Volume 92 Issue 12 | p. 7 | News of The Week
Issue Date: March 24, 2014 | Web Date: March 21, 2014

Certain Pet Flea Collars’ Days Are Numbered

EPA, two manufacturers agree to phase out products that contain propoxur, a neurotoxin
Department: Government & Policy
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: pesticides, EPA, Natural Resources Defense Council, children’s health

Two major pet product companies have reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to stop making flea collars that contain the pesticide propoxur. The agreement was prompted by an EPA risk assessment completed last fall that found unacceptable risks to children from exposure to pet collars containing the neurotoxic chemical.

Under the agreement, Sergeant’s Pet Care Products and Wellmark International can continue to produce flea collars with propoxur until April 1, 2015, and distribute them until April 1, 2016. EPA acknowledges that the products “do not meet the current safety standard.” But the agency is giving the companies time to phase out the products, claiming “they do not pose a public health risk if label directions are followed.”

Environmental and consumer advocacy groups are pleased that EPA and the two companies are addressing the health effects of chemicals in flea collars, but they are disappointed that EPA isn’t taking action to swiftly remove chemicals of concern from the market. “EPA found a risk to kids, and that deserves immediate action, not a slow retreat,” says Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, senior scientist with the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

NRDC sued EPA last month for failing to respond to the environmental group’s petitions to ban two pesticides used in pet flea collars. One of the pesticides is propoxur, a carbamate, and the other is tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP), an organophosphate. NRDC first petitioned EPA to ban propoxur in 2007 and to ban TCVP in 2009. EPA has yet to respond to NRDC’s petition to ban TCVP.

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ISSN 0009-2347
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