GRAND RAPIDS – State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) is introducing legislation this week that would strictly regulate the sale and use of Lindane, an ingredient in some treatments for lice and scabies. The proposal would require that these products only be used under the supervision of a physician in his or her office. Lindane, a suspected carcinogen in human beings, has been connected to increased rates of miscarriage, liver toxicity and kidney failure. When Lindane, which is used in some lice treatments, is washed down the drain and reaches bodies of water such as the Great Lakes, it is absorbed by fish and could pose a threat to people who then consume them.

“We know that Lindane is harmful to human health, which is why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has banned its use as an agricultural insecticide. When we know a product is that harmful to people, it only makes sense that we make sure it is used safely,” Brinks said. “This proposal will not only safeguard the health of people who need treatments for lice and scabies, but for everyone who enjoys eating fish caught in our Great Lakes.”

A ban on Lindane was put in place in California in 2002, and studies have shown that the ban hasn’t reduced the effectiveness of lice and scabies treatment there. The study also showed that the ban was linked to improved environmental quality and fewer accidental exposures. Brinks introduced a similar measure to ban Lindane in 2013.

“We can protect both the people of Michigan and our environment by banning the sale of Lindane,” Brinks said. “I’m proud to have re-introduced this bill as part of commemorating Earth Day this week, and I’m hopeful my colleagues will quickly move this bill through the Legislature and onto the governor’s desk.”