Fleas are the most common type of external parasite that affects cats. According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, the average cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) can significantly harm our four-legged friends, causing irritation, anemia, and even Lyme disease. Responsible pet owners know how important it is to protect dogs and cats from contracting fleas, but many were led astray on the safety and efficacy of certain preventative products.
Flea collars that were advertised as safe have been found to pose a threat to children. Many of these collars contain the chemical tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP), an organophosphate. In-home use for most organophosphates were banned with the passage of the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act, as their use is considered harmful to the average person.
Despite that ban, TCVP can still be found in many low-cost flea and tick pet collars. Collars containing TCVP are generally significantly cheaper than name brand collars, making them a popular choice among low-income pet owners. However, these collars have been linked to serious neurological impairments and delays in children.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it intends to ban Hartz brand flea and tick collars that cause brain damage in children. If your child was harmed by a TCVP flea and tick collar, Thomas Law Offices can help. Contact us today so that we can match you with an experienced product liability attorney for a free consultation.
Table of Contents
What is Tetrachlorvinphos?
TCVP was not originally created for use in flea and tick prevention products. Instead, its origin can be traced back to World War II, when it was developed and used as a nerve agent. The U.S. Department of Agriculture later registered TCVP for use on livestock, pets, food crops, and around buildings in 1966. By 1987, crops were voluntarily removed from its product registration.
Exposure to TCVP can cause nausea, blurred vision, respiratory issues, and more. Its presence in flea and tick collars is the only residential use of this toxic chemical that is still permitted under current law. The following flea and tick products are some of those known to contain TCVP:
- Hartz Ultra Guard Flea and Tick Collar
- Hartz Ultra Guard Flea and Tick Powder
- Hartz Ultra Guard Flea and Tick Spray
- Pet Armor Flea & Tick Collar
- Zodiac Flea and Tick Collar
- Adams Plus Flea & Tick Collar
- Bio Spot Flea and Tick Collar
- Seresto Flea and Tick Collar
If you are a cat or dog owner and use any of the above products, immediately dispose of them and contact your vet about using a different flea and tick prevention. Pet owners who have small children in the home are also advised to schedule an appointment with their child’s pediatrician to monitor their neurological development.
The Link Between TCVP Flea Collars and Developmental Problems
A 2016 study determined that regular use of flea and tick collars containing TCVP left residue on pets’ fur sufficient to cause neurological damage to babies, toddlers, and small children. This study found Hartz pet products harmful to children.
Some of the documented harm caused by TCVP flea and tick collars includes:
- Delayed mental development (missing developmental milestones)
- Lower IQ scores
- Increased chance of autism
- Increased chance of attention disorders
Children who reside in homes with cats or dogs that regularly wear TCVP flea collars face an unnecessarily high risk of preventable neurological damage. There is evidence that companies like Hartz have known of the harm posed by TCVP for years, yet refused to make changes to their products that would have protected one of the most vulnerable populations in our society.
The EPA’s Regulatory Response
Efforts to remove TCVP from pet flea prevention and treatment products is not new. In 2014, the EPA was sued by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) after it failed to respond to a 2009 petition to ban TCVP’s usage in such products. In 2020, the EPA denied the petition.
Citing evidence that it believed the EPA had ignored, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit later ruled that the EPA must reassess pet products that contain TCVP.
In its Oct. 12, 2022 regulatory response to the ruling, the EPA stated that TCVP flea and tick collars pose an unacceptable threat for residential use. The EPA also stated its intent to ban six Hartz brand flea and tick collars that contain TCVP, although it is waiting for additional data from two Hartz-funded studies.
Taking Action for Dangerous Flea and Tick Collars
Thomas Law Offices believes that every family should be able to purchase products with confidence. When you take an item off the shelf, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether its actually effective or if it might cause harm to your child. Unfortunately, we see time and time again that large companies care much more for their profits than the safety of their customers.
If you or your child suffered serious neurological damage because of exposure to tetrachlorvinphos found in Hartz flea and tick collars, you may be owed compensation for any resulting damages. Let us be your guide through this process. Contact us today to learn about your legal rights for holding a negligent company responsible for its actions. Our first meeting is always free.