WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit today challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to release documents regarding the Seresto flea and tick collar, which has generated more than 75,000 reports of harm ranging from skin irritation to death of pets.
The lawsuit seeks documents requested in August 2020 by the Center under the Freedom of Information Act. The EPA acknowledged receipt of the Center’s request, and its FOIA tracking website provided an estimated completion date of Sept. 28, 2020. Yet the Center has not received a single document responsive to the request.
“It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to get the EPA to release public documents that could shed light on the deaths of over a thousand family pets,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center’s environmental health program. “It’s inexcusable that the agency charged with regulating this pesticidal collar has not only refused to hand over public documents but has also refused to even take the basic measure of warning the public that it has received over 75,000 reports of it causing harm and even death.”
The EPA has defended its track record on approving the Seresto collar by claiming that the incident reports, which also include complaints of harm to people, may not be valid or may be linked to improper usage of the collars. But the agency has made no effort to provide a basis for these claims or launch a public investigation.
Seresto collars are plastic bands impregnated with two insecticides that are released over time and coat an animal’s fur.
“While pet lovers all over the country are wondering whether these flea collars are too dangerous to use, the EPA is just sitting on vital information that could help clarify this issue. That’s just not right.” said Burd. “If the EPA wants to show that it has changed under the new administration, it needs to commit to transparency and immediately release all documents relating to this request.”
Last week the Center petitioned the EPA to cancel the registration of Seresto collars, because they pose an unreasonable risk to human health, pets and the environment. No other pesticide product has been the subject of this many incident reports.
The Center is represented by Dan Snyder with the Law Offices of Charlie Tebbutt, a public-interest environmental law firm, and in-house counsel.