An animal rights group and an environmental and health rights group jointly welcomed the US phase-out of pet collars containing propoxur, a pesticide used to control fleas, ticks and other insects.
The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the EcoWaste Coalition said that the decision by the US government and two pet product companies to stop the use of propoxur in pet collars will help protect kids from pesticide risks.
Last Friday, March 14, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has reached agreement with Sergeant's Pet Care Products, Inc. and Wellmark International to cancel flea and tick pet collars containing propoxur, marketed under the trade names including Bansect, Sentry, Zodiac and Biospot.
Propoxur-containing pet collars will be eventually phased out in US by 2016.
According to the EPA press release, the decision was reached as a result of EPA's risk assessment showing risks to children from exposure to pet collars containing propoxur.
"Small children may ingest pesticide residues when they touch a treated cat or dog and subsequently put their hands in their mouth," the EPA said.
"Pet products should not contain substances that can pose harm to animals, children and the environment. Removing toxic propoxur in pet collars is a step in the right direction and we laud it," said Anna Cabrera, Executive Director, PAWS.
"The US phase-out of propoxur is relevant to our country since we import a variety of pet products, including flea and tick treatments for cats and dogs," said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition's Project Protect.
On Sunday, the EcoWaste Coalition's AlerToxic Patrol went to the Cartimar Pet Center in Pasay City to confirm if propoxur-containing pet collars are sold locally and was able to buy US-made Sergeant's Bansect for P120 and Sergeant's Dual Action for P200, and China-made Harley Baby for P120.
"The decision to phase out propoxur, we hope, should not lead to the dumping of toxic pet collars that American consumers would now shun for the safety of their kids and homes. We urge shops to offer only non-toxic alternatives that will not put kids and pets at risk," Dizon said.
According to the EPA, "flea and tick collars work by leaving a pesticide residue on dogs' and cats' fur, which can be transferred to people by hugging, petting or coming into contact with the pets."
"The major source of exposure to these chemicals is from absorption through the skin after directly touching the treated pet," it said.
The agreement to cancel propoxur was driven by the petition filed in 2009 by the Natural Resources Defense Council to cancel the uses of propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos (TVCP), another toxic pesticide, in pet collars.
In February 2014, the group sued the agency to get a response.