Essential oils not allowed to be kept in JeffCo schools - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Essential oils not allowed to be kept in JeffCo schools

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JEFFERSON COUNTY - AL - The latest item to hit school ban lists are essential oils. Parents say these plant oils help their children suffering from seemingly most ailments from asthma to allergies.

Jefferson County schools will not allow school nurses to administer them. Students cannot even keep them in lockers.

For those who don't know, essential oils are concentrated liquids containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. An oil is "essential" in that it carries a distinctive scent, or essence, of the plant.

The problem that schools have with these oils, they're not regulated by the FDA and aren't prescribed by physicians.

But, that's not sitting well with parents.

"I'm his parent. I should be able to give him whatever I feel is helping him and benefiting him," says Carmine Loper.

Loper's son attends McAdory Middle School. She says essential oils have helped with her sons ADD and allergies. 

"We were just told this last week that now we can't even leave them at the nurses station."

At the Jefferson County Board of Education, Karen Orton, school nurse supervisor offered this statement.

"The state does not recognize essential oils and that we will not be responsible as school nurses to administer those". 

But a parent can still come to the school and administer the oils to their child. They just can't keep the oils in school. 

"There may be many days that I may not be able to get up there," says Loper. "There are parents who have a full time job at an office. That's not feasible at all for them."

Proponents of essential oils say, they are classified as food additives and don't need FDA approval. Jefferson County schools say in that case, the oils shouldn't be considered 'medication.'

In an interview with ABC 33/40 in May, Dr. Bill Hardwick, a pediatrician with Children's of Alabama said unlike today's medicine, these oils lack research and clinical trials.

"The question always is, 'what is the safety information and the quality of the product?' So, safety-wise there is very little information about widespread use of these products."

For Loper, "I don't want people to take this for face value. Do your research. We've done our research with the different studies that we've found, along with our personal testimonies. Along with what we have seen before our eyes."
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