For Immediate Release, November 7, 2022
Nathan Donley, (971) 717-6406, email@example.com
Newly Obtained EPA Documents Reveal Seresto Flea Collars Now Linked to More Than 100,000 Reports of Harm to Pets, Nearly 2,700 Deaths
Over 10 Years Agency Has Received Average of 25 Reports Daily of Injuries to Pets Wearing Seresto Collars But Taken No Action
WASHINGTON— Reports of harm to pets wearing Seresto flea collars have now soared to 100,592, including 2,698 deaths, according to new Environmental Protection Agency incident reports obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity.
There are also 894 reports of humans being harmed after exposure to the pet collar.
The new EPA data reveals that there has been an average of 25 dog and cat injury reports per day since the collars went on the market in March 2012. An average of 21 pet deaths linked to the collars have been reported each month.
“The fact that on average, 25 different people every day are linking this collar with harm to their pet, and then reporting it to the authorities, is absolutely shocking,” said Nathan Donley, environmental health science director at the Center. “This has been happening constantly for 10 years, and the EPA has done nothing.”
Earlier this year the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy held an oversight hearing and released a report based on a year-long investigation detailing the EPA’s failure to take action to protect pets from harms associated with the Seresto collars.
The committee’s report detailed how Seresto had a much higher number of total incidents and “major” and “death” incidents than any other flea and tick treatments, even when accounting for the number of collars sold.
The Seresto collar had nearly 4,000 more — or 58% more — incidents than the second-most dangerous flea-control product, and over 7,000 more — or 235% more — incidents than the third most dangerous product.
The report noted that the Seresto collar was banned in Canada after an assessment by federal regulators found that it probably or possibly caused 77% of “death” and “major” reported incidents involving its use.
The EPA’s Office of Inspector General is currently investigating whether the agency has violated federal law by failing to take action on the Seresto flea collar.
Emails previously released under the Freedom of Information Act detailed how EPA managers had reportedly instructed staff not to put in writing their concerns about Seresto. The emails revealed significant internal strife within the agency regarding the pet collars, with staff scientists and incident coordinators repeatedly urging managers to take action on Seresto.
Despite the escalating number of incidents and the consistent nature of the harms reported — such as severe rashes and seizures — the EPA has put in place no restrictions or alerted pet owners to the potential risks.
In July 2021 the agency sought public comment on the Center’s petition to cancel the registration of the Seresto.
However, the newly obtained documents reveal a process fraught with delays and no commitment to a timeline on action even as more incidents and deaths are reported. An EPA review of detailed incident reports requested in April 2021 by Elanco, the flea collar’s maker, was originally estimated to be completed in September 2022. That was subsequently pushed back to sometime in “fall.” No review has been released to date.
The EPA has steadfastly remained uncommitted to a deadline to take regulatory action on Seresto a year and a half after The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and USA Today published their initial investigation on the issue.
“Every single month this drags on is another month where 21 more people have to make that dreaded phone call to report that their pet died after wearing this collar. And who knows how many grieving pet owners never file a report,” said Donley. “The EPA’s delay and inaction have heartbreaking consequences every day, and it’s long past time for the agency to do its job.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.