Alarmingly, increasing numbers of parents are informing workers at Nit Pickers Head Lice Removals (Nit Pickers) that they have turned to animal flea treatments to combat head lice after seeing the practice promoted on social media.
Without realising the risks, parents are self-medicating their children with dangerous insecticides. The active ingredient of concern found in animal flea treatment products is called Fipronil.
“Fipronil is a phenylpyrazole insecticide and acts to block the normal functioning of the central nervous system in insects and also mammals.” (WA Department of Health, 2008)
According to the Beyond Pesticides website, symptoms of exposure/poisoning from Fipronil can include headaches, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritations, lethargy and convulsions. In short-term studies adverse side effects occurred in the central nervous system in all test species.
“Flea treatment products for pets are made for animal use only. In Western Australia, use contrary to label directions is an offence under the Health (Pesticides) Regulations, 1956.” (WA Department of Health, 2008
For pregnant women, nursing mothers and children with cancer, asthma or allergies, or anyone with recent exposure to insecticides like Fipronil, a non-chemical approach is critical.
Nit Pickers employees have had parents tell them that they didn’t know there was an alternative to using poisons on their child’s scalp or that the use of animal treatments was an offence.
The safest option for lice and nit removal is the chemical free option.
At Nit Pickers parents have found an affordable and successful, manual lice and nit removal service. “We teach families how to stop the cycle and reduce the chances of the lice returning without the use of insecticides or other chemicals.” said Sherrii Richardson, founder of Nit Pickers Head Lice Removal.
The FDA acknowledges the method used by Nit Pickers as a valid non-chemical treatment option for managing head lice.
Chemical Watch Fact Sheet: Fipronil, Beyond Pesticides
'Reports of members of the public using animal flea products to treat head lice in children', WA Department of Health, 2008
Nit Pickers Head Lice Removal
“The Deceptive Dozen”, HeadLice.org, 2014
Nit Pickers Head Lice Removal Service
Nit Pickers opened its doors 3 years ago to the public, With proven sucess and unrivaled service using methods effective for centuries Nit Pickers provide a chemical natural and organic free manual removal of head lice and nits, With employees reguarly brushing up on scientificly proven head lice knowalege you can be sure we know what we are talking about when busting head lice myths,