EPA scientists questioned agency’s ability to regulate pesticide-laden pet collars

Investigate Midwest reporter Johnathan Hettinger, with a grant from the Fund, obtained a trove of documents showing internal concerns and debate at the Environmental Protection Agency about more than 400 pet flea and tick products that EPA regulates. Despite EPA staff’s concerns, the pesticides continue to be used in the collars, which could endanger pets and their owners. The documents showed substantial debate inside EPA about one product – the Seresto collar – that has been linked to numerous complaints about harm to pets. The records show that EPA scientists said they were warned by their superiors not to document their concerns in emails, which are subject to disclosure under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The story was co-published with USA Today. Several earlier stories by Hettinger, also co-published with USA Today, called attention to the potential dangers. The U.S. House Committee on Oversight in 2021 launched an investigation into Seresto in response to the stories. The committee asked the company that makes the collars to voluntarily recall them but the company refused. Several class action lawsuits also have been filed.

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