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The Environmental Protection Agency stirred some excitement last month when it announced plans to begin “intensifying” the evaluation of spot on flea and tick products for pets due to an increase in the number of illnesses reportedly associated with those products. What the agency meant by “intensifying” wasn’t really clear initially, but now we have an official answer.

An agency spokesman said manufacturers were asked to provide additional detailed information on incidents reported to them since the beginning of 2008; the EPA wants that data by July. Manufacturers already submit quarterly reports on pesticide incidents reported to their hotlines, but this additional information requested by the EPA will include more specific facts such as the breed of the pet, whether the pet was on other medications, and whether the pet was treated by a veterinarian.

If not for the rash of reports implicating these products in pet illnesses, the EPA would not have requested the more detailed information from manufacturers, said Dale Kemery, an EPA press officer. A team of veterinarians will then study the data in an effort to help the agency reduce the number of illnesses associated with these spot on flea and tick treatments.

The EPA will also perform the evaluation faster than originally planned, Kemery said, although he said the agency does not have a timeline for the analysis or a proposed completion date.

In December the Center published a report detailing the increased number of illnesses linked to spot on treatments containing pyrethroid insecticides. The EPA has announced it is looking at all spot on treatments and not just products containing pyrethroids.

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