EPA Needs to Hear from You: Get Toxic Pet Products off the Shelves

Calling all concerned pet owners and families.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is in charge of ensuring the safety of flea control products, is asking for public input on whether to continue to allow the neurotoxic and cancer-causing pesticide propoxur in pet products.  They need to hear from you that these products are not safe for our families or pets and should be banned.

In January, NRDC filed a petition (our third to date on the same topic) with EPA asking them to ban the use of propoxur in flea collars.  As I discussed in my January blog, the science is overwhelming. These flea collars can leave a dangerous pesticide residue on pets and is not safe for use – particularly around kids.   We’ve learned that rather than listen to the science, EPA officials are waiting to hear more from the companies that make these products. In the meantime, the dangerous products remain on the shelves.  We need to tip the balance and let EPA know that there are millions of concerned pet owners and families who want to make sure that toxic products are taken off the market. EPA has opened this discussion to the public and has a website where you can post your comments (see detailed instructions below) until July 15th 2011.  

Flea collars are designed to coat the dog or cat’s fur with a chemical residue that kills the fleas.  Unfortunately, the residue is not just toxic to fleas but can also be harmful to people and pets.  The pesticide propoxur is toxic to the nervous system and can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, sweating and tearing eyes. Severe poisoning can cause muscle twitching, seizures, respiratory paralysis and even death. And as I mentioned, it is a known carcinogen. Young children are particularly susceptible to these pesticides' effects because their nervous system and brain are still developing, and their ability to metabolize these chemicals is weaker than that of adults. In addition, kids often put their hands in their mouths after petting an animal, and so are more likely to ingest the hazardous residues.

Help us get these toxic products off the shelves: Follow these simple steps to tell EPA to ban the chemical propoxur from pet products.

By July 15 2011

1)      Go to www.regulations.gov

2)      Enter the following ID: EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0207-0018.

3)      Click search.

4)      On the right hand side click on “submit a comment”.

5)      Type your comment in the box provided.  Please be sure to let them know that you’re worried about unsafe pet products and ask them to “cancel” or ban the use of the chemical propoxur in pet products. Your name and the other information are optional.

6)      Click on submit and you’re done!

7)      Tell a friend - the more people who comment, the better.

Take your pet & family’s safety into your own hands: Learn more about safer methods of flea and tick control at www.greenpaws.org. While you’re there, be sure to check out our product guide, which ranks more than 125 flea & tick products, categorizing them by the level of their potential health threat. 

About the Authors

Miriam Rotkin-Ellman

Senior Scientist, Health and Environment program

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