We see insects, bugs, fleas…and many unwanted pests flying around and on our pets, we want to eliminate them. We flip newspapers, clap our hands in the air, run for the insect spray. We grin when we spray them and see it fall to the ground. “Did the mosquito fly away”? Did the fly vanish? Is the tick dead? All questions that come running into our head. We put the cover back on the can and walk away to continue our usual activities. The aroma of the insecticide still lingering in the air we breathe, exposing our kids, pets and everyone around us to the poisons coming from the toxic spray. A silent killer, we are not aware of the damage that happens on a molecular level from the constant exposure to these chemicals. We bite an apple and move on. No big deal. Right? Wrong…!
Even though the EPA banned several toxic chemicals for use as pesticides, this ban did not fully cover the use of some toxic flea and tick chemical pesticides particularly in pet products. Our pets live in our homes, our kids hug the pets, carry them, touch them and traces of toxic chemicals stay with us.
Why is this a critical issue? This is an important issue because these toxic chemicals have been associated with an increased incidence of irreversible and detrimental effects on both human, pet health and the environment. They have caused hormonal disrupting effects, increased asthma and chronic bronchitis cases, caused neurological and reproductive damages, and are linked to hormonal interaction with estrogen leading to elevated increase in breast cancer and other forms of cancers, as well as shortened the life span of our pets.1
Knowing that whatever chemicals you buy affects your entire family, here is what to watch out for when searching for flea and tick repellent products for your pet either in the form of flea and tick sprays, shampoos, flea powder, flea and tick collars or yard spray for outdoor pesticide.
- Pyrethroid and pyrethrin- Some of these toxic chemicals found in sprays, shampoos, collars include Etofenprox, flumetrin, prallethrin, fipronil, tetrametrin and permetrin. It is even noted that some products contain permethrin level as high as 40% and more as active ingredient in the yard spray concentrated form. Reported incidences related to vomiting, seizures and even death have occurred from exposure to these chemicals. For humans, they also affect thyroid hormones, cause increased asthmatic incidences, headaches, itching, swelling and other serious health issues.3
2Example structure of Permetrin. (Visuals are fun)
- 2N-Octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide(MGK 264)- This is not a pesticide by itself but is usually used to enhance the potency of pyrethoid. It is classified as a possible carcinogen and skin and eye irritant. It is also used in combination with other toxic chemicals in flea and tick sprays and shampoo.3 2Example structure of MGK-264
- 2Piperonyl Butoxide: This is not a pesticide by itself but is usually used to enhance the potency of pyrethoid. It has also being classified as a possible carcinogen and retard neurological development.1 It is also used in combination with other toxic chemicals in flea and tick sprays and shampoo.3
- 2 Tetrachlorovinphos : Just when we thought that was all, there’s the tetrachlorvinphos from the organophospate family. This not only disrupts the nervous system, hormonal and brain development for young children but is also an identified carcinogen. Poisoning symptoms include convulsion, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, death and breathing issues3. Young children become exposed to this when they interact with their pets. It is also used in combination with other toxic chemicals in flea and tick sprays, shampoo and in collars.
2Example structure of Tetrachlorovinphos.
- 2Amitraz: Amitraz was initially labelled as less harmful to mammals but a re-assessment found it to be a classified as a carcinogen. Accidental exposure to greater amount of amtraz can lead to vomiting, loss of consciousness and death.3
2Example structure of Amitraz.
- 2 Dinotefuran: This is often used in combination with permetrin. It is toxic to the nervous system and is also said to affect neurological development which is concerning with young children.1
- Always ensure to wash bedding and vacuum weekly your home when dealing with flea and tick infestation problem
- Use Natural repellent spray such as cedar wood, lemongrass, peppermint, geranium or rosemary. It is also very important to pay attention to the type of essential oil being used for your pet. Midoricide natural product carries high grade, natural, organic and excellent flea and tick products with essential oils classified based on kind of pet. The quality of natural essential oil used in pet product matters so ensure that you always take quality of oils used into account. So always ensure you buy your pet supplies from a reliable source.
- Don’t rely on only flea and tick shampoo as your only source of repellent and prevention, always apply topical applications of natural repellent onto your pet for added protection
- Avoid Flea and tick collars which contain any of the toxic chemicals mentioned above and seek out natural systems
- Always test a small area when using a new product on a pet to ensure no adverse reaction is noted
- Use dry shampoo repellent mousse and ensure to look for those with natural and organic essential oils, this will provide an additional protective repellency and mild cleansing for your pet.
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the surrounding areas from your lawn-curb transition. These prevents those pesky bugs from jumping from your lawn to the curb edge. Diatomaceous earth is a natural nontoxic option for eliminating fleas and tick. If you have plants, do not spray directly on them as it can cause phototoxic effect causing the plant to experience burns.
1Pimental David, “Environmental and economic costs of the application of pesticides primarily in the united states, received sep 24th 2003; environment,development and sustainability (2005) 7:229-252