01/14/2010 10:23 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Tell PETCO & PetSmart to Take Toxic Flea Products Off Their Shelves

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So many sad stories have come to me since I started working to eliminate toxic chemicals, which can harm people or poison pets, from common flea control products. Many people have written me about their beloved pet who died or became seriously ill after a flea treatment that they picked up at the pet store. They are frustrated and shocked that such dangerous products are allowed on the market, and upset that major retailers continue to profit from the sale of these chemicals, at the expense of their pets’ and families’ health. I share their frustrations.

And I worry about the people I haven’t heard from, since they may still be using these dangerous products unknowingly. You see, the problems caused from toxic flea chemicals don’t always manifest immediately, and they don’t necessarily just affect our pets.

Last spring, my team of researchers at NRDC released a report on the toxic chemical residues that remain on pet fur from flea collars. We found residue levels measuring high enough to potentially cause neurologic harm to children who hug their pets or even just stroke their fur. In fact, we found levels of one of the chemicals in these products, which is listed as a known carcinogen in California, were high enough to even pose a significant risk to adults. And of course, the long-term risk this poses to our pets for cancer and neurological harm is extremely worrisome.

After NRDC released our scientific findings, we petitioned the EPA and even sued manufacturers and retailers for selling these dangerous products without any warning labels. We thought this would be enough to lead companies to do the right thing. Unfortunately – we were wrong.

Now I’m losing my patience. More than eight months have passed since we published our scientific findings, and every day children, dogs, cats and pet owners are unknowingly using these risky products even though safer alternatives exist. So I’m asking for your help.

Together we must call on the two largest pet supply chains in the country – PETCO and PetSmart – and demand that they remove toxic flea products from their shelves. Together we can send a powerful message that they can’t ignore! Thank you for helping us to protect the children and pets we love from dangerous chemicals.

Here’s what you can do to help:

Click here to send a letter to PETCO Chair Brian Devine, PETCO CEO James M. Myers and PetSmart CEO Robert F. Moran, asking them not to sell dangerous flea products, especially flea collars with two pesticides called propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos.

This post originally appeared on NRDC"s Switchboard blog.