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EPA finds risks with flea collar chemical

by Britt E. Erickson
January 9, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 2

Credit: Shutterstock
Tetrachlorvinphos is used in some flea-control collars for pets.
Photo shows xx dog wearing a flea collar.
Credit: Shutterstock
Tetrachlorvinphos is used in some flea-control collars for pets.

Tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP), an organophosphate insecticide used to control fleas and ticks on pets and livestock, may pose a health risk to people in their homes and to workers who apply it, EPA says. These conclusions are in a final human health assessment the agency released on Jan. 4. The agency has contacted pesticide makers to discuss ways to reduce exposure to the chemical. EPA plans to propose a rule requiring such reductions later this year. In the meantime, the agency is advising consumers to keep children away from TCVP pet collars, spray, and powder products, and to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling TCVP products. The agency conducted the assessment in response to a 2009 petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council to ban pet products containing TCVP. The environmental group claims that the pesticide poses unacceptable risks to children’s developing brains and nervous systems. EPA initially denied the group’s petition, saying in 2014 that TCVP pet products pose no risk to human health. NRDC appealed the decision, and as part of that litigation the agency agreed to revise the human health risk assessment.


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