As a former commissioner on the congressionally chartered U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission, identifying toxic ingredients from China in American products has always been a grave concern for me. In its 2019 report to Congress, the commission noted China was the No. 1 global source of pharmaceutical ingredients, which includes dietary supplements for pet consumption.
As far back as 2007, we found rampant agricultural contamination by airborne pollutants as a result of China’s rapid growth, conflicting layers of oversight, oppressive control of state media, and China’s tacit refusal to enforce its own product safety laws.
The dog food safety problem is no small thing. It has never been more important, nor more human-centered.
Rhonda Bomwell had never used a flea and tick collar before. Pierre, her 9-year-old Papillon service dog, was mostly an indoor animal.
Still, her veterinarian recommended she purchase one, so Bomwell went to the pet store near her home in Somerset, New Jersey, and selected Bayer’s Seresto collar.
A day later, on June 2, 2020, Pierre had a seizure, collapsing while Bomwell was making dinner. Lying on his back, the dog stopped breathing and his eyes rolled back.
Bomwell tried giving him CPR. Then she called the police. An officer helped her lift the dog into her car, and she rushed him to the hospital. Pierre died before he could receive medical treatment. Bomwell didn’t think to take off Pierre’s collar.
“I just didn’t put it together,” she said.
Bomwell isn’t alone. Seresto, one of the most popular flea and tick collars in the country, has been linked to hundreds of pet deaths, tens of thousands of injured animals and hundreds of harmed humans, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency documents show.
Yet the EPA has done nothing to inform the public of the risks.
Seresto, developed by Bayer and now sold by Elanco, works by releasing small amounts of pesticide onto the animal for months at a time. The pesticide is supposed to kill fleas, ticks and other pests but be safe for cats and dogs.