The national environmental group Beyond
Pesticides today asked major retailers to immediately pull
off their store shelves tick and flea repellents identified
by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as deadly. Last
month, EPA struck a deal with Hartz Mountain Corporation to
stop shipping and re-label two repellent products for which
EPA has received thousands of reports detailing illness and
death in kittens and cats. While shipping of the product
stopped at the end of November, the products will remain on
store shelves without any warning to consumers until they
are replaced with newly labeled products sometime next year.
"It is wrong to leave these dangerous pet products on
the market after EPA has identified the hazard," said
Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides.
the pet deaths associated with its flea repellent products,
Hartz agreed in November to halt all shipments of Hartz
Advanced Care Brand Flea and Tick Drops Plus for Cats and
Kittens (EPA Reg. No. 2596-148), and Hartz Advanced Care
Brand Once-a-Month Flea and Tick Drops for Cats and Kittens
(EPA Reg. No. 2596-151). Although the situation was deemed
sufficiently dire to support new packaging, additional
safety information, and a shipping stoppage, EPA,
nevertheless, has allowed products on store shelves to be
sold without warning. Beyond Pesticide fears additional pet
fatalities and potential danger to owners applying these
products. Affected cats have been exposed to dangerous doses
of these pesticides primarily through licking their fur.
Program Coordinator of Beyond Pesticides, Jessica Lunsford,
said, If these pets can become ill through normal
exposure to these products then children petting the animals
will also be exposed and could also be affected.
active ingredient in these products is phenothrin, a
synthetic pyrethroid found to induce neurotoxicity when
ingested as a result of licking the pesticide application.
Symptoms of acute toxicity include sneezing, nasal
stuffiness, headache, nausea, lack of coordination, tremors,
convulsions, facial swelling, and hyper-excitability. These
symptoms have been seen in cats, as obsessive fur licking
leading to baldness, severe dermatitis and even death.
This is not
the first time Hartz Mountain has produced products tied to
pet deaths. In 1988, Hartz was forced to remove its flea and
tick product, Blockade, after reports of 200 pet deaths and
charges filed by EPA for the company's failure to report
adverse effects incidents. Letters urging removal of the
products from store shelves were sent to 35 executives at 25
major retail chains, including PETsMart, Petco, K Mart,
Wal-Mart, Kroger affiliated food stores and many others.