To Lice Sprays
Permethrin sprays a health hazard on airplanes,
but still sold for children's bedding
sprays may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but contain
the pyrethroid known as permethrin. The Association of Flight
Attendants (AFA) warns of the risks of permethrin exposures to humans and
is waging a war to stop the spraying of permethrin on airplanes, while
permethrin-containing shampoos and sprays are still marketed for children
and families, their bedding, furniture and other objects in the home, school, and child care settings. The National
Pediculosis Association has since its inception warned against the use of
pesticide shampoos and sprays.
Why Not To Spray:
lice are primarily transmitted by person-to-person contact rather than
by person-environment-person contact.
is no scientific basis for spraying the environment with pesticides for
human lice given that lice are blood-obligate human parasites as opposed
to environmental pests.
Vacuuming is a realistic, practical, safe and readily available
alternative for furniture, bedding, stuffed animals, etc. Clothing and
bed linen can be washed or dry-cleaned.
the NPA’s inception in 1983, we have had full support of our position
against lice environmental sprays from the Centers for Disease Control.
The one area of agreement among all of the politics and controversies
surrounding lice treatments is that the use of sprays for the
environment, clothing, furniture and especially bedding is unwarranted,
ill-advised and potentially harmful. According to the National
Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, “The danger of sprays lies
not only in the sprays’ active ingredients but also in their synergists
and petroleum distillates, which may promote penetration of the product
through the skin.”
sprays are typically marketed to be used in conjunction with lice
shampoos, and therefore significantly increase the insecticide exposure
within the same time frame for the same child in the absence of any
studies of combined effects, cumulative absorption or safety.
risks of pediculicide sprays (including eye and respiratory risks) apply
not only to the infested child but also to the person doing the
spraying. There are also risks for pets. Young children, the most
susceptible age group to head lice, often have mothers who may be
pregnant or nursing: the sprays come with no warnings for this high
risk group - infants, unborn babies, or others with pre-existing medical
problems in the home. Environmental sprays impact everyone.
that spray for lice add risks for their student population given that
parents are often not informed of the spraying and repeat similar
actions within the home setting making for cumulative effects and
additional unnecessary exposures.
Cumulative risks are also associated with schools and other institutions
with pest control spraying measures for other pests such as roaches.
Add another spraying exposure to the mix and school populations, who
vary in vulnerability, are placed at higher risk. We already know that
there is more asthma, more cancer, and more
illness in general in children.
Pediculicidal sprays have ingredients that become more toxic in their
due to the development of lice resistance to permethrin and cross
resistance to pyrethrins has been scientifically documented.
With the increasing
awareness of the harmful nature of environmental pollutants and
pesticides, state legislatures are limiting the use of pesticides in
private and public schools, day care centers and school age child care
programs. For example, California has banned the use of Lindane in the
state and Massachusetts has enacted An Act Protecting Children and
Families from Harmful Pesticides listing chemicals not allowed on
school/day care/childcare program property.
Once informed about the true
insecticide nature of these sprays, no parent would want to spray a
child’s room and bedding with an insecticide, shampoo that same child with
a similar insecticide and put them to bed for the night!
The California Department of Health Services says there is ample evidence to
that exposure to pyrethroid pesticides may
result in adverse health effects,
especially among sensitive subpopulations