Break the Chain Feeling Lousy

Exclusive (10/29/2001) Once again, we're told that a common product we've been using on our children for years could actually be killing them. Despite having several of the warning bells of a hoax, this one rings true.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

To: Subject: HEAD LICE CHEMICAL WARNING
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001

From Countryside Magazine Volume 85, No. 6 November/December 2001 "Homestead Health" Pages 64 & 65..........

One mother found an issue of Chemical Engineering News which had an article on the phasing out of chlorinated hydrocarbons. Synthetic pyrethroids such as NIX were included in the chart along with different herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. The negative effects were many.

Registered nurse Gwen Le Mands sent us the following:

COUNTRYSIDE: Just in case you know any families with young children I am enclosing an excerpt of the following article. Just think of the sorrow that could be prevented.

This is a sad story, but it makes a point. . .

In 1984 there was an outbreak of head lice in an elementary school. Several children were discovered to have head lice, including one woman's second son, Jesse (the woman wished to remain anonymous). The pediatrician prescribed Kwell shampoo never telling her anything other than the fact that it could cause eye or skin irritation. She used the Lindane shampoo on her family, sprayed the house, and had it exterminated. She had a refill of the Lindane and used it twice that first time on all of her children. She did all of the shampooing herself, without gloves. About two months later, she watched Jesse playing "Superman" as he jumped from the couch to the love seat. When he was in midair he caught himself in the stomach and appeared to be in a lot of pain. They took Jesse to the emergency room, and after being examined, the doctors told them that Jesse had an enlarged spleen. The doctors decided to do some blood work and found that his lymphocytes and white blood cell count was irregularly high.

She had researched the possible diagnoses and knew his symptoms pointed to leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Jesse was hospitalized for six weeks until he went into remission through chemotherapy.

The doctors asked a lot of questions about their background. Had there been a history of leukemia? Was there chemical exposure? There were no questions about pesticides or treatments for head lice so she didn't make the connection. It never crossed her mind. Jesse responded well to chemotherapy. He was resilient and the entire family pulled for him. He was only two at the time. Eventually, things got back to normal as Jesse ingested chemotherapy orally once a week for three years. The doctors told them that if he relapsed it would happen within six months after coming off chemotherapy.

They were excited to pass the six-month and then ninth-month marks. Prior to the start of that school year in 1987, she again shampooed all of the kids' hair with NIX. It was nine months after Jesse's remission.

About six to eight weeks later, Jesse's cancer came back. The doctors were shocked because his type of cancer had such a high cure rate and he had passed the nine-month mark typically indicating a complete recovery. It boggled everyone's mind. Because there was no perfect match for a bone marrow transplant, he was put on a new two-year protocol for chemotherapy with new drugs.

The doctors believed he had a 70% chance of remission. Jesse did well. When he came off the second protocol he was doing well. About six-to-eight months later she shampooed the kids' hair again for back-to-school. Six-to-seven weeks later, Jesse relapsed again. They took him to a prominent medical facility on the East Coast for a bone marrow transplant in 1991.

It was mid-August 1992, and she again shampooed the kids' hair with NIX because it was once again back-to-school time. They went on vacation for a week and when they returned they took Jesse in for lab work to find that he had relapsed again and this time he was completely full of leukemia.

It was at this time that she began to make the connection between Jesse's relapses and the head lice treatments. Every time she used head lice treatments, Jesse relapsed. After some research at the library, she found an EPA Pesticide fact sheet, which defined Lindane as an isomer of benzene hexachloride. She also found that there was sufficient evidence to support the dangers of exposure to benzene and that many reports associated leukemia with benzene exposure. That explained the Lindane she used but she also used so much NIX after which Jesse consistently went into relapse. So, she looked to find a correlation with NIX and Lindane and found an issue of Chemical Engineering News which had an article on the phasing out of chlorinated hydrocarbons. It included a specific chart, which included a listing of endocrine disrupters. Synthetic pyrethroids such as NlX were included in the chart with different herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. They were all in the same category in terms of their effects. And the negative effects were many.

She was born in a time when you pulled out a can of RAID or OFF, spraying it freely to avoid bugs and mosquitoes. She never considered those chemicals as dangerous. They were just part of everyday life.

Jesse died on September 11, 1993.

Since May 1994, the NPA's National Reporting Registry has received hundreds of adverse reaction reports associated with all the commercially available lice and scabies pesticide treatment products.

Each year hundreds of thousands of poorly informed parents apply potentially harmful pesticides to their children's scalp or skin to kill head lice or scabies. Education is vital. There are too many families yet to be reached and too many children unnecessarily put at risk.

A natural cure for head lice is available from Planet Solutions. Use a dilution of Planet Solutions 1:1 applied to dry hair and allowed to stay 20 minutes and reapply and stay another 20 minutes, rinse thoroughly and use nit comb. It is so much safer than toxic over-the-counter treatments, such as NIX

Gwen Le Mends, R.N.
287 Spring Rd.
Mineral, VA 13117

For more information contact:
Planet Solutions
5601 N. Powerline Rd. Suite #301
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309
ph (954) 229-3007
www.planetsolutions.com

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

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At first, this letter rang a couple of warning bells. First, the third-hand retelling of a very personal story is common to hoaxes that appeal to your emotions over your intellect. Second, the "more information" contact at the end for Planet Solutions (later versions of this letter correctly listed the company's web address as .org, not .com), a marketer of chemical-free alternatives to common health and beauty items is consistent with marketing propaganda common to alternative industries.

However, I contacted the Managing Editor of Countryside Magazine who confirmed that the article ran in their publication and verified the identity of the author of the letter.

"This article was sent by a reader (an RN) in Virginia, and paraphrased. The original article was four pages long, written by the mother who wished to remain anonymous.

"The article originally appeared in The National Pediculosis Association's Progress, Vol. 13, No. 1, Winter/Spring 1997, page 1."

Anne-marie
Managing Editor
Countryside & Small Stock Journal

You can get more information about the health hazards of Lindane from the National Pediculosis Association website.

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