*Hartz Recall–Response from EPA**

I have posted on this site before, as my cat suffered adverse reactions from the 4-in-1 flea product. After I found out that the product was at last being recalled, I was filled with mixed emotions. Great that it was happening, bad that it was happening so late, and that the process of completely taking the product off the shelves would take so long, knowing that other animals would be harmed in the meanwhile. Well, I sent an email to the EPA expressing my concerns, and I thought it would be appropriate to share their response:

Thank you for contacting the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
regarding the recent agreement with Hartz Mountain Corporation to
relabel and phase out uses of several flea and tick products that may be
associated with adverse reactions in cats and kittens. I want to assure
you that EPA shares your concerns about these products and wants to make
sure that consumers are alerted to the potential risks associated with
use of these products.

As you may know, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and
Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA is responsible for regulating pesticide
products in the United States and ensuring that they can perform their
intended functions without posing unreasonable risks to humans, animals,
or the environment. EPA has the authority to cancel a pesticide product
if it determines there is an unacceptable risk that cannot be reduced by
other actions such as voluntary cancellation or changes in the way a
pesticide is used. While cancellation of a product is always an option
for EPA to remove a product from the marketplace ? a process that could
take up to five years if contested by the manufacturer ? voluntary
cancellation is the most expedient. At the same time, EPA believes it
is important to seek interim measures so that immediate steps can be
taken to alert the public to the actions being taken. Also, the process
followed by EPA must be based on sound science.

In November 2002, due to safety concerns stemming from Hartz flea and
tick control products for cats and kittens, EPA announced that the Hartz
Mountain Corporation had agreed to enact measures to reduce potential
risks to pets from using these products. EPA sought this agreement due
to concerns over safety issues based on thousands of adverse-effect
incidents reported to EPA. Under this agreement, Hartz agreed to
implement a product recovery, label improvement, and consumer education
program for the affected products. EPA continued to monitor these
products through our Incident Reporting System to evaluate the
effectiveness of these changes. Since that time, EPA has received
thousands of new reports of adverse effects from pet owners around the
country, including hair loss, salivation, tremors, and numerous reports
of deaths in cats and kittens. Thus, EPA determined that further action
was needed.

As you know, at EPA?s request, on June 3, 2005, Hartz Mountain
Corporation signed an agreement to cancel uses of several flea and tick
products. This agreement marks the conclusion of a rigorous, multi-year
review of these products. Hartz agreed to voluntarily phase out the
products of concern by March 31, 2006, and for the short term, they
agreed to provide new labels for products leaving their facilities after
June 27, 2005. This action ultimately gets the products off the market
faster than the Agency?s cancellation process, which can take three to
five years if the registrant chooses to contest the action.

EPA took several steps to inform consumers about the phase-out,
including a news release to the media, which received broad coverage.
In addition, detailed information about the agreement and information
about alternatives was posted on EPA?s Web site in order to allow
consumers to make informed choices about whether or not to continue
product use during the phase-out. Additional information about flea and
tick control for pets may be found at:
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/flea-tick.htm. Information
about the agreement and alternatives may also be found at:
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/flea-tick-drops.htm. As with
all products, EPA encourages consumers to always read and observe all
label directions and precautions, making note that different products
vary in their intended uses and effects.

I hope this information addresses your concerns. Thank you again for
contacting us.

Sincerely,

Claire M. Gesalman, Chief
Communication Services Branch
Office of Pesticide Programs

Sent by:
Julie A. Chao
Communication Services Branch
Office of Pesticide Programs

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