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|Strategies for a
Purchasing for Pollution Prevention
INFORM is a national nonprofit organization that identifies practical ways of living and doing business that are
Successful Lindane-Free Control of Head Lice and Scabies
In order to protect the state’s surface waters from lindane contamination, the California legislature enacted a ban on
the use of lindane for lice or scabies treatment that took effect in January 2002. Experience at several large institutions
in California demonstrates that effective lice control can be achieved without the use of lindane.
Case Study: California Department of
California’s penal system, with a population of approximately
150,000 inmates per year, has been free of lindane
for over two years. According to Dr. Evalyn Horowitz,
Chief of Public Health at the California Department of
Corrections, the state’s Department of Health advised
against the use of lindane even before the ban took effect
in January 2002. As a result, the corrections system has
had significant experience with lindane-free head lice
and scabies control.
The department does not make any prophylactic use of
pesticides, since such use is ineffective and will unnecessarily
increase pesticide exposure and resistance. Over
the past two years, Elimite cream (5% permethrin) has
been used to treat scabies and a variety of non-lindane
products have been used to treat lice upon diagnosis. The
Department of Corrections recommends using combs to
treat head lice. Prison medical personnel indicate that the
lindane-free treatments are satisfactory.
For more information, contact Dr. Evalyn Horowitz,
Chief, Public Health Section, Health Care Services
Division, California Department of Corrections, PO Box
942883, 501 J Street, Suite 520, Sacramento, CA 94283;
Tel: 916-322-6057; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purchasing for Pollution Prevention Program Fact Sheet ©INFORM, Inc. September 2003
For more information, contact Sarah O’Brien, (802) 479-0317
120 Wall Street, New York NY 10005-4001 Tel 212 361-2400 Fax 212-361-2412 www.informinc.org
Case Study: Sutter Delta Medical Center
The Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch, California,
is successfully treating lice and scabies without lindane.
According to pharmacist Steven Gomez, combs and Nix
(1% permethrin) are being used to treat approximately 15
cases of lice per year. Elimite cream (5% permethrin) is
used to treat scabies. The hospital does not use scabicides
as a prophylactic against transmission. Both alternative
treatments are considered as effective as lindane, and no
problems have been reported.
For more information, contact Steven Gomez, Sutter
Delta Medical Center, 3901 Lone Tree Way, Antioch, CA
94509; Tel: 925-756-1118; www.sutterdelta.org.
120 Wall Street, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10005-4001
212 361-2400 Fax 212 361-2412