[X] CLOSEMAIN MENU

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • air pollution (2)
    • Announcements (588)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (31)
    • Antimicrobial (11)
    • Aquaculture (29)
    • Aquatic Organisms (26)
    • Bats (6)
    • Beneficials (42)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (25)
    • Biomonitoring (36)
    • Birds (16)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Bug Bombs (2)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (27)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (9)
    • Children (65)
    • Children/Schools (230)
    • cicadas (1)
    • Climate (9)
    • Climate Change (62)
    • Clover (1)
    • compost (2)
    • contamination (119)
    • Disinfectants & Sanitizers (12)
    • Drift (3)
    • Drinking Water (3)
    • Ecosystem Services (3)
    • Emergency Exemption (2)
    • Environmental Justice (140)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (342)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (11)
    • Farmworkers (160)
    • Forestry (5)
    • Fracking (4)
    • Fungal Resistance (2)
    • Fungicides (15)
    • Goats (2)
    • Golf (15)
    • Greenhouse (1)
    • Groundwater (3)
    • Health care (32)
    • Herbicides (14)
    • Holidays (30)
    • Household Use (6)
    • Indigenous People (1)
    • Infectious Disease (2)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (62)
    • Invasive Species (33)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (225)
    • Litigation (321)
    • Livestock (6)
    • Metabolites (3)
    • Microbiata (14)
    • Microbiome (15)
    • Nanosilver (2)
    • Nanotechnology (54)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Occupational Health (5)
    • Pesticide Drift (145)
    • Pesticide Efficacy (2)
    • Pesticide Mixtures (2)
    • Pesticide Regulation (715)
    • Pesticide Residues (163)
    • Pets (28)
    • Plant Incorporated Protectants (1)
    • Poisoning (4)
    • Preemption (26)
    • President-elect Transition (2)
    • Repellent (2)
    • Resistance (101)
    • Rights-of-Way (1)
    • Rodenticide (29)
    • Seeds (3)
    • synergistic effects (8)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (9)
    • Take Action (527)
    • Textile/Apparel/Fashion Industry (1)
    • Toxic Waste (6)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (408)
    • Women’s Health (11)
    • Wood Preservatives (32)
    • World Health Organization (6)
  • Most Viewed Posts

Daily News Blog

01
Apr

Coverup of Dog Deaths at EPA, According to Internal Emails on Seresto Flea and Tick Collars

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2022) According to reporting by E&E’s Greenwire, internal emails at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that career scientists at the agency expressed worry about pesticide-laced pet collars, such as the notorious Seresto flea and tick collars, but that EPA managers “instructed them to avoid documenting those worries in publicly accessible records.” The emails were released pursuant to a 2021 FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) lawsuit, brought by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), that sought records of internal communications. The documents evidence staff concern about the collars that has not been a part of EPA’s public communications on the subject. EPA staff, in the emails, expressed a range of degrees of outrage at managers’ behavior and at the very registration of the product, given the significant harms.

Seresto collars are plastic pet collars embedded with pesticides designed to kill fleas, ticks, and lice; they contain the active ingredients flumethrin and imidacloprid. Flumethrin, a chemical in the pyrethroid class of synthetic neurotoxic insecticides, has been linked repeatedly to neurological issues, such as seizures and learning disabilities in children, to gastrointestinal distress, and to damage to nontarget invertebrates, according to EPA’s own analysis.

Imidacloprid is a commonly used pesticide linked to serious health and environmental decline. A neurotoxicant, endocrine disruptor, and immunosuppressant, the compound can have harmful reproductive impacts and is linked to cancer. It is toxic to birds, bees, and aquatic organisms, and persists in aquatic environments. Banned for outdoor use across the European Union, it is nevertheless allowed by EPA in in pet collars and other treatments. Consistent with EPA’s track record, the potential synergistic impacts of exposures to flumethrin and imidacloprid via the Seresto collars have not been evaluated. In 2020, Beyond Pesticides added to the litany of harms with its coverage of additional problems with pet flea treatments — the contamination of waterways in both England and the U.S.

In Spring 2021, Beyond Pesticides wrote about the collar’s link to nearly 1,700 pet deaths, as well as injuries to tens of thousands of animals and hundreds of people, and noted: “Numerous flea and tick prevention products (e.g., collars, topical treatments, sprays, and dusts) include pesticides such as tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP)propoxur, synthetic pyrethroids, and fipronil. A common trait among these pesticides is their toxicity, not just to dogs and nontarget organisms, but to humans, as well.” Advocates have warned about the toxicity of the pesticides embedded in such collars (and other pet treatments), which are a health threat not only to pets, but to humans and, especially, to children.

