Hartz to relabel and cancel flea and tick drops for cats and kittens

At EPA's insistence, Hartz Mountain Corp. has agreed to cancel uses of several flea and tick products that may be associated with a range of adverse reactions, including hair loss, salivation, tremors and numerous deaths in cats and kittens. The common pet product brand names which are involved in this action include: Hartz Advanced Care 4 in 1 Flea & Tick Drops Plus+ for Cats and Kittens; Hartz Advanced Care Brand Flea and Tick Drops Plus+ for Cats and Kittens; Hartz Advanced Care 3 in 1 Flea & Tick Drops for Cats and Kittens; and Hartz Advanced Care Once-A-Month Flea and Tick Drops for Cats and Kittens.

In the short term, the agreement calls for immediate re-labeling of the products. The new labeling will state that the products of concern are not to be used on the most vulnerable animals, including cats and kittens that weigh less than 6 pounds, cats older than 13 years or kittens less than 5 months old.

Hartz will stop all new production of the cat and kitten products by September 30, 2005, and not sell or distribute any affected product after December 31, 2005. The measures announced today will help ensure pets are protected. Pet owners should pay close attention to new labels and exercise good judgment when choosing pet products.

"EPA is taking this action because there are safety concerns with these products," said Susan B. Hazen, principal deputy assistant administrator at EPA. "Pet owners should be alerted to these concerns, and may choose to transition to alternative products. We take seriously our obligation to ensure that pesticide products, when used as labeled, are safe."

The company agreed to a prohibition on any remaining retail sales by March 31, 2006. This orderly transition allows consumers and distributors to move to alternatives flea and tick products and will be strictly monitored. Hartz will also be notifying their distributors and retailers of the changes in order to ensure a workable phaseout.

As with any pesticide product, all label directions and precautions should be carefully followed to ensure the product is used correctly. It is prudent to follow the new restrictions for all products, including existing stocks.

After a public 30-day comment period, EPA intends to issue a cancellation order and an amended registration, which will be effective by October 31, 2005.

For further information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/flea-tick-drops.htm

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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