Just thought I’d post this bit of information.

Can flea and tick collars harm your health and your pet’s? The answer is yes, according to a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Poison on Pets II” found that some collars release invisible toxic residues on pets’ fur that can get onto people when they touch their dogs or cats. Unsafe levels of those chemicals can remain on pet fur for two weeks after a collar is placed on an animal.

The NRDC tested dog and cat fur for propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) after placing widely available flea and tick collars on the animals. Collars made by Hartz, Zodiac, and Bio Spot were used in the study, but any products containing propoxur or TCVP can pose serious health risks.

Both pesticides can damage the brain and nervous system, disrupt hormones, and cause cancer. These chemicals can cause a variety of poisoning symptoms from nausea and vomiting to seizures and respiratory paralysis. In large doses they can poison and even kill cats and dogs.

Children are particularly vulnerable because their bodies are still developing and they tend to put their hands in their mouths after playing with pets so they’re more likely to ingest pesticide residues than adults. According to the report, pesticides in this class of chemicals have been linked to delays in motor development, ADHD, and Parkinson’s Disease.

Propoxur levels were so high in some collars that they pose a cancer risk in children that is up to 1,000 times higher than the EPA’s acceptable levels, and up to 500 times higher for adults, the report say. Wal-Mart is working with suppliers to eliminate propoxur from the products it sells.

Luckily, you don’t need toxic chemicals to banish fleas and ticks. Here are some healthier alternatives:

Try non-chemical methods first.

Give your pet regular baths with a simple pet shampoo that’s free of pesticides.

Use a flea comb in between baths. If you’re short on time, focus on the areas where ticks like to hide: Between the toes, around the ears, and at the base of the tail. Check out this video for tips on combing your pet.

Wash your pet’s bedding in hot water on the same day that you bathe the animal.

Vacuum regularly to eliminate any fleas and hidden eggs.
Choose the least toxic products.

Avoid products that list propoxur, tetrachlorvinphos, or amitraz as active ingredients.

Instead, look for ingredients that are considered both safer and effective such as, Lufenuron (Program), Nitenpyram (Capstar), Methoprene (Nylar), or Pyriproxyfen (Biolar). Search this product guide to find out if the products you’re already using contain potentially harmful pesticides and to find safer options.

Pills are considered the healthiest method for dealing with fleas and ticks, according to the report, since they usually contain the least toxic chemicals, and don’t leave residues on your pet or in your home. Look for products with Lufenuron or Nitenpyram or talk to your vet about getting a prescription for Spinosad.

Don’t assume “natural” is always best. Essential oils, for example, are not always the safest option. Penny royal, tea tree, lavender, cinnamon, and eucalyptus oils are all very toxic to pets, according to the NRDC. Cedarwood, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary, and thyme oils are better choices.
Want to do more? It would be far easier for consumers if hazardous chemicals weren’t in the products lining store shelves in the first place. Sign a petition requesting that the EPA ban toxic pesticides from pet products.

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