Companies Agree to Stop Selling Pet Collars Containing Pesticide to Protect Children

Under a voluntary agreement, Sergeant's Pet Care Products, Inc. and Wellmark International have agreed to stop producing pet collars containing the pesticide propoxur. This decision was reached as a result of discussions about how to reduce children’s exposure to propoxur in pet collars.  Read the Press Release.

The companies have agreed not to distribute these products after April 1, 2016. The remaining products will go through the channels of trade until the existing stock of pet collars has been sold.

If you purchased a propoxur pet collar, read the label carefully and follow all directions on the label to protect your family and pets from exposure. Pesticides on your pets can be transferred to your children. Do not allow children to play with the collar and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling it. 

EPA has compiled answers to some questions about this action so that you can protect your children and pets:

  1. Why is EPA canceling the registrations for these products?
  2. How does EPA make sure flea and tick collars are safe to use?
  3. Why is EPA allowing stores to sell these until a certain date if there are risks to kids?
  4. How do I know if I have one of these collars?
  5. Will I be reimbursed for the products I have purchased?
  6. Do these products leave pesticide residue on furniture and carpeting? Should I have these things cleaned?
  7. What products should I buy if my dog or cat has fleas or ticks?
  8. What products should I buy in order to protect children and adults?
  9. Is my pet in jeopardy from being exposed to these products?
  10. Should I take my pet to a vet to be examined after using a propoxur pet collar?
  11. Are there risks posed to my family/children by coming in contact with these products?
  12. Are very young children and infants at greater risk from exposure?
  13. Should my family/children be evaluated by a physician for pesticide poisoning?
  14. How can I protect my family from propoxur residue?

1. Why is EPA canceling the registrations for these products? 

EPA has reached an agreement with the manufacturers of cat and dog collars containing propoxur to cancel their registrations. This decision was reached as result of discussions between EPA and the registrants, Sergeant's Pet Care Products, Inc. and Wellmark International, about risks of concern to children from exposure to pet collars containing propoxur.

In the fall of 2013, EPA completed the propoxur pet collar risk assessment in response to a Natural Resources Defense Council petition to cancel these uses. EPA’s risk assessment indicated risks of concern to children from exposure to pet collars containing propoxur.

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2. How does EPA make sure flea and tick collars are safe to use?

EPA does a great deal to protect human health from pesticide exposure by evaluating flea or tick products. Our review of flea and tick products includes a evaluation of skin exposure for adults and assessment of exposure by skin and mouth for children based on assumptions about pet contact and pesticide transfer to the persons exposed that are designed to represent the maximum amount of possible exposure. EPA scientists estimate the amount of applied pesticide that can transfer from the animal to the child's skin from hugging or otherwise contacting a treated animal. Based on these estimates, the EPA ensures that children are protected from exposure to pesticide treated pets.

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3. Why is EPA allowing stores to sell these until a certain date if there are risks to kids?

After lengthy discussions with the registrants of the propoxur pet collars following EPA’s risk assessment, the agency determined that agreement with the registrants as outlined here would be the best way to remove these products from the marketplace in an expeditious manner. The registrants agreed to phase out the products by producing them until April 1, 2015, and stopping distribution after April 1, 2016. Although the products do not meet the current safety standard they do not pose a public health risk if label directions are followed.

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4. How do I know if I have one of these collars?

Every EPA-registered pesticide product has an EPA registration number on its packaging. Check the collar’s label to see if it includes an EPA registration number below (an additional set of numbers may follow any of the registration numbers below). Because manufacturers license other companies to produce their products, a different name may appear on your collar’s packaging.

Manufacturers requested that EPA cancel their registrations for the following products:

Table 1—Registrations With Pending Requests for Cancellation

Manufacturer

Registration No.

Product name

Chemical name

Sergeant’s

2517-61

Sergeant's Dual Action Flea & Tick Collar (With D-Phenothrin)

Propoxur, MGK 264, Phenothrin

Sergeant’s

2517-78

Sergeant's Sendran Flea & Tick Collar

Propoxur

Sergeant’s

2517-144

Sergeant's 933 Plus Flea & Tick Collar (With D-Phenothrin and Pyriproxyfen)

Propoxur, MGK 264, Phenothrin, Pyriproxyfen

Wellmark

2724-254

Dog Collar for Flea Control

Propoxur

Wellmark

2724-275

Propoxur Flea Collar for Cats RF-101

Propoxur

Wellmark

2724-491

RF 9907 Flea Collar for Cats and Kittens

Propoxur, S-Methoprene

Wellmark

2724-493

RF-2007 Collar

Propoxur, S-Methoprene

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5. Will I be reimbursed for the products I have purchased?

