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Chemical Concerns

Knowing what's in a product makes you think twice

 

Pesticide products contain both 'active' and 'inert' ingredients.  An active ingredient is one that prevents, destroys, repels or mitigates a pest.  An inert ingredient is simply any ingredient in the product that is not intended to affect a target pest.

For example, isopropyl alcohol may be an active ingredient and anti-microbial pesticide in some products; however, in other products, it is used as a solvent and may be considered an inert ingredient.

While the potential risks of active ingredients are accepted, the inert ingredients cannot be overlooked.  Many consumers are mislead by the term 'inert', believing it to mean 'harmless.'  It should never be assumed that inert ingredients are non-toxic.

Solvents are materials in which pesticides are dissolved or adsorbed (sometimes called carriers or vehicles).  They are selected by manufacturers to achieve stability of the active ingredient, convenience and handling and application, and maximum killing power.  Such exposures can result in significant toxic effects that in many cases exceeds the toxicity of the active pesticide ingredient(s).  It is sometimes more difficult to obtain information about the solvents because they are considered proprietary information, further complicating the risks and issues of diagnosis and management.

The concerns over inerts, actives and solvents apply to all treatment products whether they are over-the-counter treatments, prescriptions, or marketed as all-natural, non-toxic, or pesticide-free remedies.

The graph below is a partial listing of various products:

Pyrethrum (composite of pyrethrins)
Product Name Form Active Ingredients Other Ingredients
A-200 Lice Treatment Kit shampoo pyrethrins 0.33% / piperonyl butoxide 4% benzyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, C13-C14 isoparaffin, fragrance, octylphenoxypolyethoxyethanol, water
aerosol spray 0.5% resmethrin 0.68% related compounds, inert 99.432%
Bio-Sentry Lice Killing shampoo pyrethrum extract 0.33% / piperonyl butoxide 4% benzyl alcohol, polyoxyethylene phenyl ether, C13-C14 isoparaffin, water
Bio-Sentry Lice Treatment cream rinse pyrethrum extract 0.33% / piperonyl butoxide 4% balsam Canada, benzyl alcohol, C13-C14 isoparaffin, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, FD&C red#4, FD&C yellow#5, fragrance, hydrolyzed animal protein, hydroxyethylcellulose, methylparaben, octylphenoxypolyethoxyethanol, polyoxyethylene 10 cetyl ether, propylene glycol, propylparaben, stearalkonium chloride, water
End-Lice liquid pyrethrins 0.33% / piperonyl butoxide 4% benzyl alcohol, C13-C14 isoparaffin, polyoxyethylene, water, (1, 1, 3, 3, tetramethylbutylphenylether)
InnoGel Plus gel pyrethrins 0.33% / piperonyl butoxide 4% carbomer 934, D&C red#33, FD&C blue#1, water, benzyl alcohol, C13-C14 isoparaffin, isopropyl alcohol
Licetrol shampoo pyrethrins 0.33% / piperonyl butoxide technical 4% inert 95.67%
Pronto Lice Killing shampoo piperonyl butoxide 4%, pyrethrum extract 0.33%. ammonium laureth sulfate, benzyl alcohol, BHT, decyl alcohol, disodium EDTA, fragrance, isopropyl alcohol, glycerin, PEG-14M, poloxamer 183, purified water.
aerosol spray 0.4% 3-phenoxybenzyl-(1RS, 3RS; 1RS, 3SR)-2, 2-dimetyl-3-(2-methylprop-1-enyl) cyclopropanecarboxylate inert 99.6%
R&C Shampoo/Conditioner shampoo pyrethrins 0.33% / piperonyl butoxide 3% fragrance, C13-C14 isoparaffin, isocetyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, lauramine oxide, laureth-4, laureth-23, petroleum distillate, polyquaternium-11, TEA-lauryl sulfate, water.
R&C Spray spray phenothrin 0.4% inert 99.6%
RID Lice Elimination Kit shampoo pyrethrins 0.33% / piperonyl butoxide 4% C13-C14 isoparaffin, fragrance, isopropyl alcohol, PEG-25 hydrogenated castor oil, water, xanthan gum.  
aerosol spray 0.5% permethrin inert 99.5%
 
Pyrethroid (synthetic insecticide)
Product Name Form Active Ingredients Other Ingredients
Nix cream rinse permethrin 1% isopropyl alcohol 20%, balsam Canada, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, FD&C yellow#6, fragrance, hydrolyzed animal protein, hydroxyethylcellulose, polyoxyethylene 10 cetyl ether, propylene glycol, stearalkonium chloride, methylparaben, propylparaben, water.
 
Lindane (an organochlorine)
Product Name Form Active Ingredients Other Ingredients
Kwell
G-well
Lindane 1%
shampoo and lotion gamma benzene hexachloride 1% polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate, triethanolamine lauryl sulfate, acetone, purified water
 
Malathion (an organophosphate)
Product Name Form Active Ingredients Other Ingredients
Ovide
Prioderm
lotion .005g of malathion per mL
(±)-[(dimethoxyphosphinothioyl0-thio] butanedioic acid diethyl ester
isopropyl alcohol (78%), terpineol, dipentene, and pine needle oil
 
Miscellaneous
Product Name Form Ingredients
Neon Nits aerosol spray dyrnel A, SD Ethanol, pigment, PVP/VA copolymer, plasthall DOS, deriphat 151-C, sodium benzoate, AMP-95
HairClean 1-2-3 spray over 70% isopropyl alcohol, coconut oil, anise oil, ylang ylang oil
 

 

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