(CBS SF) — A popular pet flea and tick collar has been linked to hundreds of pet deaths, and thousands of other pets injured, and hundred of humans harmed as well, according to a published report.
A joint investigation by USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting cited U.S. Environmental Protection Agency documents which the report says details the side effects from the Seresto flea and tick collar.READ MORE: Rising Sea Level Threatens Stinson Beach Neighborhoods
According to the report, since the pet collars were introduced in 2012, the EPA has received reports of at least 1,698 related pet deaths as of June 2020. In addition, there have been some 75,000 incident reports related to use of the collars, including nearly 1,000 people experiencing side effects, including seizures, rashes, and heart arrythmia.
The report also said the EPA has not informed the public of the risks of using the Seresto collar.
Former EPA scientist and communications officer Karen McCormack told USA Today the agency has known about these incidents for years.
“The EPA appears to be turning a blind eye to this problem, and after seven years of an increasing number of incidents, they are telling the public that they are continuing to monitor the situation,” McCormack told USA Today. “But I think this is a significant problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.”READ MORE: Kaiser Employees Win $11.5 Million Class-Action, Race-Discrimination Lawsuit
McCormack added that the collars have the most incidents of any pesticide pet product she’s ever seen.
In response to a question about whether the product is safe, an EPA spokesperson told USA Today the two pesticides in the Seresto collars – imidacloprid and flumethrin – have “been found eligible for continued registration” based on best available science, including incident data.
Seresto collars were developed by pharmaceutical giant Bayer and are now sold by Elanco Animal Health.
Keri McGrath, a spokeswoman for Elanco, told USA Today the company “takes the safety of our products very seriously and thoroughly investigates potential concerns related to their use.” McGrath noted regulatory authorities in more than 80 countries have approved the product and the EPA is in the final stages of re-approving both pesticides.
Last week, Amazon said it would consider whether to continue selling Seresto collars, the top-selling flea and tick collars on the platform, following the report.MORE NEWS: Bay Area Teams Ready to Welcome Fans But Impact of Fake Vaccination Cards Is Unknown
“Safety is a top priority for Amazon,” said spokeswoman Mary Kate McCarthy. “We actively monitor our store for product safety concerns including customer feedback and product reviews and have proactive measures in place to prevent unsafe or non-compliant products from being listed. When appropriate, we remove products and reach out to suppliers, manufacturers and government agencies for additional information.”