The alarming number of deaths was known behind the scenes for years but only became public knowledge after the Center for Biological Diversity — a nonprofit watchdog group — obtained documents from the EPA through a public records request.
“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,” said Karen McCormack, a retired EPA employee who called the staggering number of deaths and illnesses unprecedented. “I think this is a significant problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.”
It’s unclear how Seresto compares to the safety of other pet collars.
A spokesperson for the agency told USA Today that the two pesticides found in Seresto were “eligible for continued registration” based on the latest scientific data and testing.
“No pesticide is completely without harm, but EPA ensures that there are measures on the product label that reduce risk,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “The product label is the law, and applicators must follow label directions. Some pets, however, like some humans, are more sensitive than others and may experience adverse symptoms after treatment.”
Through the years, the collar had received numerous complaints from customers who claimed the collar had caused pets skin rashes and neurological issues.
In one case last year, a New Jersey veterinarian suggested an owner buy the Bayer Seresto collar for use on her indoor service animal.
Rhonda Bomwell’s 9-year-old Papillon suffered a seizure June 2 after wearing the collar for one day, reports said.
The dog, Pierre, collapsed and stopped breathing.
Bomwell said she administered CPR but never thought to remove the collar. She rushed Pierre to the hospital, but he died before receiving treatment.
“I just didn’t put it together,” she said, noting that she had never used a flea and tick collar before.