October 15, 2008

Problems of Pesticide Use In, On and Around Pets.

While we have long advocated the need to minimize rabies vaccine and other routine dog and cat vaccinations, there is strong evidence that over-the-counter pesticides used in Frontline, Advantage, Hartz Mountain Flea Powder and others also contribute to health problems.

Think about it, if that OTC pet pesticide kills fleas and you need HazMat gloves to apply it, how can it be healthy for your dog or cat?

That’s why the National Resources Defense Council has put up a special Web site, GreenPaws,org, to bring attention to the problems of pesticide use in, on and around pets. From the site:

Many Americans believe that commercially available pesticides, such as those found in pet products, are tightly regulated by the government. In fact, they are not. Many of the products sold in grocery, drug and pet supply stores, even when applied as instructed on the box, can cause serious health consequences to pets and humans. Just because these products are on store shelves does not mean they are safe.

In 2000, the Natural Resources Defense Council released a groundbreaking report detailing the potential health hazards to humans and pets from dangerous chemicals in flea collars and other flea and tick control products. NRDC was the first to put the individual risk assessments for pesticides from pet products side by side, highlighting the overall risks to children. NRDC found that pet products then on the market could expose adults and children to toxic pesticides at concentrations that exceed the safe levels established by the EPA by 50,000 percent. The report recommended that the EPA ban all products using organophosphates to protect children and pets from short- and long-term health effects associated with these pesticides.

At the time of the report’s release, flea control products on the market included seven specific organophosphate insecticides. Since the report’s release, six of these organophosphates have been banned and removed from the pet market: chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, phosmet, naled, diazinon and malathion. Only one — tetrachlorvinphos — is still found in stores.

NRDC continues to pressure the EPA to ban the last remaining organophosphate insecticide and is calling for the EPA to also ban pet products that contain carbamates — a class of insecticides closely related to organophosphates. Both organophosphates and carbamates work by interfering with the transmission of nerve signals in the brains and nervous systems of insects, pets and humans alike. In overdoses, organophosphates and carbamates can kill people and pets. But even with normal use of flea-control products, pets and children may be in danger.

Get the full report on why these products — mostly the OTC ones — are a problem for people, pets and the environment, along with information on how you can avoid them and still keep your pet and home free of pests.

Green Paws.org

H/T Gina Spadafori, Pet Connection Blog

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