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 The Dangers of Pesticide Shampoos

Head lice infestation is a growing problem.  Why?  Head lice are becoming resistant to the commonly used, pesticide-based treatments. Available over-the-counter and by prescription, hese products pose a danger to our children.

"Preparations like Rid and Kwell ... are definitely toxic to people," says Dr. Andrew Weil, MD. These products contain pediculicides, which are potent pesticides and insecticides designed to poison lice.  These products can be absorbed directly into your child’s system through the scalp. 

Here is some information about the most commonly used lice treatments, RID, Kwell and Nix:

Lindane: Used in Kwell prescription-only lice shampoo, lindane is a neurotoxin that is absorbed through the skin.  Says Ann Heil, a senior engineer with the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, "Lindane belongs to the same family of chemicals as DDT and PCBs, which have been banned in the United States."  This chemical, which is absorbed through the skin has been in use since the 1950s  It is created by mixing chlorine gas with benzene and filtering out the particulate solids that result. Chlorine gas is a poison and benzene is a well-known carcinogen. Lindane has been consistently listed in the top chemicals of concern by the Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. According to the Centennial Edition of the Merck Index, poisoning with lindane may occur by ingestion, inhalation, or skin absorption—all of which are possible with treatment with head lice shampoos. Possible symptoms of lindane poisoning include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, weakness, convulsions, difficulty breathing, low blood oxygen levels, and circulatory collapse. Case-controlled research shows a significant association between the incidences of brain tumors in children with the use of lindane-containing lice shampoos  Lindane, has been banned in more than 50 countries and in California, but is still available in the United States.

Malathion: This toxic pesticide, belongs to the class known as organophosphates.  It is used in the prescription-only lice remedy “Ovide”. Malathion is a chemical that was developed by the Swiss chemical giant Ciba-Geigy back in the 1950s as an agricultural crop insecticide and for pest control in homes and gardens. Very quickly thereafter, problems began occurring. It turns out that children are especially susceptible to the effects of Malathion. Studies have shown links between regular exposure to malathion and various human maladies, including non-Hodgkins lymphoma, childhood leukemia, anemia, chromosome damage, and weakened immune systems. It has also been known to cause flu like symptoms and allergic reactions in children and adults alike. Malathion exposure can occur through inhalation or absorption through the skin.According to the EPA, this chemical can overstimulate the nervous system and cause nausea, dizziness, confusion, and, at very high exposures (such as those from major spills or accidents), respiratory paralysis and death.

Pyrethrums and Pyrethoids: Pyrethrum is derived from the chrysanthemum flower, yet pyrethrins, used in Nix and Rid lice shampoos, are pesticides that have been deemed dangerous enough to be banned from agricultural use in food production. They may cause pneumonia, muscle paralysis, vomiting, asthma, and death due to respiratory failure. Pyrethroids, the synthetic chemical counterparts used in RID lice treatments may have similar effects.  Another common side effect is severe allergic reaction.

If the most common pesticides in over the counter lice treatments are so harmful, what is a parent to do when faced with a child with a head lice infestation? There are natural products available to eradicate head lice and prevent re-infestation. Used in combination with repeated combing with a high quality nit comb, these natural products will usually eradicate a head lice infestation within two weeks

Lice Tamers will never use, recommend or sell any products which contain dangerous chemicals.  All of our products are organic, natural, and safe for use in children.

Don’t Let Lice Drive you Wild! Click here  to order our safe, all natural head lice products or call 877-237-LICE to schedule an appointment. 

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