Check with the registrant to see if it will reimburse you for your purchase. Under the cancellation agreement, registrants are allowed to produce the pet collars until April 1, 2015, and will not be allowed to distribute the products after April 1, 2016. After April 1, 2016, anyone other than the registrants will generally be allowed to sell, distribute or use existing stocks until such stocks are exhausted, provided that such sale, distribution or use is consistent with the terms of the previously approved labeling on, or that accompanied, the canceled products.

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6. Do these products leave pesticide residue on furniture and carpeting? Should I have these things cleaned?

If you have a flea problem, it’s a good idea to vacuum floors, carpets and upholstered furniture regularly to remove eggs, larvae and adults. The risk of exposure for you or your children from pesticide residues from the flea collars on furniture or carpeting is minimal. The major source of exposure to these chemicals is from direct skin contact with the collar or treated pet immediately after putting on the collar. Flea collars work by leaving a pesticide residue on dogs' and cats' fur, which can be transferred to us when we hug, pet or come into contact with our pets. Small children may also be exposed by ingesting pesticide residues when they touch a treated cat or dog, then put their hands in their mouths.

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7. What products should I buy if my dog or cat has fleas or ticks?

While EPA does not recommend what products to buy or use, we suggest that you consult your veterinarian about the best way to protect your pets from fleas and ticks and whether pesticides are even needed, especially before using any product on weak, aged, medicated, sick, pregnant or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown signs of sensitivity to pesticide products. Flea and tick products can be appropriate treatments for protecting pets and people because fleas and ticks can transmit disease to animals and humans. If you use a flea and tick control product on your pet, carefully read label directions before each use and follow them carefully.

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8. What products should I buy if my dog or cat has fleas or ticks in order to protect children and adults?

Again, EPA does not recommend what products to buy or use.  We suggest that you consult your family doctor, especially if your child tends to be sensitive to chemicals. Flea and tick products can be appropriate treatments for protecting pets and people because fleas and ticks can transmit disease to animals and humans.

More information on reducing your family’s exposure to pesticides.

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9. Is my pet in jeopardy of being harmed from the use of these products? 

Talk to your vet to figure out the best way to protect your pet from flea and ticks. If you decide to use propoxur pet collars, follow the label instructions carefully and your pet should be fine. Make sure you use flea and tick control products only on the type of animal specified by the product label. For more information about protecting your pets from flea and ticks, visit http://www2.epa.gov/pets.            

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10. Should I take my pet to a vet to be examined after using a propoxur pet collar? 

If you think your pet is having a reaction to the pet collar, read the precautionary statement on the product label and talk to you your vet immediately. You can also wash your pet with mild soap and lots of water.

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11. Are there risks posed to my family/children if they come in contact with these products? 

Follow label instructions for washing hands after handling the collars. Flea collars can also leave a pesticide residue on dogs' and cats' fur, which can get on us, especially when we hold or pet the animals. These chemicals can be absorbed through our skin or go directly into our mouths when we handle food or wipe our face, so there are some risks when using the propoxur pet collars. Although the products do not meet the current safety standard they do not pose a public health risk if label directions are followed.

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12. Are very young children and infants at greater risk from exposure?  

Because children and infants play on the floor and stick their hands in their mouths, they are especially at risk of exposure through skin or mouth contact with the residues from the propoxur pet collars.

As stated in the precautions on the label, do not allow children to play with the collars. In addition to this safety precaution, try to keep the pet away from your young children for a day after putting on the pet collar to minimize your child’s exposure to propoxur residues.

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13. Should my family/children be evaluated by a physician for pesticide poisoning? 

If you suspect a pesticide poisoning, you should always call your doctor or a find a local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Although we do not expect a risk of poisoning if label instructions and precautions are followed, excessive exposure to propoxur could cause poisoning symptom including nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, sweating, diarrhea, excessive salivation, weakness, imbalance, blurring of vision, breathing difficulty, increased blood pressure and lack of control of bladder or bowels.

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14. How can I protect my family from propoxur residue?

Read the label carefully and follow all directions on the label if you use propoxur pet collars on your cat or dog. Do not allow children to play with the collar and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling it. In addition to this safety precaution, try to keep the pet away from your young children for a day after putting on the pet collar to minimize your child’s exposure to propoxur residues.

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