Feds Itchy Over Flea Repellent Side Effects

By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2009 10:21 AM CDT
The EPA is warning pet owners to use flea and tick repellents carefully while it reviews possible health problems from the products.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Federal regulators want pet owners to apply flea and tick repellents carefully while authorities scratch around to ensure the products are safe, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency recorded 44,000 pet-health complaints related to topical pest repellents—ranging from skin irritation to death. Most complaints stemmed from lower-cost treatments purchased at discount stores.

The EPA hasn't pulled any of the products or even labeled them hazardous, but pet owners were advised to follow product directions closely. Canadian authorities were also looking into side effects from the treatments. The top retail brand, Hartz, said 75% of complaints about its cat products on the list were “minor” or “asymptomatic.”