A MARGARET River company’s environmentally-friendly head lice treatment is set to gain 18 per cent of the $5.3 million Australian treatment market by December.In 1997, Wild Child managing director Leanne Preston decided to produce Quit Nits Treatment and Quit Nits Preventative from essential oils and WA wildflower essences as an alternative to dangerous insecticide-based treatments.She was frustrated with having to use such products on her children after they picked up head lice at the local school.Ms Preston, who was a finalist in the recent WA Telstra Business Woman of the Year Awards, said she was concerned at the side-effects of a government recommended treatment that was a chemical with a Malathion base.“Malathion is a derivative of a nerve gas created in Nazi Germany and the government’s own publication lists the side-effects as ‘bronchial secretion, excessive salivation and sweating, nausea and temporary muscle weakness’,” Ms Preston said.“I spent considerable time researching natural alternatives, including aboriginal remedies, and came up with a product that is based on eucalyptus and lavender oils, blended with WA wildflower essences.“The product has proved to be totally effective, not only for treatment but also prevention.”Production was initially home-based with distribution confined to small areas of WA but the overwhelming demand for the product soon resulted in the establishment of full-scale production and distribution systems. In late 1998, Wild Child signed a distribution deal with APCO Pty Ltd to bring the product to pharmacies Australia-wide.The product is now manufactured by Narwhal Pty Ltd in Welshpool. It is also available through health food stores, country general stores and hairdressers.
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