Unfortunately, there's not much "new" from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when it comes to protecting kids and pets from toxic chemicals in the New Year. Which is why, today, we are filing a lawsuit asking the Court to tell EPA it needs to do better to protect pets and their families from the neurotoxic pesticide TCVP—a chemical widely used in flea control products, particularly flea collars.
Back in 2009, when we first brought our concerns about TCVP in flea collars to EPA, I did not think that six years later I would still need to warn pet lovers of the hazards lurking in the pet store aisle. After all, TCVP has been blamed for horrible burns, illnesses and deaths in cats and dogs and the science shows the pesticide is too toxic for use in the home around kids. Yet, EPA continues to ignore the science and allow pet products with TCVP to remain on store shelves.
To bring everyone up-to-speed, here is a quick recap of NRDC's efforts to keep pets and their families safe:
2007–2008: We conduct a study that finds TCVP residues on the fur of pets wearing flea collars at levels that are unsafe for toddlers. Our research also reveals a disturbing pattern of harm to pets and we identify an extensive list of safer options for flea control.
April 2009: We bring our findings, plus additional research, to the EPA and file a formal petition requesting that EPA no longer allow TCVP in products used on pets.
2009–2014: Year after year, EPA continues to delay. We receive no information on the status of our petition.
February 2014: Given no progress from EPA, we are forced to seek help from the Courts and file a lawsuit requesting a mandate that EPA to respond to our petition.
May 2014: EPA promises us (and the Court) a response by "the end of October".
November 2014: EPA publishes a shoddy safety assessment that ignores the science and fails to account for the increased vulnerability of kids—particularly for pet loving kids who can have a lot of contact with their dog or cat.
January 5, 2015: We turn back to the Court to obtain the protections kids and pet-loving families deserve.
At the risk of stating the obvious, EPA's failure to act on the health threats of TCVP is very troubling. There's no need to dose pets with a chemical that could cause permanent damage to the developing brain and nervous system of a child. Safer flea control options, such as those outlined for pet owners in NRDC's Green Paws product guide, are readily available.
So, this New Year, let's bring some science and common sense to EPA and boot out toxic pet products like TCVP flea collars, shampoos and dusts for good.