Banned: Flea collars are pulled of the shelves in France, citing danger to pets and children

Nearly 60 brands of flea collars for cats and dogs have been withdrawn from sale in France over fears they pose a danger to humans, particularly children.

The Agence Nationale du Médicament Vétérinaire watchdog withdrew the permit for sale for the the collars as they contain organophosphates, toxic insecticides known to harm the human nervous system. Humans in close contact with animals wearing such collars could be affected. 

After examining the data surrounding organophosphates the French decided it was not safe for pets or for the people close to them, especially for young children that sleep with their pets.

Organophospates were originally developed as nerve gas in World War II but were adapted to target insect pests. They are absorbed through the skin, especially through prolonged contact.

Agency director Jean-Pierre Orand told Sciences et Avenir magazine: “We looked at several criteria and noted people’s change in behavior towards their pets, marked by increasingly close and shared contact especially the fact many children sleep with their cat or dog.”

Some countries work around such dangers by recommending that people avoid extended contact with the pet, but hey, this is France and in France they love their pets.

As Jean-Pierre Orand said,  “we thought this was not compatible with people’s way of life” and preferred to impose a ban.

ANMV withdrew products containing the chemicals Dimpylate (or Diazinon), Propoxur and Tétrachlorvinphos and a list is available on the website for Sciences et Avenir

It is important to note that the very same chemicals now banned in France are still widely available in flea collar and other flea treatment products in the U.S.

Poisoned Pets recommends avoiding all such products and to consider healthier, alternative treatments for fleas. Be careful of alternative treatments as well, many natural remedies are toxic to cats, essential oils for example. Remember, a healthy pet with a good diet is much less vulnerable to parasites, illness and disease.

Besides, who wants to sleep with nerve gas anyway.

SOURCE: Sciences et Avenir, April, 18, 2012

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

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