Caution Urged in Use of Flea, Tick Products for Pets
Environmental Protection Agency Reacts to Reports of Health Problems in Pets
WebMD asked each manufacturer to comment on the EPA action. All of those who
responded expressed a willingness to work with the EPA to continue to make
these products safer.
Mark Newberg, director of corporate affairs for Central Life Sciences, noted
that the vast majority of people who use his firm's and other firms' products
have no problem at all.
"If you look at the fact that 270 million doses of product [from all
companies] were sold, and a rate of 16 incidents per 10,000, it means you have
millions of dogs and cats protected from flea allergy dermatitis, tapeworm, and
other diseases," Newberg tells WebMD. "These are satisfied customers. But on
occasion there are adverse incidents we can't predict."
Bob Walker, director of communications and public policy for Bayer Animal
Health, noted that of the 16 incidents per 10,000 doses, few were serious.
"We have done a thorough analysis of our own incident reporting, and Bayer
did not see an increase for Advantage over the period cited by the EPA," Walker
tells WebMD. "And our rate of adverse incidents is lower than the aggregate
rate reported by the EPA."
In a statement provided to WebMD, Hartz Mountain expressed a willingness to
work with the EPA on making labeling clearer.
"While Hartz is the leader in flea and tick retail sales, Hartz flea and
tick drops account for less than five percent of all adverse effects reported
to the EPA in 2008 for topical dog and cat flea and tick treatment," the
Merial also provided a statement to WebMD.
"Although EPA has said that its initiative was prompted by a 'sharp
increase' it had noted in 2007-2008 in the number of reported adverse events
related to the use of spot-on flea and tick control products in general,
Merial's data does not indicate that this is the case for Frontline. The number
of adverse events reported for Frontline has remained consistently low since
the product's introduction in 1996," the statement says.