Flea collars are pulled off shelves

Flea collars could harm children - Photo: Callalloo Canis

Veterinary watchdog bans sale of nearly 60 brands over fears they could cause nerve damage to children

NEARLY 60 flea collars for cats and dogs have been withdrawn from sale in France over fears they pose a danger to humans, particularly children.

The Agence Nationale du Médicament Vétérinaire watchdog withdrew the permit for sale for the the collars as they contain organophosphates, toxic insecticides known to harm the human nervous system. Humans in close contact with animals wearing such collars could be affected.

Shops and wholesalers have been told to clear their shelves after the ANMV looked again at how the flea collars were used and how much adults and children would come into contact with the toxic substances.

Agency director Jean-Pierre Orand told Sciences et Avenir magazine: "We looked at several criteria and noted people's change in behaviour towards their pets, marked by increasingly close and shared contact especially the fact many children sleep with their cat or dog."

He said some countries opted just to recommend that people should avoid extended contact with the pet but "we thought this was not compatible with people's way of life" and preferred to impose a ban.

ANMV withdrew products containing the chemicals dimpylate (or diazinon), Propoxur and Tétrachlorvinphos and a list is available on the website for Sciences et Avenir

Other means of getting rid of the fleas - different collars, medicated drops for the shoulders, sprays, and powders - remain on the market.

Organophospates were originally developed as nerve gas in the Second World War but were adapted to target insect pests. They are absorbed through the skin, especially through prolonged contact.
Photo: CALLALLOO Canis - Fotolia.com

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