Pure Liquid Gold
Head Lice & Children
Young Children and Pesticides
The young have been found to be more susceptible to the effects of many carcinogens and neurotoxins. This susceptibility to carcinogens and neurotoxins is of concern in light of the preschooler's greater exposure to pesticide residues in food, many of which are carcinogenic or neurotoxic.
Young children not only receive greater pesticide exposure, they may also be more susceptible to the toxic effects of these pesticides as a result of their immature physiological development. While relatively few pesticides have been specifically evaluated to determine if their toxicity is greater in the young, numerous studies have found the young to be more vulnerable to the toxic effects of many chemicals, including some pesticides. Experimental studies have found that neurotoxic organophosphate pesticides are more acutely toxic to the young. Several studies suggest that low-level exposure to some organophosphates during nervous system development may cause long-term neurological impairments. Experimental studies have also found the young to be particularly vulnerable to the effects of many carcinogens.
In general, experimental studies have found the young of various species more likely to retain a greater portion of a given dose of certain toxins because of increased absorption and decreased elimination. Further, young bodies are not as capable of segregating toxins (i.e., keeping toxins from the target organs), and the target organs themselves may be more susceptible to the toxic action of compounds. The enhanced retention results, in part, from the fact that the gastrointestinal tract is more permeable in the young and the process by which compounds are actively transported across cell membranes is increased. A number of compounds particularly in organic chemicals like lead and mercury, are absorbed more readily by the young than by the adult. Developing kidneys are also less capable of excreting certain compounds in infancy than during adulthood.
Some children treated with head lice treatments have had devastating side affects to the treatment including asthma, coughing fits, burning, blistering and in some cases scaring not to mention long term health risks. Some of the other reported reactions to poison shampoo or lice "treatments" are respiratory problems (especially severe in asthmatics), mental retardation, seizures, allergies, attention deficit disorders, brain tumors, chronic skin eruptions, leukemia, cancer and death a strange tingling, itching and/or a burning skin sensation called paresthisia are common health complaints.
Pesticides that Common Head Lice Treatments Contain
These are pesticides: Pyrethrin, Permethrin, Lindane, Malathion, Crotamilton, and Ivermectin.
Pyrethrin, Permethrin, Lindane, Malathion and Ivermectin are considered Neurotoxins. Lindane is very toxic!
A Neurotoxin is a toxic agent or substance that inhibits, damages or destroys the tissues of the nervous system, especially neurons, the conducting cells of your body's central nervous system. Neurotoxic effects can include behavior changes, seizures, as well as wide range of effects, including death. Symptoms include tremors, incoordination, elevated body temperature, increased aggressive behavior, and disruption of learning. Pesticides have the potential to cause many toxic side effects.
Lindane (brand name - Kwell) has been responsible for around 70% of the reported serious reactions. Pyrethrins (brand names: Rid, Pronto, R & C, Clear, etc.) and permethrin (Nix, Elimite, Acticin, Lyclear, etc.) were responsible for most of the remaining incidents. Lice medications containing Malathion (Ovide, Derbac-M, Suleo-M, Lice Rid, etc.).
What Potential Harm Can Head Lice Medications Cause?
The National Pediculosis Association's (NPA) receives about 50 calls everyday from parents and health professionals reporting product treatment failure ... reports of folks using "everything on the drug store shelf," only to continue finding adult-sized crawling lice. Unfortunately, frustrated parents have responded to persistent infestations by repeatedly using treatment products or by resorting to dangerous alternatives.
Today there are many over the counter treatments available for head lice. The problem is that head lice are becoming resistant to these medications.
The continued use of these toxins - dog flea and tick shampoos, lice sprays, kerosene and/or other dangerous alternatives including Lindane are (still) being used repeatedly. The NPA is offering the following suggestions for those who use a lice treatment product and experience treatment failure: If you continue to be infested with live lice after treatment, discontinue use of the products and don't use other products in the hope of killing the lice. Remember, these products are not mere shampoos, cremes or lotions, they are pesticides.
Because lice are becoming immune or resistant to traditional lice treatments pyrethrin formulas have become up to 5 times stronger and need to be left the head on from 1-2 hours instead of the usual 10 minutes. The common failure of pyrethrin products has lead to the use of lindane based pediculicides, further increasing the danger.
Lice are already resistant to permethrin poison (The US Environmental Protection Agency has classified permethrin as a carcinogen because it causes lung tumors). But children are not resistant to these poisons. In the Winter Spring 1997 issue of NPA's Progress a mother who lost her son to leukemia after she repeatedly shampooed his hair to "prevent" lice found an issue of Chemical Engineering News (in order to find a correlation with Nix® and Lindane) which had an article on the phasing out of chlorinated hydrocarbons. It included a specific chart which included a listing of endocrine disrupters. Synthetic pyrethroids such as permethrin found in Nix® were included in the chart with different herbicides, fungicides and pesticide poisons. They were all in the same category in terms of the health effects - and the negative effects were many! It is reported that "Treating" actual lice or scabies infestations with Lindane can cause many adverse health problems including permanent seizure disorders and severe mental retardation.
It is not advisable using any volatile, synthetic pyrethroid or Lindane or Malathion shampoos on your child. Even the least-toxic, over-the-counter pesticide poison shampoos or lotions containing pyrethroids (e.g., permethrin) or pyrethrins can cause many health reactions in many humans, e.g., many different allergic and respiratory problems (especially severe in asthmatics) and a strange tingling, itching and/or a burning skin sensation called paresthisia are common health complaints.
"Active and Inert Ingredients"
Active ingredient (an active ingredient is one that prevents, destroys or repels a pest). Inert ingredients is any ingredient in the product that is not intended to affect a target pest. Inert ingredients act as a solvent in which pesticides are absorbed or dissolved. Inert ingredients act as product stabilizers for active ingredients and to provide maximum killing power. Exposure to such inerts or solvents can result in significant toxic effects that, in many cases, exceed the toxicity of the active pesticide ingredients.
Head lice pesticide products contain both "active" and "inert"ingredients. It should never be assumed that inert ingredients are nontoxic. The concern over inert ingredients and solvents apply to all treatment products.
It is unfortunate that treating a head lice condition can sometimes be more detrimental than the lice infection itself. Using grapefruit seed extract these worries are no longer a concern!
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