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Banned pesticide allowed as medicine
After more than a half century of use and thousands of reports of illness and deaths blamed on the pesticide, the federal government has banned all uses of lindane - except by those who rub it on their scalps and bodies to kill lice and mites.
This month, the Environmental Protection Agency banned all uses of lindane as a pesticide, but the Food and Drug Administration has decided to allow its continued use in medicines.
Many public health advocates and environmental activists are expressing outrage, and some are gathering petitions to send to the FDA.
Lindane "is recognized internationally as one of the most toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative pesticides ever registered," said Jim Gulliford, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances.
But Jim Jones, who heads EPA's pesticide office, said his agency has no control over the medical uses of any pesticide that the FDA may authorize.
The FDA says it cannot talk publicly about the specific process under which drugs are approved