Due to lice being so persistent and resistant to over the counter treatments, many doctors are prescribing more extreme pesticides. These pesticides contain carcinogens, substances that has been known to cause cancerous cells. Aside from having these dangerous carcinogens, these pesticides have scary side-effects. California banned a few of these common pesticides because of their carcinogenic properties. There are chemical-free and non-toxic ways to eradicate lice from a person’s head. One should always try these safer alternatives before following up with a dangerous pesticide.
It is a common fact that children’s skin is more permeable than adults or teens. Because of this, it is very important to follow manufacture’s directions for treatment. It is very possible to have an overdose of these pesticides because of how well a child’s skin absorbs products. Along with the possibility of over-absorption of the pesticide, there is the added variable that their permeable skin is absorbing these carcinogenic chemicals. Even more frightening is the fact that the treatment is applied directly to the scalp, incredibly close to the brain.
Some of the side-effects are not very intimidating, like stinging or redness at the treatment site. Other side-effects are ridiculously fear-indusing. Difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. Treatments should not be done too closely together, there is usually a wait time of about two weeks before doing a second treatment.
What are the possible side effects of permethrin topical?
Signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, severe burning, stinging, redness, or swelling after applying permethrin topical.
Common side effects
- itching or mild skin rash;
- mild burning, stinging, or redness; or
- numbness or tingling where the medication was applied.
Inhalation of Permethrin: coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, runny or stuffy nose, chest pain, or difficulty breathing.
Skin contact: rash, itching, or blisters.
Long term effects of Permethrin: disrupts the endocrine system by mimicking the female hormone, estrogen, thus causing excessive estrogen levels in females.
In human males, its estrogenizing effects include lowered sperm counts. In both, it can lead to the abnormal growth of breast tissue, leading to development of breasts in males and cancerous breast tissue in both male and females.
Neurotoxic effects include: tremors, incoordination, elevated body temperature, increased aggressive behavior, and disruption of learning. Laboratory tests suggest that permethrin is more acutely toxic to children than to adults.
Other: A known carcinogen. There is evidence that pyrethroids harm the thyroid gland. Causes chromosomal damage in hamsters and mice; deformities in amphibians; blood abnormalities in birds.
Another common component in over the counter treatments is Methylparaben. There is controversy about whether methylparaben is harmful at concentrations typically used in body care or cosmetics. Methylparaben is considered generally recognized as safe for food and cosmetic antibacterial preservation. These recognitions are broadly accepted as safe in small doses, unlike the doses used in OTC treatments.
Methyl paraben (head lice cream rinse Nix; regulated as a drug not as a pesticide): a skin sensitizer, causes eye, skin, digestive, and respiratory irritation.
So, what’s the big deal?
While pyrethroids may be amongst the least toxic of insecticides, they are an excitatory nerve poison, acting upon the sodium ion channels in nerve cell membranes: by sending a train of impulses rather than a single one, they overload the pathways, blocking the passage of sodium ions across cell membranes; similar in action to organophosphates (which include the now banned DDT); inhibits ATPase, which affects the release of acetylcholine, monoamine oxidase-A and acetylcholine;
inhibits GABAa receptors, resulting in convulsions and excitability (and more ‘minor’ problems such as sleep disorders);
it is a known to be carcinogenic;
can cause liver damage
distresses healthy thyroid function
has caused chromosomal abnormalities in lab mice and hamsters;
considered highly toxic to insects, fish, and birds;
can mimic estrogen, leading to estrogen dominant health problems in females and feminizing effects in males, including lowered sperm counts and abnormal breast development;
sublethal doses have produced a wide array of abnormal behaviors, such as ADHD, including aggression, and disruption in learning and learned behaviors.