Pyrethroids: A Harmful Chemical Found in Head Lice Treatments
We all love flowers, don’t we? They are pretty and smell nice and women love to receive them as a gift. Something so beautiful seems harmless but surprisingly and unfortunately, a certain chemical that derives from flowers can be harmful and has even been proven to cause abnormal behavior in children. It just so happens that this chemical is found in almost all drugstore lice treatments and almost all household insecticides.
A pyrethroid is an organic compound similar to the natural pyrethrins produced by the flowers of pyrethrums. They work by damaging the nerves of insects and eventually killing them. It is essentially poison and has been reported to be very toxic, yet it is used all the time. Yahoo.com has recently reported on a study that shows pyrethroids to be linked to abnormal behavior in children. The research on this study was published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine and found that children with high levels of certain pyrethroids in their system are more likely to display abnormal behaviors at age 6 than those who didn’t.
Scientists conducted research by measuring the levels of five pyrethroid metabolites in the urine of women who were in the early stages of their pregnancy and later, in their 6-year-old children to see if there was a link between being exposed to the chemical in the womb and childhood, and behavior that could suggest neurodevelopmental damage.
About 300 women took part in the study by filling out questionnaires about socioeconomic factors, lifestyle, their child’s behavior, and various things their child has been exposed to. Phycologists also did behavioral assessments on the children, along with taking urine and dust samples from them.
“Behavior was rated using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, a validated behavioral screening test for children, with a focus on altruism (how social children are), internalizing disorders (the inability to share problems and ask for help), and externalizing disorders (being defiant and disruptive).”
Three of the pyrethroid metabolites showed up most often in the urine of mothers and their children: trans-DCCA, cis-DBCA, and cis-DCCA.
“Here’s what researchers determined: Mothers with higher levels of cis-DCCA in their urine during pregnancy were more likely to have children with a higher risk of internalizing behaviors. Higher levels of another metabolite, 3-PBA, in the children’s urine was linked with a higher risk of externalizing behaviors. Overall, children with the highest levels of metabolites in their urine were three times more likely to have abnormal behavior than those with lower levels. As a result, the researchers concluded that pyrethroids might alter neurochemical signaling in the brain.”
This is both frightening and surprising. Help spread the word about harmful lice treatments.
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