While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mulls over the 42,000 letters sent from Earthjustice supporters and others who expressed support for safety standards protecting rural kids from pesticides, it’s important to remember that pesticides aren’t just limited to the fields.
Every spring, pet owners slick the backs of their dogs and cats with over-the-counter treatments designed to keep fleas and ticks at bay. The problem is that these treatments, which are also found stocked on shelves of pet stores nationwide in the spray, collar and shampoo form, contain toxic pesticides. Think of it as your very own bottle-o-poison.
The EPA has been keeping a watchdog’s eye on these so-called spot-on treatments due to an increase in incident reports where pets have experienced adverse reactions that range from mild to downright serious.
According to the EPA, in 2008 there were more than 44,000 incidents reported from customers who used these treatment products. Of those, 600 cats and dogs died. Little dogs were the most affected, as were dogs less than three years old. A number of cat incidents were also attributed to dog products either because the cat was intentionally or unintentionally treated with a dog product, or because the cat was exposed to a treated dog.
The good news is that the EPA has announced that it will call for tighter regulations for spot-on treatments, such as standardized reporting and pre-market clinical trials for new products. The agency also plans to work with manufacturers to make labels clearer and to address the issue of proper dosage for smaller pets.
In the meantime, pet owners can limit pesticide exposure to their pets and themselves by looking into the many non-toxic options available for keeping fleas and ticks off their domesticated friends. Owners should also read flea treatment labels carefully and check with their veterinarians to make sure they’re using the right products on their pets.
Pet flea treatments can be dangerous, more safety steps in the works, EPA says (Environmental Health News)
Taking care of fleas and ticks on your pets (EPA)