Seresto, the leading flea and tick pet collar sold on Amazon, is sold by Elanco and was developed by Bayer AG, the German pharmaceutical company that has seen its stock plummet since inheriting Monsanto’s Roundup cancer lawsuits. At least Bayer won’t face lawsuits over Seresto, since it sold its Animal Health Division to Elanco last year for $7.5 billion.
Per the Detroit Free Press, according to co-reporting by The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and USA Today, approximately one in 300 pets have had adverse reactions to Seresto, including 1,698 death incident reports.
Recently, a Congressional subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy asked Elanco to voluntarily recall the flea and tick collars after thousands of injury reports were lodged about the collar.
Last week, and just days after the subcommittee hearing, two pet owners, one who claimed her dog died as a result of the collar and the other who claimed her pet developed cancer because of it, filed a class-action lawsuit against Elanco.
The claim against Elanco alleges that two active pesticides in the collar—imidacloprid and flumethrin—caused harm to both animal and human health. The class action is likely to be the first of dozens filed against Elanco.
Faye Hemsley and Aitana Vargas are named as the plaintiffs. The former claims in her suit that her 13-year old terrier mix died because of the collar, while the latter claims her 10-year old Siberian Husky developed a cancerous lump on the neck, near the site of the pet collar.
Introduced to the market in 2012, the Seresto pet collar has generated over 75,000 incident reports to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which oversees products with pesticides. (Both fleas and ticks are parasitic insects.)
Since the collar was sold beginning in 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has received more than 75,000 incident reports about pet and human harm linked to use of the collar. In addition to the nearly 1,700 pet deaths reported, over 900 pet owners claim to have been harmed.
“The [EPA] has known about these incidents for years but has not informed the public of the potential risks associated with this product,” said Karen McCormack, a retired EPA employee, per Detroit Free Press.
The Congressional Subcommittee, led by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois), was prompted by reporting from the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and USA Today, and resulted in letters being sent to Elanco, requesting the company recall its product and issue full refunds to customers. In addition, the Subcommittee asked Bayer to release information about the toxicity of the product.
A spokesperson for Elanco said the company has investigated all 1,698 death incident reports and found no link in those deaths to the active ingredients in the pesticides. Furthermore, the company says that the vast majority of incident reports are dermal (skin) issues, primarily irritation, hair loss and redness.