After more than a decade of litigation, the US Environmental Protection Agency has granted a petition to ban pet collars that contain the organophosphate insecticide tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP). The agency’s latest assessment finds that residential use of such collars to control fleas and ticks on pets exceeds the level of concern, particularly for children and other vulnerable populations.
Organophosphate insecticides are neurotoxic and can harm developing brains.
The environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) first petitioned the EPA in 2009 to ban all pet products that contain TCVP, and the case has gone back and forth in court ever since. The EPA revised its human health assessment several times in response to court orders. The most recent order, issued in April, gave the agency 6 months to revise the assessment and make a decision on the 2009 petition.
The EPA’s move to ban TCVP in pet collars is a huge victory for the NRDC. But the agency stopped short of banning all pet products that contain the chemical. It found no unacceptable risks to consumers from liquid sprays that contain TCVP.
“This is a major win for pet-owners and their families. TCVP is a toxic chemical that poses significant health risks to children, and does not belong on our pets and inside of our homes,” Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, a senior scientist at the NRDC, says in a statement. “Our thirteen years of work to protect people and their health from this pesticide has not ended, though. EPA also announced they may revisit this decision in the upcoming months, and we will continue to fight to ensure the safety of our children,” she says.
The EPA is expecting two studies from pesticide makers on the risks of TCVP in pet collars by the end of the year. The agency says that if new data impact its conclusions, it will revise the assessment.