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A new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shows some flea and tick collars leave a toxic pesticide residue on the animal’s fur that can be hazardous to the pets and their owners.

The NRDC – a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists – filed a lawsuit following the results of the study, which found high levels of propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos (TVCP) – both which are known carcinogens and neurotoxins.

The suit contends 16 retailers and manufacturers, failed to warn consumers that they were exposed to unsafe levels of propoxur in violation of state law. And, asks the EPA to order the removal of both chemicals. Until now, the EPA has said exposure to chemicals in flea collars is insignificant.

For the study, the group conducted tests on five cats and nine dogs, a sample equal to or larger than studies used by the EPA to determine exposure to pesticides from flea collars, said researchers.

They found the levels of pesticides left on fur were as much as 1,000 times greater than acceptable risk levels the EPA has set for children. The NRDC sees the chemical residue as a “significant neurological risk,” and says that harmful levels can remain on an animal’s fur for as long as two weeks.

Learn more about hazardous chemicals contained in pet products and which products to avoid.

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