Sergeant’s Pet Care Product Inc. and Wellmark International have agreed to phase out the use of the chemical propoxur in pet flea collars.
The announcement Thursday followed the filling of a lawsuit in February by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has been pushing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to act on previous petitions that urged the government to ban propoxur in flea-control products. The timing of the lawsuit and the voluntary agreement between EPA and the manufacturers was coincidental, said council health attorney Mae Wu.
“More likely [the voluntary ban] was a result of the petitions that we filed many years ago,” Wu said.
Jim Jones, assistant administrator in the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, called the action “another example of EPA’s efforts to protect children from pesticide risks”
“This voluntary move will get to an expedient result that protects people’s health,” Jones said.
Propoxur is a neurotoxin and known carcinogen that authorities say poses a risk to the brains and nervous systems of children. People who handle propoxur pet collars may ingest the chemical if they also touch their mouth, experts state.
The agreement allows Sergeant’s and Wellmark to produce pet collars using propoxur April 1, 2015, and distribute them until April 1, 2016. Most flea collars have a shelf life of up to five years, according the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Sergeant’s based in Omaha, Neb., agreed to cancel EPA registrations for the Dual Action, Sendran and 933 Plus flea and tick collars, all of which use propoxur.