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New York Considers Lindane Ban, New Yorkers: Take Action
(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2005) New York State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg has introduced Bill A04162, which proposes to amend the public health law to ban the sale, use, and prescription of any product containing the organochorine insecticide lindane. Filed for the state of New York, the Bill is written to prohibit any product used for the treatment of lice or scabies in humans from containing the pesticide.

The bill cites both health and environmental effects as justification for banning lindane. “The evidence has proven that lindane is not only detrimental to the person who's using this product but also to the environment,” said Assemblyman Weisenberg. “It has a warning on it (to) not use it on animals. If we don't use it on animals, why the hell would we use it on a child? It just doesn't make any sense.”

Lindane has been linked to cancer and is considered a human carcinogen by the state of California. Case studies report high rates of childhood brain cancer treated with lindane shampoo. According to the bill language, several reports of six-fold increases non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in farmers exposed to lindane, evidence of carcinogenicity is confirmed by the World Health Organization, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services. The Bill states that lindane is a known blood poison. In many case reports, lindane exposure from recommended dosages has resulted in adverse events such as blood diseases including aplastic anemia and leukemia.

Lindane is exceptionally toxic to the environment. EPA categorizes lindane as a persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic pollutant, meaning it remains in the environment for a protracted period of time. After its use, patients rinse lindane shampoos and creams down the sink or shower drains. Since wastewater treatment plants do not remove lindane successfully, it passes through groundwater streams, rivers, lakes and the ocean. In California, one dose of lindane was shown to pollute six million gallons of water. Even a small amount of lindane when ingested is lethal.

Eighteen countries and the state of California have banned the use and distribution of lindane. In addition, since the FDA has restricted the use of lindane concerning children, the group most likely to become infested with head lice, there is not a high demand for the product, according to the bill.

For more information on NY Bill A008628, contact Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg's office at 518-455-3042.

TAKE ACTION: New Yorkers - protect children from shampooing with poison! Assembly Bill 4162, which bans the sale, use, and prescription of any product containing lindane has been introduced in the New York State Assemby and is now in the hands of the Health Committee. Contact the committee members and urge them to support A. 4162.