CBD notes that EPA has received more than 75,000 complaints about the collars, associating their use with problems ranging from skin irritation to death. Gizmodo puts the current count of complaints to EPA about Seresto, since 2012, at more than 86,000 — with 2,340 of those relating to pet deaths. CBD’s environmental health director, Lori Ann Burd, commented that — given EPA’s estimate of the ratio of pesticide incidents “in the real world” to complaints filed with EPA as roughly 5:1 — a sensible extrapolation is that many more pets wearing Seresto collars have been hurt or have died than are represented by reports filed with the agency.

EPA has, according to Greenwire, dragged its feet for years on action on various pet collars (and related products). The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has brought multiple suits related to these collars, starting in 2007, because of their harms to children and pets. In addition to the controversy surrounding the Seresto collar, EENews reports, TCVP — used in collars manufactured and sold by the Hartz Mountain Corporation — has been a concern. In April 2020, a federal appeals court judge ordered EPA to act on an NRDC suit to ban the use of TCVP after EPA had denied previous NRDC petitions that sought the same.

An NRDC statement simultaneously marked the legal victory and called out the agency for its failure to act on the science: “In 2016, EPA scientists finally acknowledged the danger this toxic chemical poses to children, but the agency then failed to remove the dangerous pet products from the market. It’s especially gratifying, on Earth Day, to have the court hold EPA accountable to its ‘core mission’ to ‘protect human health and the environment.” Yet this toxic compound is still allowed for use by EPA. As NRDC asserts, despite six other dangerous organophosphates once used in pet products having been removed from the market, “use of TCVP in pet flea collars is the last remaining residential use of this toxic family of chemicals.”       

CBD has filed a legal petition to ban the Seresto collar. CBD argues that the Seresto product should be cancelled because of its unreasonable risks to pets, human health, and the environment. CBD notes that, “No other pesticide product has been the subject of this many incident reports, according to a former pesticide researcher and policy analyst for the EPA.”

CBD attorney Hannah Connor remarked in July 2021 that if EPA “wants to show that it has truly recommitted to its mission of using the best available science to protect human health and the environment, then it must take swift action to cancel its approval of this troubling product.” In July 2021, EPA announced the opening of a 60-day comment period on that petition, which period ended in September 2021. EPA has said that it will respond to the petition after reviewing its evaluation of the product, but there has been no word as yet from the agency on the status of that evaluation.

Greenwire notes that EPA has been “vague” in its response to consumer concern about the Seresto collar. The agency said in a July 2021 statement that, “EPA understands and shares the public’s concerns about reported incidents with Seresto pet collars. The agency is working to gather information about these incidents and will use this information to determine whether these pet collars still meet the legally required safety standard for registration under FIFRA.” The sanguine tone of that announcement apparently belies what has gone on behind the scenes at EPA.

The released internal EPA emails demonstrate that career scientists and staffers inside the agency have pushed back internally with their concern and frustration about EPA’s handling of the complaints about Seresto and harms to pets, and about the very registration of the product. Among the discoveries in the documents were these:

  • In response to a query (from a staffer at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife) about use of Seresto collars on kit foxes in the southwest U.S., which asked who at EPA would be the best person to consult about it, an EPA scientist responded: “It depends if you want the real answer or just some talking points to cover our ass for doing nothing.”
    One EPA staff member wrote, “Why is Seresto even registered? At the very least Seresto should not be used on the endangered San [Joaquin] kit fox” — to which a manager at EPA replied, “It would be inappropriate for you to respond in your official capacity and express your personal opinions.” The staffer fired back, noting that manager’s (and others’) previous directives to staff “not to express [their] concerns about Seresto in emails.”
  • Another EPA staff member wrote, after seeing media articles that investigated the Seresto collar, “I hope this time someone can blow the lid off this travesty.”

Ms. Burd of CBD called the email exchanges “disturbing,” and said they raise further concerns about EPA’s scientific integrity and transparency. She commented, “You’d think the EPA would spring to action in response to these troubling reports. But these emails tell the story of an agency focused more on saving face than saving animals. . . . The heartbreaking tragedy is that behind each and every incident report is a story of very real pet suffering, from violent seizures, rashes, and hair loss to gastrointestinal problems and even deaths.”

