(Health Secrets Newsletter) Use of flea and tick control products has resulted in an alarming increase of reports of pet injuries and deaths in the past few years. This has prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to announce that they will be taking stricter measures in the marketing of these products. Each year the EPA is receiving an increased number of reports of harm suffered by pets, with the numbers reaching into the tens of thousands. Pet owners have reported skin irritations, burns, welts, drooling, vomiting, seizures, disorientation, neurological problems, and death. Death tolls are estimated at 600, but reported deaths are likely to be a small percentage of total deaths, since many deaths go unreported.
The EPA plans to develop stricter testing methods, together with assessing whether clearer usage instructions need to be included on the labels. Steve Owens, Assistant Administrator of EPA`s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, said that new limitations will be placed on flea and tick products, together with possible changes in some of the product formulas. Owens admitted the toxicity of these products by stating, “These are poisons. These are products that are designed to kill fleas and ticks – and they do their jobs.” He stated that the EPA is committed to protecting the safety and health of families and their pets. However, he warned that pet owners must be careful and read the labels, ensuring that they follow precise instructions. Some of the injuries have been due to applying a product designated for a dog to a cat and vice-versa.
The maker of one of the leading tick and flea treatments has defended its product, disputing the EPA data. The company stated that the vast majority of the cases are minor and that the number of adverse events reported has remained consistently low since the product`s introduction in 1996.
Over the counter flea and tick medications come with their own dangers. The Center for Public Integrity, based in Washington, D.C., released a report, titled Perils of the New Pesticides, that details the dangers of the chemicals contained in flea and tick products. The Center reported that pyrethrins and pyrethroids found in some of the products were responsible for more injuries than any other class of insecticide on the market. Dr. Marty Becker, who has a practice in Idaho and is the resident veterinarian for Good Morning America, stated that certain breeds such as Rottweilers and Collies are particularly sensitive to flea and tick products.
Keeping a pet free from fleas and ticks can be a huge concern. However, one does not have to rely on these toxic chemicals. There are natural preventative measures to keep pets flea and tick free.
Feeding a pet a raw whole foods diet is the most effective method. Fleas and ticks tend to live on unhealthy pets with low immune systems. Giving your pet the nutrition nature intended, without the added fillers that commercial pet foods contain, goes a long way in boosting that immune system.
Other effective preventatives include diatomaceous earth, lavender oil, apple cider vinegar (in a water bowl and in a bath), brewers’ yeast, and fresh garlic in small quantities. (NOTE: Garlic is toxic to cats).
Editor’s note: There is a direct correlation between the damage done to pets with the use of toxic flea and tick products, and the damage done to children and adults with the use of antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer. Both are able to enter the blood stream through the skin and by breathing in their vapors, both are designed to kill, and both challenge the immune system. Click here for more information about the dangers of antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer,
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