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TORONTO (CP) ó Parents of children battling head lice are being urged to avoid over-the-counter treatments that contain a pesticide outlawed for agricultural use in dozen of countries ó including Canada ó because of its adverse effects on humans and the water supply.
While a number of lice shampoos donít contain lindane, store shelves across the country are still stocked with brands that employ the controversial chemical.
Lindane-based pharmaceuticals may represent the extreme when it comes to killing lice, but environmental activists say parents are often so disturbed by the thought of their kids harbouring bugs, and the stigma of becoming infected, that they adopt an "eradicate at any cost" stance.
"I donít really think that people comprehend alternative substances are effective and weíre more or less dousing our children in pesticides" when using lindane, said Kevin Mercer of the group Riversides, which advocates on water quality issues.
"Using lindane to kill head lice is like using a sledgehammer to kill an ant."