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It’s 2005! Why Are We Still Shampooing Children With Pesticides?

National Pediculosis Association Press Release

It’s 2005! Why Are We Still Shampooing Children With Pesticides?

The continuing use of pesticide treatments for head lice makes Pediculosis a major public health issue affecting children in America today. Shampooing with pesticides has the potential to damage children in the same manner as these chemicals are designed to damage pests. Why are we still shampooing children with pesticides in 2005? Because the pharmaceutical companies invest millions of dollars to convince consumers and health professionals that this is what they should do.

    Contact Information
Jane Cotter
National Pediculosis Assoc.
781.449.6487 x109
    More information on the
NPA’s non-chemical approach

The National Pediculosis Association (NPA), a non-profit health and education agency has as its mission the protection of children and their families from these potentially harmful chemicals. NPA’s President Deborah Z. Altschuler says you would think protecting children from such unnecessary direct exposure to poisons would be a given – but it is not. Lice products containing pesticides and other serious chemicals are readily available in the neighborhood drug store and continue to be recommended and prescribed by the pediatricians and school nurses who rely on product marketing information as the basis for treatment-centered public health policy.

This scenario is a classic example of what is discussed in three recently published books addressing how product driven health policies negatively impact society. They warn of how Americans as individuals, and the health care system in general, have been sacrificed to sell pharmaceuticals.

The titles alone speak volumes.

Marcia Angell, M.D., former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine in her book The Truth About the Drug Companies, How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It, dedicates an entire chapter to how pharmaceutical companies promote their products by masquerading marketing as education in order to influence consumer and health professionals.

John Abramson, M.D., a former family practitioner who teaches at Harvard Medical School, in his newly released book Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine, reports a "changed purpose of medical knowledge – from seeking to optimize health to searching for the greatest profits."

In the third book, On the Take: How Medicine’s Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health, author Jerome Kassirer, Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine outlines the conflict of interest between "profit-centered business and people-centered medicine."

The NPA says the issue isn’t just the pharmaceutical companies promoting their pesticide products for use on kids: it is how this profit-driven approach permeates the non-profit sector as well. The same organizations that issue treatment guidelines to pediatricians, family physicians and school nurses receive support and funding from the lice treatment manufacturers whose products they recommend and accept as paid advertisers in their publications. Have these influential organizations become, in effect, the tax-exempt marketing arm of industry?

Each child shampooed with poison by a mother misguided by a system of "profits first" is a travesty and a red flag for just how little consideration is given to children’s health in these supposedly health conscious times.

Information on the NPA’s non-chemical approach

The National Pediculosis Association is the sponsor of Jesse’s Project which addresses yet another aspect of the ill-effects of pesticides in head lice treatments for the higher risk children who have already been diagnosed with cancer. The NPA and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital have implemented Jesse’s Project in St. Jude’s parent resource areas to make sure no parent leaves the hospital without knowing the risks of pesticides and sprays for lice. With what these children have to endure to regain their good health—it is vital that all opportunities are taken to protect it for the future. Jesse was a child whose mother attributes his death to her having treated him with pesticides for lice after he had had several bouts of chemotherapy and a successful bone marrow transplant for leukemia.

The National Pediculosis Association is a non-profit organization.
Contributions are tax-deductible under 501c(3) status.