The insect repellents: A silent environmental chemical toxicant to the health

Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2017 Mar:50:91-102. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2017.01.019. Epub 2017 Jan 29.


In recent years, a large number of insect repellents have been developed with the idea of consumer benefits. In addition to already known advantageous application of insect repellents, there is increasing concern about the potential toxicity in environment leading to health caused by random use of these compounds. An increasing number of evidence suggests that insect repellents may trigger undesirable hazardous interactions with biological systems with a potential to generate harmful effects including intermediate metabolites. Biotransformation followed by bioaccumulation (vice e versa) may be an important phenomenon for toxic response of this chemicals. In this review, we have summarized the current state of knowledge on the insect repellent toxicity, including biochemical pathway alteration under in vitro and in vivo conditions considering different classes of organisms, from lower to higher vertebrate. Furthermore, we have tried to incorporate the effects of insect repellent in light of some clinical reports. We hope this review would provide useful information on potential side effects of uncontrolled use of insect repellents.

Keywords: Bioaccumulation; Biotransformation; Human health; Insect repellents; Intermediate metabolites; Toxicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / pathology*
  • Environment
  • Humans
  • Insect Repellents / toxicity*


  • Insect Repellents