March 11, 2021 – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under fire for its failure to warn people about the risks and potentially deadly dangers associated with Seresto’s flea and tick collars, which are available for dogs and cats. Hundreds of animals have died, and thousands upon thousands have been injured, and humans have been harmed, but the agency has yet to take action.

Seresto-brand flea and tick collars, which were developed by Bayer and are sold by Elanco, are a popular product and top-seller on Amazon, but the chemical cocktail of pesticides they contain are causing serious harm.

According to a report by the Midwest Center for Investigation that was co-published with USA Today based on documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity, since these collars were introduced in 2012, the EPA has received reports of at least 1,698 related deaths, and more than 75,000 incident reports, which include harm to nearly 1,000 people.

The combination of the two active pesticides, imidacloprid and flumethrin, are also reportedly extra toxic together, but were only studied individually. These collars are intended to work for months, but even if used as directed for external use, animals can still ingest these pesticides by licking themselves. The consequences can prove to be fatal, or result in other health issues, such as skin irritation, seizures, vomiting, fatigue and motor dysfunction.

Despite this, the agency has yet to issue a warning to the public, and what’s more concerning, is that those numbers only include known incidents where the correlation was made and reported.

Some have raised questions about knock-off collars being to blame, but as the initial report noted this isn’t the first time pesticides used in these kinds of flea and tick products have come under scrutiny. The Natural Resources Defense Council is currently engaged in a lawsuit over a different pesticide in flea collars, tetrachlorvinphos. Still another, propoxur, which was linked to serious health conditions was previously approved by the EPA, but companies at least voluntarily agreed to stop using it.

Our animal companions deserve better than to be subjected to potentially deadly products that are supposedly intended to protect them from harm, and we need to be vigilant about what they’re exposed to. Regular grooming and cleaning your home can go a long way toward protecting your furry friends, and there are a few non-toxic alternatives that are available to help prevent infestations.

What To Do If Your Companion Has a Reaction to a Flea and Tick Product

Different kinds of flea and tick products, which are available over-the-counter and from veterinarians, are either regulated by the EPA or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), depending on what they are and what they do. The FDA regulates drugs for animals, such as drugs that are oral or injectable, and the EPA registers pesticides, such as spot-on products.  

If you suspect your companion has been affected, you can report it to the National Pesticide Information Center at 800-858-7378, or find out more on what to do at the EPA, which now has special reporting for spot-on treatments, and the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

With your help, In Defense of Animals has become an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 valued supporters and a 30-year history of protecting animals, people and the environment. We accomplish our mission through education, campaigns, sanctuaries and hands-on animal rescuers in India, Korea, and rural Mississippi. Our main headquarters are established in San Rafael, California.