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.
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!
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?