WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal legal petition today urging the Environmental Protection Agency to cancel the registration of the Seresto flea and tick collar linked to the deaths of nearly 1,700 pets.
The EPA has received more than 75,000 complaints linking the flea collar to harms ranging from skin irritation to death of pets. But the agency has taken no action to investigate the reports, recall the product or issue a nationwide warning to the public of its potential dangers.
The EPA has defended its track record on the Seresto collar by claiming that the reports, which also include complaints of harm to people, may not be valid. Yet the agency has made no effort to determine the validity of the reports or investigate them.
“It’s disgusting that even after 75,000 reports of pets suffering and even dying the EPA chose to do nothing at all,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center. “Enough is enough. It’s time for the EPA to own its failures and cancel this product before any more harm occurs.”
Seresto collars are plastic bands impregnated with insecticides that are released over time and coat an animal’s fur. The active ingredients of the flea collar are imidacloprid and flumethrin.
Imidacloprid is widely used in the United States and is among the neonicotinoid pesticides widely implicated in declines of pollinator populations. Flumethrin is a pyrethroid that has been shown to have troubling health impacts on dogs, cats and humans. When combined, imidacloprid and flumethrin are believed to have synergistic effects that make them even more toxic to fleas and ticks and, potentially, to pets and people.
Today’s petition argues that Seresto must be cancelled because it poses an unreasonable risk to human health, pets and the environment. No other pesticide product has been the subject of this many incident reports, which include 1,698 complaints linking the product to pet deaths and nearly 700 involving harm to people.
“The massive scale of suffering the EPA has quietly ignored while allowing this product to be widely sold is astounding,” said Burd. “If the EPA wants to show that it has really changed under the new administration and has recommitted to its mission of using the best available science to protect human health and the environment, then it must act to expeditiously cancel its approval of this troubling product.”