Pet collars will no longer contain toxic pesticide carbaryl, effective 2010

Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the use of carbaryl, a highly toxic pesticide, in pet collars will be withdrawn! 

In 2005  NRDC  filed a petition to cancel carbaryl. We asked that EPA cancel uses of carbaryl in pet flea collars because of the high exposures to children, and the availability of less toxic or non-toxic alternatives . In 2006 all pet products with carbaryl except collars were voluntarily cancelled by registrants. Wellmark International was the only hold-out, defending its collar registrations. In 2007  NRDC sued EPA for unreasonable delay in responding to our petition. In 2008 EPA denied our petition.  In April, 2009 NRDC released its "Poison on Pets II" report documenting high chemical residue levels on the fur of pets that wore flea collars. Now, EPA has announced that Wellmark International has withdrawn its pet collar uses, effective September, 2010. Yay!

Agriculture and other residential uses still remain a concern. The EPA assessment found that normal agriculture use of carbaryl would lead to unsafe contamination of rivers and streams (surface water), according to screening-level modeling estimates.  EPA ignored its own model predictions, writing that actual water contamination was "likely to be much lower", but failed to present any scientific evidence to support this statement. Carbaryl is also toxic to bees and other pollinators.

Carbaryl, trade name 'Sevin', is a broad-spectrum insecticide used on lawns and gardens as well as agriculture crops that include apples, pecans, grapes, alfalfa, oranges, and corn. About 3.9 million pounds of carbaryl are used annually in the U.S., with about half for agriculture and half for non-agriculture uses.  

For more information on pesticides and pets visit the NRDC pet site.

About the Authors

Jennifer Sass

Senior Scientist, Health program

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