|Title:||Head Lice Treatments Can Be Hazardous to Your Child’s Health.|
|Source:||LILIPOH; Fall 98, Vol. 4 Issue 16, p25, 2p|
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Human head lice (pediculus human capitis) are prolific, and the females will lay between 50 to 300 eggs, or nits within their life cycle. The females start laying eggs in just one day’s time, with those eggs hatching in eight or nine days later. Lice nits or eggs are tiny yellow ovals firmly attached to the hair shaft. The adult lice can vary slightly in color, but are usually light brown.
In the past few years, head lice have become a national year-round problem. Time Magazine reports in its January 1998 issue, “that lice infestation in America has risen to the epidemic level of 10 to 12 million a year.” Head lice show no discrimination; they are found in clean or dirty environments, all ethnic households, different climates, in all ages and from east to west and north to south.
Unfortunately along with the lice epidemics also comes a lice resistance to traditional pesticide-based, over-the-counter products. Consequently parents are reapplying these toxic treatments more often and for longer periods of time on their children. Because of a child’s weight and body size, there is a much higher risk for the potential of pesticide poisoning, thus creating an extremely hazardous situation. Many parents also use some type of pesticide bomb in the house in hopes of killing any eggs or nits still in the carpets or bedding. This again sets the household up for additional pesticide exposure, because infants, toddlers and animals crawl around on the floors and carpets and then put their hands, paws, and toys into their mouths. The residue from these pesticide bombs can last up to months and in most cases become more toxic when combined with water, should you decide to wash down the walls, counters, carpets or furniture. Side effects from both the topical over-the-counter lice killing products and fumigation bombs include seizures, behavioral changes, neuromuscular complaints, chronic skin eruptions, brain damage, asthma, cancer and more.
With the knowledge that the lice have become resistant to these pesticide products, and their high toxicity level for our children, animals and even ourselves, it makes no sense to continue using them. Fortunately it now brings to the forefront the importance and power of using more natural means to handle epidemic problems.
If there is an epidemic in your area, wash your hair with a fatty acid-based shampoo containing olive or coconut oil in alternation with your regular shampoo as a preventative. According to studies at the Medical Entomology Centre in Cambridge, a successful treatment for lice is to shampoo with a natural shampoo. Then prepare a rinse mixture of 2 drops essential oil to 100 mls of a 50:50 ratio of water & vinegar and pour over the area of hair. The different essential oils that were found to have the most efficiency in the research are: tea tree, rosemary (don’t use at night, because too stimulating, also don’t use if high blood pressure), oregano, cinnamon leaf (not bark), peppermint, nutmeg, anise seed. All of these oils are extremely strong and should be used with great caution & respect. A good maintenance program would be to wash with the fatty acid-based shampoo together with a few drops of tea tree and rosemary oils, every seven days for a month to treat the lice at all developmental stages. If you have any questions regarding the use of essential oils consult a Certified aromatherapist for recommendations on their “therapeutic” uses.
Some of the active ingredients used in chemical head lice treatments include: Undane: a chemical identified as a hazardous substance by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the U.S. Department of Health and Services; a nerve poison and carcinogen and reported to have hormone and endocrine-disrupting effects. Pyrethrin: even though this is naturally derived from chrysanthemum flower it can still cause pneumonia, muscle paralysis, death due to respiratory failure, vomiting and asthma. Permethrin: can cause the same symptoms as Pyrethrin. Malathion: an organophosphate which can cause headaches, pain, weakness, numbness in extremities, dizziness, or death due to respiratory failure and seizures.
Article copyright LILIPOH Publishing, Inc.
By Kathy Arnos
*The author(s) cited above are not in any way affiliated with Rainforest Essentials. Their citation is offered solely for informational purposes and not to be construed as an endorsement of Lice Off!™ in particular or any of our products in general.