EPA Flea Treatment Study Hits the News

Flea Control Secrets ebookThe long overdue results from the last Office of Pesticides Program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to make significant changes when it comes to spot-on products.

Ya think?

I wrote about this in the eBook Flea Control Secrets and anticipated the results last fall at the latest.

Today it was announced that there will be an increased scrutiny of flea treatment products, specifically spot-on treatments.

The spot-on flea treatment product investigation results were introduced on March 17, 2010 when the EPA conducted an online flea treatment webinar to discuss their findings from the investigation that I mentioned last year—and have been waiting for.

The investigation was sparked by reports of injury and deaths occurring from over the counter flea and tick products.

The agency is inviting public comment about how to implement their new measures. You can view the Federal Register notice announcing the opening of docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0229.

Take a moment to voice your concerns and opinions now.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) collaborated on this study.

The results found dermal, gastrointestinal and neurological reactions were the most commonly reported complications.

What disturbed me was that the initial posting (listed in Flea Control Secrets) was removed from the EPA website.

Was it pressure from manufacturers of these products?

In addition to looking at the REPORTED incidents involving cats and dogs, and at both the active and inert ingredients, and finally evaluated product labeling.

Some of the problems involved inconsistent reports on adverse reactions and information reported by pet owners.

Also, incidents that weren’t included in the EPA’s evaluation were those from products without EPA registration numbers, those that were vague, and those that were not able to be identified as a specific pesticides or drugs because a combination meant that a reaction couldn’t be definitively tied to a specific product.

In addition, incidents that involving multiple animals were not included because many of these could not be accurately identified.

So, in the great, vague, non-committal way the government seems to be operating these days, the EPA stated that their evaluation indicated that additional restrictions should be applied to these products.

Uh, we knew that already.

Ultimately, the public comment period is vital since, there are a variety of ideas they will implement—such as different packaging, clearer warnings, etc.

It is not clear if restrictions will apply to over-the-counter products, prescription products or both.

Findings included:

  • Small breed dogs were affected more often than medium and large breed dogs.
  • Dogs affected over three years of age were significant.
  • Younger cats affected were significant.
  • Products containing cyphenothrin and permethrin stood out.
  • Dosage ranges are currently too broad and may need refinement.

I find it interesting that blame is being passed on to the consumer once again since the EPA emphasized the importance of following the manufacturer’s directions carefully, suggesting that misapplication may have be a major contributor to incidents, and that the misuse of dog products on cats or splitting a tube between animals was a concern.

Unrevealed information includes inert ingredients (unlisted and often proprietary additives) which are indicated as an important factor in adverse reactions.

You can find a list of the flea treatment product/manufacturer by number here.

The analysis was done with percentages to omit any bias based on sales and differences in product popularity and use differences.

Meaning, that a popular product may show more incidents versus a less popular product.

How do you feel about that?

Many people want to see all the numbers of incidents, ingredients, etc.

However, the EPA noted that deaths and adverse incidents were reported for all the products included in the study.

Flea Treatment Safety Steps YOU Can Take

  • Consult your veterinarian before using any product.
  • Do not purchase flea treatment products from suspect suppliers (such as online) as counterfeit flea treatment is a problem.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions and entire label (follow the directions as detailed).
  • Pay attention to warnings and use caution on weak, elderly, sick, pregnant, or nursing pets.
  • Follow age restrictions.
  • Weigh your pet before application and follow weight restrictions on package–and err on the low side.
  • Follow species specific practices. Only use a dog product on a dog and a cat product on a cat.
  • Keep the package and record the dates and times you treat your pet. Lot numbers and product data is vital if your pet has an adverse reaction.
  • Use a flea treatment product on a pet when you are going to be present so you can watch your pet and identify an adverse reaction quickly if it happens.
  • Call your veterinarian immediately if your pet has symptoms of an adverse reaction.
  • You can also call an emergency clinic or the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

EPA Flea Control Product Investigation Links

Go now and give your public comment on flea treatment products to the EPA or you can contact individuals involved in this process:

• Kimberly Nesci, MS US EPA, Registration Division (reach her with questions at pets@epa.gov)
• Lois Rossi, MS US EPA, Director, Registration Division
• Kit Farwell, DVM US EPA, Health Effects Division

This post is a reprint from Flea Control Secrets blog. Please feel free to distribute this post or republish it as long as you keep it intact. You can purchase Flea Control Secrets eBook here.

EPA Wants Your Comments

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is requesting public comment on options for disclosing inert ingredients in pesticides. In this anticipated rule making, EPA is seeking ideas for greater disclosure of inert ingredient identities. Inert ingredients are part of the end use product formulation and are not active ingredients. Revealing inert ingredients will help consumers make informed decisions and will better protect public health and the environment.

“Consumers deserve to know the identities of ingredients in pesticide formulations, including inert ingredients,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. “Disclosing inert ingredients in pesticide products, especially those considered to be hazardous, will empower consumers and pesticide users to make more informed choices.”

EPA believes public disclosure is one way to discourage the use of hazardous inert ingredients in pesticide formulations. The agency is inviting comment on various regulatory and voluntary steps to achieve this broader disclosure.

Pesticide manufacturers usually disclose their inert ingredients only to EPA. Currently, EPA evaluates the safety of all ingredients in a product’s formulation when determining whether the pesticide should be registered.

On October 1, 2009, EPA responded to two petitions (one by Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, and a second by several state attorneys general), that designated more than 350 inert pesticide ingredients as hazardous. The petitioners asked EPA to require that these ingredients be identified on the labels of products that include them in their formulations.

EPA will accept comments on the advance notice of proposed rulemaking for 60 days after it has been published in the Federal Register.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/opprd001/inerts/index.htm