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DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide)
Chemical Technical Summary for Public Health
and Public Safety Professionals

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Atlanta, Georgia
December 6, 2004

The mutagenic potential of DEET was evaluated by Sauers et al. (1982a). Cultures of S. typhimurium were treated with a 50% DEET solution using the Ames mutagenicity test at doses ranging from 0.1 to 10-7µL/plate (a 1 µL/plate dose was toxic). The mutagenicity was considered positive if a dose response was observed. No dose response was seen at any level tested. It was concluded that DEET was not mutagenic at the levels tested. The Ames test was repeated by Sauers et al. (1982b) on S. typhimurium at doses up to10 µL/plate. DEET was found to cause toxicity at10 µg/plate, and mutagenicity was at doses of 2 µL/plate and 0.4 µl/plate. As no dose response detected, and it was once again concluded that DEET is not mutagenic in S. typhimurium.

In a study by Abu-Qare and Abou-Donia (2000) on the rat, a biomarker of DNA damage was recorded following a single dermal dose of 400 mg/kg alone and in combination with 1.3 mg/kg of permethrin. The biomarker, 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), was found to be significantly increased in the urine of rats over a 72-hour period post-dose. Permethrin alone did not cause a significant increase in 8-OHdG. It was concluded that dermal exposure to DEET could generate free radical species, which could cause oxidative DNA damage in rats.

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