LINDANE HEAD LICE TREATMENT
The Hon. R. S. L. JONES: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Health and Community Services. Has the Minister had representations from the toxic chemicals committee of the Total Environment Centre on the question of banning the organochlorine lindane from use in head lice treatments? Is it not a fact that lindane can cause many serious health effects, including liver and kidney tumours and central nervous system disturbances? Is it not a fact that it has been banned in many countries? What action does the Minister intend to take to insure that the use of lindane in head lice treatment is banned in New South Wales?
The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: The matter which the honourable member raises is one about which I do not have personal knowledge. However, I am aware that chemicals which are sold in this State across the counter are usually sold after a very detailed safety analysis is done. It would be a very rare occurrence to find these products being sold unless previously identified as safe. A member who in this House refers to a specific product must do so with confidence that his allegation is correct, and that the product is totally unsafe. To raise such an issue within the protection of Parliament can
cause the press to publish the identity of a particular product and thus give rise to grave concern about its safety. I will take the matter up and try to give an answer tomorrow. The reference is to a product used in the treatment for head lice which is constantly being used on children: itself a matter which could give rise to a grave concern. I hope that no public reference is made until I am able to have the matter properly clarified so that a precise answer can be given tomorrow.
The Hon. E. P. PICKERING: In view of the fact that honourable members have no further questions, other business might proceed.