“The Dangers of Pesticides”

by Deborah Wolfson, owner of Lice Ladies Tampa Bay

Many parents turn to popular over-the-counter treatments which contain pyrethrin or permethrin. Consumer Reports say that those chemicals are not the best choices.

“Those active ingredients tend not to work anymore because the lice have become resistant to them,” said Consumer Reports’ Michael Hansen.

The safest and most effective method to get rid of human head lice is to comb out the bugs and eggs.  Studies have shown that pediculosis capitis, human head lice, are becoming more and more resistant to pesticides which include the prescriptions.

In California, there was a lawsuit against some of the companies that produce and manufacture some of the over-the-counter pesticide based products based on the fact that they “don’t work” and the marketing on the boxes states “kills lice and their eggs” ….”in a single application” which is not true.  The lawsuit was based on false warranties by these manufacturers and misleading ads.

Some parents apply mayonnaise or olive oil on the heads of their children.  This can smother the adult lice, but does nothing to kill the eggs.  There have been reported cases of parents so desperate that children have been severely burned by parents using gasoline on their scalps…or agricultural insecticide which can cause respiratory arrest.  In our clinics we have been witness to children that have been treated at home with kerosene which produced second degree burns on the scalp.  I had to insist that the child receive medical attention for the burns before we felt comfortable to safely treat the child.

It is said that it only takes 3-5 years for the bugs to become resistant to a new insecticide product.

What is so scary about putting pesticides on a human head?  Well we invite these pesticides into our own bloodstream when we do this.  They can begin to attack our central nervous system…in effect poisoning the human…not just the pesky louse.

Health officials have continued to recommend these products like permethrin, pyrethrin, Lindane, Malathion, Ovide, Ulesfia, etc…. they still work occasionally killing some of the live bugs in some people, some of the time – however the dangers are great and the eggs (nits) are proving to still hatch when left in the hair.  Consumer Reports say Lindane can have serious risks and should not be used. Studies show a newer prescription drug called Spinosad could be effective, but its long-term safety is unknown.  It’s reported to be very expensive .  We have heard reports that it costs as much as $280 for four ounces.  We have also been witness to newer non-pesticide prescriptions that claim to “freeze” the nits.  We see people that have spent over $300 on this prescription only to have a crop of baby bugs hatch out of said “frozen” nits.

These pesticide based drugs are supposed to be “safe” for humans but there have been reports of many problems-even death.

If you’re curious as to what we use at Lice Ladies, we use our own enzyme based, non-toxic product, Lice Ladies Evict along with our comb, the Lice Ladies Evict comb, to safely and effectively comb out all of the bugs and nits.

Our revolutionary product is enzyme based.  We use an enzyme combo formula…one of which is a protein eating enzyme.  Our enzyme formula is currently stronger than most of the enzyme formulas on the market.  Lice Ladies Evict treatment mousse aids in dissolving the nit glue that binds nits to the hair shaft.   This allows much easier removal of the nits with our Evict lice comb, resulting in a lice and nit-free head.  The enzyme also begins to eat the exoskeleton of any live bugs.  Evict contains a small amount of peppermint essential oil added to the enzyme formula.  This aids in soothing the scalp during the treatment process.

This product has been researched and field tested on thousands of lice infested heads and has proven to be effective on all ages.

Enzyme based products do not get into the blood stream and attack the central nervous system of the human being treated like the pesticide products can and do.  Safety is our number one priority.

Lil Louie the Louse pose 2

See below drug dangers taken from the CDC website:

Over-the-counter Medications

Many head lice medications are available “over-the-counter” without a prescription at a local drug store or pharmacy. Each over-the-counter product approved by the FDA for the treatment of head lice contains one of the following active ingredients. If crawling lice are still seen after a full course of treatment contact your health care provider.

 

1.Pyrethrins combined with piperonyl butoxide;

Brand name products: A-200*, Pronto*, R&C*, Rid*, Triple X*.

 

Pyrethrins are naturally occurring pyrethroid extracts from the chrysanthemum flower.  Pyrethrins can only kill live lice, not unhatched eggs (nits). A second treatment is recommended on day 9 to kill any newly hatched lice before they can produce new eggs. Pyrethrins generally should not be used by persons who are allergic to chrysanthemums or ragweed. Pyrethrin is approved for use on children 2 years of age and older.

 

2.Permethrin lotion 1%;

Brand name product: Nix*.

 

Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid similar to naturally occurring pyrethrins. Permethrin lotion 1% is approved by the FDA for the treatment of head lice.  Permethrin kills live lice but not unhatched eggs. Permethrin may continue to kill newly hatched lice for several days after treatment. A second treatment often is necessary on day 9 to kill any newly hatched lice before they can produce new eggs. Permethrin is approved for use on children 2 months of age and older.

Prescription Medications

The following medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of head lice are available only by prescription. If crawling lice are still seen after a full course of treatment contact your health care provider.

 

1.Malathion lotion 0.5%;

Brand name product: Ovide*

 

Malathion is an organophosphate. Malathion lotion 0.5% is approved by the FDA for the treatment of head lice. Malathion is pediculicidal (kills live lice) and partially ovicidal (kills some lice eggs). A second treatment is recommended if live lice still are present 7-9 days after treatment. Malathion is intended for use on persons 6 years of age and older. Malathion can be irritating to the skin and scalp; contact with the eyes should be avoided. Malathion lotion is flammable; do not smoke or use electrical heat sources, including hair dryers, curlers, and curling or flat irons, when applying malathion lotion and while the hair is wet.

 

 

2.Benzyl alcohol lotion (5%);

Brand name product: Ulesfia lotion*

 

Benzyl alcohol is an aromatic alcohol. Benzyl alcohol lotion 5% is a white topical lotion approved by the FDA for the treatment of head lice. Benzyl alcohol kills live lice (it is pediculicidal) but does not kill unhatched lice eggs (it is not ovicidal). A second treatment with benzyl alcohol lotion is necessary on day 9 after the first treatment (or as recommended by the manufacturer) to kill any newly hatched lice before they can produce new eggs. Benzyl alcohol lotion is intended for use on persons who are 6 months of age and older. Benzyl alcohol can be irritating to the skin and eyes; contact with the eyes should be avoided.

 

3.Lindane shampoo 1%;

Brand name products: None available

 

Lindane is an organochloride. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) no longer recommends it as a pediculocide. Although lindane shampoo 1% is approved by the FDA for the treatment of head lice, it is not recommended as a first-line therapy. Overuse, misuse, or accidentally swallowing lindane can be toxic to the brain and other parts of the nervous system; its use should be restricted to patients for whom prior treatments have failed or who cannot tolerate other medications that pose less risk. Lindane should not be used to treat premature infants, persons with HIV, a seizure disorder, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, persons who have very irritated skin or sores where the lindane will be applied, infants, children, the elderly, and persons who weigh less than 110 pounds.