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Gina Solomon’s Blog

It's Time for a Check-Up...on PETCO and PetSmart

Gina Solomon

Posted May 25, 2010

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I’ve been hearing some rumors that my medical advice – and your persuasive emails – may be sinking in at PETCO and PetSmart.

No, we didn’t ask them to quit smoking, or to watch their salt intake. Instead, we asked the two biggest retailers of pet products to stop selling the most hazardous flea and tick products on the market. NRDC’s own scientific studies show that flea collars containing the chemicals propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos leave residues on the fur of dogs and cats that could be hazardous to families, and to the pets themselves. These chemicals have been linked to both cancer and neurologic harm, and there are safer alternatives easily available.

Nearly a year ago, my colleagues and I released our scientific findings, along with a check-up on some pet stores where we found these products on the shelves. A few months ago, we still found these flea collars on the shelves, without even the benefit of warnings to consumers.

Now it’s time to check again. Neither retailer has made any official announcement that they are changing the products they sell. But some people have been reporting back to us that they aren’t seeing these products on the shelves anymore. That’s interesting news – and we’d love to hear it’s true – but it requires further investigation.

This is where I need your help.

If there’s a PETCO or a PetSmart near you, could you take 15 minutes to drop by and check their shelves for toxic flea & tick products? We’ll provide the checklist – if you provide the private investigation by sending me an email ( to let me know what you found. This detective work can help NRDC in its battle to protect pets and families from these toxic products by giving us a picture of what’s going on around the country. And of course, I’ll let you know what we find!

Are you game? Great! Here’s the information I’ll need:

  • Store name (eg. PETCO or PetSmart) and location
  • Checklist – Bring this list to the store with you and check all of the products that you found on shelves
  • Warning label – Cancer warning labels are also required on collars with the pesticide propoxur as an ingredient, so if you find one of those products (brands listed in the first box on our checklist) – look for a warning label with the proper language (exact language spelled out in the propoxur chart on our checklist) and let us know if it’s there or not.

And voila! By collecting this information, my team of scientific assistants (you!) will have done a check-up on the national chains.

After you’re done – or even if you can’t make it to your local store – click here to send a letter to the heads of the companies, asking them not to sell these dangerous flea products at their stores.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

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