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Miriam Rotkin-Ellman’s Blog

EPA Needs to Hear from You: Get Toxic Pet Products off the Shelves

Miriam Rotkin-Ellman

Posted July 7, 2011

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Calling all concerned pet owners and families.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is in charge of ensuring the safety of flea control products, is asking for public input on whether to continue to allow the neurotoxic and cancer-causing pesticide propoxur in pet products.  They need to hear from you that these products are not safe for our families or pets and should be banned.

In January, NRDC filed a petition (our third to date on the same topic) with EPA asking them to ban the use of propoxur in flea collars.  As I discussed in my January blog, the science is overwhelming. These flea collars can leave a dangerous pesticide residue on pets and is not safe for use – particularly around kids.   We’ve learned that rather than listen to the science, EPA officials are waiting to hear more from the companies that make these products. In the meantime, the dangerous products remain on the shelves.  We need to tip the balance and let EPA know that there are millions of concerned pet owners and families who want to make sure that toxic products are taken off the market. EPA has opened this discussion to the public and has a website where you can post your comments (see detailed instructions below) until July 15th 2011.  

Flea collars are designed to coat the dog or cat’s fur with a chemical residue that kills the fleas.  Unfortunately, the residue is not just toxic to fleas but can also be harmful to people and pets.  The pesticide propoxur is toxic to the nervous system and can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, sweating and tearing eyes. Severe poisoning can cause muscle twitching, seizures, respiratory paralysis and even death. And as I mentioned, it is a known carcinogen. Young children are particularly susceptible to these pesticides' effects because their nervous system and brain are still developing, and their ability to metabolize these chemicals is weaker than that of adults. In addition, kids often put their hands in their mouths after petting an animal, and so are more likely to ingest the hazardous residues.

Help us get these toxic products off the shelves: Follow these simple steps to tell EPA to ban the chemical propoxur from pet products.

By July 15 2011

1)      Go to

2)      Enter the following ID: EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0207-0018.

3)      Click search.

4)      On the right hand side click on “submit a comment”.

5)      Type your comment in the box provided.  Please be sure to let them know that you’re worried about unsafe pet products and ask them to “cancel” or ban the use of the chemical propoxur in pet products. Your name and the other information are optional.

6)      Click on submit and you’re done!

7)      Tell a friend - the more people who comment, the better.

Take your pet & family’s safety into your own hands: Learn more about safer methods of flea and tick control at While you’re there, be sure to check out our product guide, which ranks more than 125 flea & tick products, categorizing them by the level of their potential health threat. 


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James T.Jul 8 2011 07:50 AM

This link will take you directly to the "submit a comment" page:!submitComment;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0207-0018

Thank you for letting pet owners know about this rare opportunity to tell the EPA to remove dangerous flea collars from the market! It's really hard to believe they need "public input" to help them reach a decision on this matter. You would think that banning a product that harms the nervous system of children, and injures or kills thousands of pets each year, would simply be common sense.

If you're a pet owner, please take a few minutes and submit a comment. The manufacturers of these products don't like it when the public submits comments, but that's too bad. Our health is more important than their profits.

Daniel CorbinJul 9 2011 09:14 AM

Get this stuff off out of our homes.

SharonJul 9 2011 10:47 AM

I don't think the manufacturers should be allowed to set vac schedules either, a 3 year vac given every year is killing our pets. I avoid toxins for them in grooming and food. Where is the care for life? looks like neither human nor animal is considered where greed is the driving force. People get informed and take a good look at everything for yourselves.

hamishdadJul 10 2011 09:47 PM

Last year, the EPA completed a human health risk assessment for flea collars that contain the pesticide propoxur. It found that these products pose unacceptable risks to young children.

Sergeant’s Pet Care Products and Wellmark International (which markets propoxur flea collars under the Adams, Bio Spot, and Zodiac brands) strongly urged the EPA not to release its risk assessment of propoxur flea collars to the public, fearing that it would “seriously damage, if not destroy, the market for Propoxur Pet Collars.”

In addition, Sergeant’s and Wellmark International threatened legal action if the EPA made any attempt to remove these products from the market!

That is simply outrageous!

NSJul 11 2011 11:20 AM

Curious what you know about Frontline?

Unfortunately Sergeants has other highly toxic products on the market that this bill does not include. Their gel that is similar to Frontline is so toxic my dog was vomiting, had a high temperature and was shaking for 24 hours. Sergeants insisted it was an unusual reaction but after looking online, it was clear that other people's pets had died from using this product. It's ridiculous that these kinds of products are able to remain on the market.

Miriam Rotkin-EllmanJul 14 2011 06:43 PM

Thanks so much for your comment. That sounds like a horrible experience and I hope your dog has recovered. Our product guide has information on chemicals and health concerns for other flea control products - including Frontline and spot-on-products from other companies like Sergeants. You can find it at:

Miriam Rotkin-EllmanJul 14 2011 06:54 PM

Well said James T.! Thanks so much to all of you who have submitted comments to EPA. We're getting a great turnout - nearly 150 comments! We have one more day left. Let's get the word out and make sure EPA knows how many concerned people are out there.

Lisa BeebeJul 15 2011 06:20 PM

Thanks for explaining step by step how to submit a comment. I just submitted mine!

KrisJul 15 2011 07:29 PM

We eat food and use personal care products with so many chemicals in them that it's not even funny. Why would we purposefully put the same garbge in food for our beloved pets. We and they deserve better! Why not start with them.

Comments are closed for this post.


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