To the editor:

It has been reported to the Brown County Health Department that that there has been an increase by area pharmacists in the use of Lindane for treatment of certain infections.

Lindane is a pesticide used in agricultural applications. It is also prescribed as a medication called Kwell. This is used for the treatment of head lice and scabies.

Lindane is not broken down readily like other chemicals. It also is not removed from wastewater in standard fashion as wastewater is treated. This means that Lindane, present in wastewater, may eventually return to an area’s surface water, groundwater, soil, etc.

The health department and EPA have established safe concentration levels for municipal wastewater systems. In Brown County, these acceptable levels are 0.0000194mcg/L. The levels detected at our water treatment facility have been 0.0mcg/L.

Lindane in elevated levels can cause health-related problems in humans. Symptoms may be mild and include nausea/vomiting, dizziness, headache, confusion and other neurological symptoms. Long-term exposure to Lindane has been shown to cause liver and kidney damage.

Many states have banned the use of Lindane for the above reasons. The federal government has not yet done so. The current recommendations for health care providers is to use alternative treatments for head lice and/or scabies instead of Lindane/Kwell.

Be assured that the Brown County Health Department and the City of Brownwood will continue to monitor Lindane use in our area and levels in our water system. Should warnings or precautions be necessary, they will appear in mass media, including print, radio and/or television.

Russell B. Skinner, M.D.

Brown County Health Authority