In 2009, more than 150 governments agreed to list lindane in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) for global elimination. However, they provided a temporary exemption for its use as a human pharmaceutical to address head lice and scabies. In response to this and other listings, the Stockholm Convention Secretariat launched a pilot project to help countries identify POPs-free alternatives to listed substances. Among various requirements, candidates had to submit products for testing by the Environmental Agency of Austria (EEA) to ensure they did not contain any of the 21 substances listed in the treaty. The project identified the LiceMeister® comb as a POPs-free product and will feature it at the global meeting of more than 150 countries April 25 – 29, 2011.
The LiceMeister comb is considered a safe, non-chemical treatment choice over the use of lindane and other pharmaceutical applications using insecticides. The LiceMeister comb has the US Food and Drug Administration clearance as a medical device for the purpose of screening, detecting and removing lice and their eggs (nits).
In a recent editorial, NPA’s president, Deborah Altschuler reaffirmed: “Combing is a scientifically reliable method to remove all lice and nits – which is another way to say it can end an infestation – literally. Combing is the safest and most cost effective approach that accomplishes what chemicals cannot. It enables families to be self-reliant, proactive, and preventive. It allows regular screening and early detection which makes the combing approach practical and realistic. While chemical treatments, pediculicides, and broad spectrum antibiotics develop resistance and potentially adverse health effects, nothing compares to the kindness of a comb.”
Altschuler adds that the most gratifying part of participating in the POP-free initiative is the way it has put children’s health at the forefront.
More Coverage of this important development
Stockholm Convention Launches POPs-Free Initiative – International Institute for Sustainable Development
“April 2011: The Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention has launched an initiative on products and processes free of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
According to the Secretariat, the initiative seeks to encourage consumer product manufacturers and retailers who have phased out POPs to provide information on POPs-free products, and on possible alternatives and substitutes, and processes for introducing such alternatives and substitutes.
In the pilot phase of the project, two entities agreed to have their products tested for POPs through a laboratory hosted by the Environment Agency of Austria.
These products included: the LiceMeister® comb, a potential alternative to pharmaceutical applications containing lindane, listed under annex A of the Convention with a specific exemption…”
IPEN Quick Views of Stockholm Convention COP5 – International POPs Elimination Network
“COP5 should request the Secretariat to cooperate with WHO to do the following:
- Identify and compile information on safer alternatives, especially technically feasible, affordable non-chemical alternatives such as the LiceMeister® Comb identified in the POPs Free Project
- Develop a guidance document on transition to safer, alternative treatments
- Promote use of safer alternatives to lindane as a treatment for head lice and scabies
- Promote awareness-raising on safer alternatives among all Parties
- Review the continued need for the specific exemption for evaluation by COP6″
Read the rest of this article (note: PDF document).
POPs-Free Initiative Pilot Project – Stockholm Convention
In a pilot project, two entities have agreed on a voluntary basis, to test products through a laboratory hosted by the Environment Agency of Austria.
The key criteria for being a POPs-free product was that such a product did not contain or consist of chemicals listed in Annex A, B or C of the Stockholm Convention. POPs-free was defined specifically for the pilot project and was not to be used as a definition outside of the project…
The LiceMeister® comb – The National Pediculosis Association®, a non-profit organization from the United States, submitted the LiceMeister® comb. The comb is an U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared medical device to screen, detect and remove head lice and their eggs (nits). This combing tool is used instead of applying pesticides to the hair and scalp. Of particular relevance to the Convention, the LiceMeister® comb could be considered as an alternative to pharmaceutical applications containing lindane, listed under annex A of the Convention with a specific exemption.
More on the POPs-free Initiative and the Stockholm Convention (note: PDF document).