In addition, Ms. Burd has pointed to a systemic issue with EPA’s pesticide incident reporting system — the lack of any mandate for follow-up action. Although there are, she says, tens of thousands of incident complaints on record, “There’s no automatic trigger for any action. It’s just like, okay, you told us, thank you so much, and that’s it. . . . Every time there’s an incident, it’s going into a black box.” This represents to her a bigger worry about EPA failure to report adverse pesticide impacts generally.

These internal email revelations are further and unfortunate evidence of the state of EPA function in carrying out its fundamental mission “to protect human health and the environment” — which for EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, would mean protection from the broadly damaging impacts of synthetic pesticides. Beyond Pesticides has chronicled EPA’s “capture” by industry influence and the corruption that has marked both agrichemical industry behavior and, occasionally, internal EPA actions, as well as specific instances of EPA failures, such as those (like the pesticide pet collars) that put children at risk, and those that continue to allow devastation of critical species (such as pollinators), critical ecosystems, and fragile habitats.

The public can learn more about keeping pets healthy through alternative management of pests with Beyond Pesticides’ Keeping Our Companions Safe web page, which offers multiple strategies. One suggestion that stands out, for those who may want to continue having pets treated with flea and tick products, is to have that done at the veterinarian’s office, thus, not needing to keep and dispense them in the home, and then monitoring pets for any adverse reactions.

For more on EPA functioning and how to influence critical reforms to how the agency does — or does not — enact its mission, see Beyond Pesticides’ advocacy piece from November 2021, “EPA and Congress Must Act to Correct a Failed Pesticide Program.” Please consider taking to heart the reforms suggested, and contacting your U.S. Senators and Representative, as well as EPA directly, with your endorsement of them.

Sources: https://www.eenews.net/articles/fiery-emails-show-epa-turmoil-over-pet-collars-tied-to-deaths/ and https://gizmodo.com/seresto-flea-collars-linked-to-dog-and-cat-deaths-have-1848714360

 

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

 

 

 

Share

Leave a Reply

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • air pollution (2)
    • Announcements (588)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (31)
    • Antimicrobial (11)
    • Aquaculture (29)
    • Aquatic Organisms (26)
    • Bats (6)
    • Beneficials (42)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (25)
    • Biomonitoring (36)
    • Birds (16)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Bug Bombs (2)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (27)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (9)
    • Children (65)
    • Children/Schools (230)
    • cicadas (1)
    • Climate (9)
    • Climate Change (62)
    • Clover (1)
    • compost (2)
    • contamination (119)
    • Disinfectants & Sanitizers (12)
    • Drift (3)
    • Drinking Water (3)
    • Ecosystem Services (3)
    • Emergency Exemption (2)
    • Environmental Justice (140)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (342)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (11)
    • Farmworkers (160)
    • Forestry (5)
    • Fracking (4)
    • Fungal Resistance (2)
    • Fungicides (15)
    • Goats (2)
    • Golf (15)
    • Greenhouse (1)
    • Groundwater (3)
    • Health care (32)
    • Herbicides (14)
    • Holidays (30)
    • Household Use (6)
    • Indigenous People (1)
    • Infectious Disease (2)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (62)
    • Invasive Species (33)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (225)
    • Litigation (321)
    • Livestock (6)
    • Metabolites (3)
    • Microbiata (14)
    • Microbiome (15)
    • Nanosilver (2)
    • Nanotechnology (54)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Occupational Health (5)
    • Pesticide Drift (145)
    • Pesticide Efficacy (2)
    • Pesticide Mixtures (2)
    • Pesticide Regulation (715)
    • Pesticide Residues (163)
    • Pets (28)
    • Plant Incorporated Protectants (1)
    • Poisoning (4)
    • Preemption (26)
    • President-elect Transition (2)
    • Repellent (2)
    • Resistance (101)
    • Rights-of-Way (1)
    • Rodenticide (29)
    • Seeds (3)
    • synergistic effects (8)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (9)
    • Take Action (527)
    • Textile/Apparel/Fashion Industry (1)
    • Toxic Waste (6)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (408)
    • Women’s Health (11)
    • Wood Preservatives (32)
    • World Health Organization (6)
  • Most Viewed Posts