Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Surf: Lindane

I've received a couple of links from The National Pediculosis Association®, Inc. recently that I've been saving to share with you. I just needed to take the time to collect my thoughts. While writing this post, I did collect more links to share here.

First up, Pharmalot reports Itching For Change: Lice & Pharmaceutical Products. The Stockholm Convention banned Lindane production and agricultural use a couple of years ago. Lindane is a neurotoxin. Lindane has shown up in foods from all over the world. This did not, however, include pharmaceutical use. That means that lindane can still be used in lice and flea treatments. That means people are putting a neurotoxin on the scalps of their children. The article explains some scientific studies, a California ban on lindane, law suits, and some history. It is interesting reading.

Photo Credit: Dea Bee

The World Health Organization classifies lindane as "Moderately Hazardous." It is presently banned in more than 50 countries, and in 2009 was included in the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants, which bans its production and use worldwide (except for pharmaceutical use).

Before I go on to other recent news on the lindane-front, I'd like to share Jesse's Project with you. Jesse was a boy that suffered from acute lymphobastic leukemia shortly after his first lindane lice treatment at 2 years old. The connection was not discovered until years later ~ after several more treatments that were each followed by a relapse. Jesse's father (also treated with lindane lice treatment) was diagnosed with chronic leukemia. Jesse's brother has chloracne (a condition associated with pesticide exposure). Jesse's Project focuses on providing the education and tools for safe prevention, elimination of inappropriate chemical responses and a safe alternative head lice treatment for this especially susceptible and often immuno-suppressed child population.

In very recent news, Pesticide Action Network North America reports in their blog, Ground Truth: Lice comb trumps lindane on global stage. The biggest point of the article (though it is short so you should definitely go check it out) is that lindane will soon be banned globally under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and the exemption for "pharmaceutical uses" will also be gone in a few more years. It can't happen soon enough! PANNA also applauds the Stockholm Convention for spotlighting NPA's LiceMeister® Comb, which I've mentioned here numerous times!

Image short descriptionExterminate! (yourself?)
Photo Credit: stekelbes
Isogam (lindane) ad from 1950

and simple, the insecticide Toxical allows quick and radical destruction of all insects.
Isogamy was based on Toxical acts by ingestion, by contact and the voltage of its vapor.

If you're really interested in the science of lice, The New York Times also very recently ran a story titled As Mammals Supplanted Dinosaurs, Lice Kept Pace. The article explains how lice adapt so precisely to follow the evolution of their host. You will also learn the origins of the human head louse as well as the human pubic louse. I thought it was pretty interesting stuff!

The world is a huge place and 170 nations have consensus to ban lindane entirely. That fight has been won. In the United States, however, our representation on this issue is hideous. We get lots of talk about protecting children from toxins, while this direct use on children in the riskiest application is allowed to continue. An internet petition to organic gardener Michelle Obama might move that mountain. I know nothing of internet petitions. Any volunteers to get that ball rolling?


  1. Glad you found a use for the photo - hope you make an impact on the use of lindane with your post and good works!

  2. I would love to help get a petition started and sent to the White House in hopes that they will ratify the Stockholm Convention and ban lindane.

  3. That is scary! And natural treatments do work. Even though I had taught preschool for a number of years in the U.S., I had never caught head lice. During my M.A. school placement in England, though, I did (due to a head lice epidemic at the day nursery). I purchased a natural, oil-based treatment available without prescription at the pharmacy. Using just that and a lice comb, I was able to get rid of the lice without any problems even though my hair was past my hips. Deb @

  4. @Deb ~ You have to be careful with some of the natural oil treatments on very young children as well. They can be too harsh for their delicate skin.

    I can only imagine what a nightmare it must have been for you with such long hair! Sasha has more hair than most little ones her age, but our haircuts helped. We managed with JUST the comb (and water), but only once we got the right one.

  5. I used lindane 1% liberally in the groin area after a hot shower on monday morning at about 10:oo am. At about 12-1 pm i luckily was browsing the net about lindane and quickly went to wash it off. I used kiehls bath lotion to wash it off several times with lots of water. Then switched to liquid dish detergent several more lavages. No symptoms as of wednesday morning except a little head pressure and slight headache in the right temple...most likely from the stress of fear of having a random seizure. Im I ok or is it a delayed reaction after a few weeks? How long does it take before you are safe from neurological side effects?

  6. I'm not that familiar with lindane. I'd suggest that if you're worried you check with your doctor or at the very least contact The National Pediculosis Association®, Inc.

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