More data on health effects of older lice treatments

Created on 16.07.15

Recent reports have given further evidence for the potential adverse health effects of older lice treatments based on lindane and pyrethroids.

WHO marks lindane as potential cancer agent

The World Health Organisation's report, written by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and released in June, classified lindane as carcinogenic to humans.

Lindane is still permitted as a second-line lice treatment by the US Food and Drug Administration, despite petitions in recent years to ban its use in this area.

Potential link between pyrethroids and child neurodevelopment

A forthcoming paper by Viel et al., published in the September 2015 issue of Environment International found a negative association between certain pyrethroid metabolite concentrations in children, and their verbal comprehension and working memory abilities. While the paper is cautious as to the strength of the association, this is an extra potential disadvantage of pyrethroid-based lice treatments, in addition to the well-known problem of increased lice resistance to the compounds.

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