The safety of using pesticides comes into question when treating your child for head lice infestation. Children are susceptible to greater health risks when exposed to pesticides and according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, there are higher instances of brain cancer and leukaemia in children who have been exposed to pesticides.
Lately people find that these harsh chemicals don’t get rid of the head lice because the lice have built up a resistance to the pesticides. This results in more of these chemical treatment products being applied to children’s scalps, leading to the over-exposure of these children to pesticides. Pesticides that are generally used in treatment products are pyrethrin, permithrin, lindane and malathion.
The Pesticide Information Centre of South Africa makes the following statement on their website, “Most pesticides are poisonous, always consider alternatives and only use pesticides as a last resource”. Now you may ask the question, “What alternatives are there for the treatment of head lice infestation?”. Mr. Steven Reitzer, founder and Managing Director of Reitzer Pharmaceuticals claims that Tea Tree Oil is the safer alternative to using pesticides to kill head lice.
The significance of using Tea Tree Oil is that it coats the shaft of each hair follicle, making it difficult for the head lice or nit to stick to it. The aroma of this essential oil makes the scalp an unwelcome place for the lice to live and the active ingredient, Terpineol, kills the nits and lice. Terpineol is a monoterpene alcohol and poses no health dangers to the person using it. Terpenes are hydrocarbons that are mainly produced by plants.
Reitzer Pharmaceuticals has developed and manufactured a pesticide-free product range to treat head lice. It is called the Treet-It Tea Tree Oil Anti-Lice range. The range consists of three products – a Gel-Cream, a Maintenance Spray and a Therapeutic Shampoo. The range is also available as a kit that includes a nit comb for the manual removal of nits and head lice.