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U.S. and Canada to Increase Scrutiny of Flea and Tick Pet Products

Release Date: 04/16/2009
Contact Information: (News media only) Dale Kemery, 202-564-7839/4355 / kemery.dale@epa.gov (Other inquiries: Doug Parsons, 202-564-0341 / parsons.douglas@epa.gov

(Washington, DC - April 16, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is intensifying its evaluation of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control for pets due to recent increases in the number of reported incidents. Adverse reactions reported range from mild effects such as skin irritation to more serious effects such as seizures and, in some cases, the death of pets.

Flea and tick products can be appropriate treatments for protecting your pets and your family’s health because fleas and ticks can transmit disease. While many people use the products with no harm to their pets, EPA recommends that pet owners take precautions when using these products. People should carefully follow label directions and monitor their pets for any signs of an adverse reaction after application, particularly when using these products for the first time. Pet owners may also want to consult a veterinarian about the responsible and effective use of flea and tick products.

Incidents with flea and tick products can involve the use of spot-on treatments, sprays, collars and shampoos. However, the majority of the incidents reported to EPA are related to flea and tick treatments with EPA-registered spot-on products. Spot-on products are generally sold in tubes or vials and are applied to one or more localized areas on the body of the pet, such as in between the shoulders or in a stripe along the back. This advisory pertains only to EPA-registered spot-on flea and tick products; these products have an EPA registration number on the label.

Health Canada has identified similar concerns about the use of spot-on flea and tick products. Health Canada and EPA will meet shortly with spot-on product manufacturers to address the issue, including whether further restrictions are necessary to protect the health of pets.

EPA recommends that veterinarians use the National Pesticide Information Center’s Veterinary Pesticide Adverse Effects Reporting portal to report incidents: http://npic.orst.edu/vet

More information on pet products and safety tips: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/pets.htm