NRDC sues EPA over toxic chemicals in flea collars

flea collarsMany pet lovers know the annoyance of getting rid of flea infestations. There are a number of natural remedies that can help alleviate this situation.

Flea collars are popular because they take away the worry and hassle of having to deal with the issue. But these handy items contain toxic chemicals that could be putting us and our pets at risk.

Stepping up to the issue, today the Natural Resources Defense Council NRDC) announced it has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking a response to NRDC’s petitions to ban two hazardous pesticides used in popular pet flea treatment products. The EPA allows two neurotoxic pesticides – propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) – to be used in flea treatments for dogs and cats. NRDC’s lawsuit seeks to force the EPA to respond to NRDC’s petitions to cancel all pet uses and manufacturer registrations of these two chemicals.

Natural Remedies can help defeat flea season“These flea collars leave a toxic residue on pets’ fur, exposing children to chemicals which can have harmful effects on their brains, similar to those from lead” said Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, senior scientist with NRDC’s health program. “(The) EPA decided long ago that nervous system-damaging chemicals shouldn’t be used indoors,” she said, “so why is it OK to put them on our pets?”

Flea collars leave pesticide residues on pet fur, exposing people to the chemicals they contain when they play with their pet or touch pet bedding. Propoxur and TCVP are pesticides that are known to be toxic to brain development, nervous system communication and can cause cancer. Children are particularly vulnerable because their smaller bodies are still developing and their activities, such as putting their hands in their mouths after petting animals or playing, increase the likelihood and amount of these pesticides that can enter their bodies. In large doses, these chemicals can also harm or kill dogs, cats and in extreme poisoning cases, even humans.

Kids can ingest the dangerous pesticides in flea collars

Kids can ingest the dangerous pesticides in flea collars

To protect against exposure to these chemicals, NRDC recommends avoiding flea collars brands that use them, including:

  • Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Inc.
  • Wellmark International
  • Hartz Mountain Corporation

NRDC has updated its Green Paws product guide, which encourages consumers and pet owners to use safer methods of pet flea control. NRDC’s Green Paws guide also ranks more than 125 flea and tick products based on ingredients, categorizing them by the level of their potential health threat to people and animals.

This is another case of being an educated consumer. The more you know, the wiser and healthier your purchasing choices can be. What you don’t know really can hurt you – or your kids.

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