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Don’t use DEET!

Several years ago I committed to keeping DEET away from my children. Every now and then I waiver and allow a DEET based mosquito repellent to touch their skin but it still makes me cringe. Why? DEET hurts them!

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 [Source,, Vincent Corbel from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in Montpellier]

I have since tried natural repellents using a concoction which included eucalyptus and lemongrass, and tried others with DEET alternatives such as Picaridin (which years from now may have as bad a rap as DEET). I have had good results with the natural products as well as the DEET alternative products. I am satisfied enough to know that I never need to use DEET again.

DEET is serious bad! You need to stop using DEET on your children!

The active ingredient in many insect repellents, deet, has been found to be toxic to the central nervous system. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology say that more investigations are urgently needed to confirm or dismiss any potential neurotoxicity to humans, especially when deet-based repellents are used in combination with other neurotoxic insecticides. [Source,, Popular insect repellent deet affects nervous system: study]

DEET was discovered in 1953. If it is truly neurotoxic to humans, what of today’s ailments and afflictions will be contributed to DEET?

See also: Evidence for inhibition of cholinesterases in insect and mammalian nervous systems by the insect repellent deet from BMC Biology.