On March 2, USA Today, Center for Biological Diversity and Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting published the shocking results of their investigation: The popular Seresto brand flea collar, with its frequent television ads, has been connected to the deaths of 1,698 pets from the time it was first introduced in 2012 through June 2020.
Seresto flea collars excrete the pesticide tetrachlorvinphos for up to eight months, which is toxic to many pets. According to documents the investigators obtained, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received more than 75,000 incident reports related to the collars—including almost 1,000 involving human harm—as of June 2020, but did nothing to inform the public of the risks.
The EPA told USA Today they are “still monitoring the situation.” Elanco, the company that sells the collars, told Insider “a report is not an indication of cause.”
Karen McCormack, a retired EPA employee who worked as both a scientist and communications officer, told In These Times that the collars have the most incidents of any pesticide pet product she’s ever seen.
Some pet owners have pointed to the collars as the reason their dogs have suffered from lethargy, loss of motor functions, skin problems, seizures, rash, vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling.
Amazon, where Seresto is the top-selling collar, has also received numerous complaints about the product from its customers. However, it has not been removed from the online marketplace and Amazon didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment from In These Times.
“If this doesn’t trigger a concern, that’s a fundamental problem with the process,” said Dr. Nate Donley, with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The fact that the EPA hasn’t done anything to alert the public that there might be an issue here? It strikes me as borderline criminal.”