deet.

Corbel said: "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."

In a series of experiments, his research team found that deet inhibits the acetylcholinesterase enzyme - the same mode of action used by organophosphate and carbamate insecticides.

The researchers also found that deet interacts with carbamate insecticides to increase their toxicity.

Corbel concludes: "These findings question the safety of deet, particularly in combination with other chemicals, and they highlight the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to the development of safer insect repellents for use in public health."

The study's findings have been reported in a research paper published in the open access journal BMC Biology. (ANI)

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