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E-M:/ Media Release: Michigan House Votes 88-20 to Restrict Pharmaceutical Pesticide Lindane

For Immediate Release: March 17, 2009

Contacts: Mike Shriberg, Ecology Center: 734-761-3186 x108 or cell 734-904-7015 or

Genevieve Howe, MI Network for Children’s Environmental Health: 734-761-3186 x115 or cell 617-833-3847


Michigan House Votes 88-20 to Restrict Pharmaceutical Pesticide Lindane

March 17, 2009: Leading health, medical and environmental groups in Michigan praised today’s 88-20 bipartisan vote to help protect children and our Great Lakes from an outdated treatment for lice and scabies.  The Michigan House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed HB 4402 to restrict pharmaceutical use of the toxic pesticide lindane.

“This is an important vote for children’s health,” said Ken Fletcher, Director of Government Affairs for the Michigan Nurses Association.  “We applaud legislators for supporting this measure, and urge the Senate to quickly follow suit to help protect Michigan’s children.”

In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration issued a public health advisory for lindane.  The agency recommended lindane-containing products be used with “caution for infants, children, the elderly,” and “those who weigh less than 110 pounds, as they may be at risk of serious neurotoxicity.”  In 2006, lindane was voluntarily withdrawn from agricultural uses in the U.S.  Lindane can no longer be used in the U.S. in the military or on livestock or pets.  Yet, lindane is still applied to the scalps of Michigan children.

“This vote will help stop a persistent, bioaccumulative toxic chemical from entering the Great Lakes,” said Christy McGillivray of Clean Water Action.  “Many thanks to the sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Dan Scripps, for prioritizing children's health.”

HB 4402 would require that lindane be used only under a physician's supervision in his or her office.  An identical bill passed the Michigan House by a wide margin last year, but was not taken up by Senator Tom George’s Health Policy Committee.

Major health organizations support HB 4402, including the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Michigan Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, the Michigan Association of School Nurses, the Michigan Pharmacists Association, and the Wayne County Medical Society of Southeast Michigan.  Major environmental organizations also support the bill, including the Michigan Environmental Council, Clean Water Action, Ecology Center, Sierra Club and Michigan League of Conservation Voters.  The Michigan Department of Community Health does not recommend lindane use for either head lice or scabies and supports the legislation.

“The state's prestigious medical and health authorities are calling for a restriction on the ingredient lindane,” said Mike Shriberg, Ph.D., Policy Director for the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health & the Ecology Center. “We thank the House for its strong action and urge the Senate to move quickly protect the public from this toxic pesticide.”


The Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health is a coalition of health professionals, health-affected groups, environmental organizations, and others dedicated to a safe and less toxic world for Michigan's children.

Members include: * American Academy of Pediatrics (Michigan Chapter) * Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) * Association for Children's Mental Health * Autism Society of Michigan * Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination * Clean Water Fund * Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice * East Michigan Environmental Action Council * Ecology Center * Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan * Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) of Michigan * Local Motion * Michigan Coalition for Children and Families * Michigan Environmental Council * Michigan Nurses Association * Science and Environmental Health Network * Voices for Earth Justice


Mike Shriberg, Ph.D.
Policy Director, Ecology Center
117 N. Division Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-761-3186 ext 108