Dangers of Pesticide Treatments for Lice

My kids came home from school the other day with notes in their backpacks. The brightly colored paper said that they may have been exposed to lice and suggested treatment with an "anti-louse shampoo available at any pharmacy" if lice were found. 

What the note was referring to was a permetherin shampoo commonly known as Rid or Nix. You can buy it at any pharmacy, and I have personally seen it at my local Target. Chad even remembers using the product when he was a child, which used to be quite effective, but things have changed. 

While these types of products were up to 100 percent effective 30 years ago, that number has dropped to 20 to 30 percent according to the Center for Public Integrity. However, worse than the fact that the products are simply ineffective, is the side effects they cause. 

Permetherin has been linked to seizures and behavioral problems, and the EPA classifies it as "likely carcinogenic to humans." It seems absolutely frightening that these products are still available for use. 

Worse so than permetherin, are the prescription pesticide products called Malathion (brand name Ovide) and Lindane (brand name Kwell). Side effects from these products have ranged from headaches, cancer, seizures, and even death. In fact, it is not even legal to use lindane on your dog in the United States, yet somehow it's ok to use on yourself or child? 

While lice are certainly an irritating nuisance, there is no reason to risk your health or your child's health to get rid of them. There are safe and effective treatment options. Please help me in spreading awareness so we can protect our children and ourselves. 

Until next time, 

Samantha :)


A Crawling Issue: Head Lice Treatments Worse than the Pest Itself?" Center for Public Integrity. N.p., 19 May 2014. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.<https://www.publicintegrity.org/2011/09/06/6123/crawling-issue-head-lice-treatments-worse-pest-itself>

Schwartz, Daniel. "Head Lice: Most-used Treatments No Longer Very Effective, Scientists Say." CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 12 Oct. 2016. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/head-lice-most-used-treatments-no-longer-very-effective-scientists-say-1.2776917>