Sunday, August 9, 2009
Insect repellent chemical harms nervous system
One of the world’s most common insect repellents acts on the central nervous system in the same way as some insecticides and nerve gases, according to a study released last week. Moderate use of the chemical compound, called deet, is most likely safe, the researchers say. But experiments on insects, as well as on enzymes, showed for the first time that it can interfere with the proper functioning of the nervous system. The researchers say further studies are “urgently needed” to assess deet’s potential toxicity to humans, especially when combined with other chemical compounds.