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Hazards of Common Flea Insecticides

by aseligmann — last modified Aug 04, 2010 12:00 AM
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Imidacloprid (often sold as Advantage) Imidacloprid is toxic to animal nervous systems. In a test conducted by an imidacloprid manufacturer, it caused tremors in laboratory animals.

Imidacloprid (often sold as Advantage)

Imidacloprid is toxic to animal nervous systems. In a test conducted by an imidacloprid manufacturer, it caused tremors in laboratory animals.

Source (look under heading "Acute Neurotoxicity"): California Dept. of Pesticide Regulation. Medical Toxicology Branch. 2004. Summary of Toxicology Data: Imidacloprid. Revised. 3/30/04

Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences showed that imidacloprid causes damage to DNA (the genetic material in living cells) in laboratory tests with human blood cells.

Source (summary): Feng, S. 20005. Assessing the genotoxicity of imidacloprid and RH-5849 in human peripheral blood lymphocytes in vitro with comet assay and cytogenetic tests. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 61(2):239-46.

In a test conducted by an imidacloprid manufacturer, pregnancy loss (miscarriage) was more common in laboratory animals exposed to imidacloprid than in unexposed animals.

Source (look for "Rabbits" under heading "Reproductive toxicity"): IPCS International Programme on Chemical Safety. 2001. Pesticide residues in food 2001 — Toxicological evaluations: Imidacloprid.

Fipronil (often sold as Frontline)

Fipronil insecticide products disrupt hormone function. Brazilian scientists showed that an application of Frontline to laboratory animals caused dramatic changes in the levels of two sex hormones and disrupted the animals' reproductive cycle.

Source (summary): Ohi, M. 2004. Reproductive adverse effects of fipronil in Wistar rats. Toxicology Letters 146(2):121-127.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies fipronil as a carcinogen (a chemical that can cause cancer).

Source (find "fipronil" in list of chemical names): U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Pesticide Programs. Science Information Management Branch. Health Effects Division. 2004. Chemicals Evaluated for Carcinogenic Potential (July 19, 2004)

Fipronil insecticides are persistent. Researchers at Murray State University showed Frontline persists for at least 56 days on pets' skin.

Source (summary): Cochet, P. et al. 1997. Skin distribution of fipronil by microautoradiography following topical administration to the beagle dog. .European Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics 22(3):211-216.

NCAP provides more detailed information about the hazards of these two chemicals in our imidacloprid factsheet and fipronil factsheet