Hello. I came across your website while I was searching the

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Hello. I came across your website while I was searching the Powered By Docstoc
					Hello. I came across your website while I was searching the Internet, and trying to decide which flea treatment to use on
my dog and my cat. After finding your website, I continued searching for more info,
and was able to find some toxicology study results published on the Internet. I wanted to share what I'd
found (the links are at the end of my email -- this turned out to be a much longer email than I anticipated).

We live in Alaska where, with the exception of mosquitoes, we don't have a big problem with pests like
fleas & ticks. Seasonally, we have a lot of mosquitoes, but heartworm isn't a problem here. My cat picks
up fleas seasonally, because he hunts outside, but fleas have never been a big problem in or around our home.
Sporadically over the years, we've applied OTC spot-on flea treatments to our cat, and were fortunate that he had no
adverse reactions. Of course, I never knew that we should be worried about an adverse reaction. Like most people, I
assumed that it was safe or it wouldn't be for sale.

I wouldn't have been considering the use of any flea treatments right now, but we recently acquired a new dog from
Missouri. He ended up having fleas and tapeworm. I know that he could've gotten the tapeworm by eating a flea that was
carrying the tapeworm larvae, so I wanted to do something to kill the fleas on him.
I started researching the safety of spot-on treatments, not because I was concerned about my pet's safety. As I
mentioned above, I assumed the products wouldn't be available for sale if they weren't safe for my
pets. My concern was that I have a toddler in the house, and anyone who has children knows that anything
in a toddler's environment goes straight from their hands to their mouths. I didn't want my daughter eating
a flea, and getting tapeworm, but I didn't want to put a spot-on treatment on my dog or my cat, have my daughter touch
the application site, put her hand in her mouth, and get poisoned. Hence, my Internet
search began.

While I did find some toxicology study results for several spot-on flea treatment ingredients, my findings
also left with me more unanswered questions than answers (toxicology testing on pesticides is woefully inadequate):

- If you apply these spot-on treatments to your pets at regular intervals, is there a cumulative toxic effect
that won't be apparent with the first application -- an adverse reaction that won't appear until after a
certain # of applications when a toxic level of pesticide has accumulated in your pet's body? Some of
the studies appear to have answered this question, but . . . . .

- We know that Collies can have a lethal sensitivity to certain drugs or chemicals, so isn't it reasonable
to assume that other dogs might also have a similar sensitivity, regardless of their breed?

- If the directions tell you to remove contaminated clothing immediately, or to wash your hands in warm, soapy water for
15 - 20 minutes, or to ensure that your child does not come into contact with the product,
is it really safe for applying to your pet's skin?

Furthermore, you'll see that the majority of test subjects in the studies were rats, and you can't compare
the metabolism of a rat to that of a dog, much less a cat. There were some dogs used in some of the studies, but
relatively few (the FDA wouldn't approve a drug for use in humans based on so little
evidence). You can't compare the metabolism of a dog to that of a cat, either. (Laboratory testing
on animals -- that's a subject for another email that I won't even try to discuss here.)

According to this website (, fipronil, an active ingredient found
in Frontline Top Spot & Frontline Plus, kills fleas on dogs for up to 3 months, so if you're only treating for fleas, and you
apply this monthly, could you be exposing your dog to too much pesticide? If fipronil
doesn't last as long on a cat, why is that? Is it because the cat is licking itself, swallowing its own fur,
and therefore swallowing some of the fipronil, as well?

Speaking of pesticide overdose -- in pets, whose owners suspect an adverse reaction to a spot-on flea treatment, could
their pet have had multiple exposures to pesticides that the owner is not aware of or
hasn't considered, such as herbicide or pesticide in their yard or garden, pesticide or herbicide in their neighbor's yard or
garden, a neighboring golf course, or a park that they frequent with their pet? Some communities spray pesticides or
herbicides, and everyone, animal & human alike, is exposed. Some communities put pesticide in standing water to
control mosquito populations by killing their larvae -- pets may drink from these rancid water sources. Could the the pet
have been exposed to additional pesticide through flea bombs or sprays, flea powders, flea dips or baths, etc.? Maybe
pets that have an adverse reaction to a spot-on flea treatment had multiple exposures to other pesticides in their
environment, and
the spot-on treatment was the "straw that broke the camel's back" -- it's an unknown factor. That leads
to the possibility of other medications that might cause an adverse reaction when combined with a
spot-on treatment. For example, has the pet with an adverse reaction to a spot-on treatment also had vaccinations
recently (vaccines have other ingredients besides dead viruses)? Has the pet been given
a heartworm preventive recently? Have they been dewormed recently? Are they taking any other medications? Have
they had surgery recently? Are there known health conditions before the application
of the spot-on? Or undiagnosed health conditions before the application of the spot-on? Could the pet
have eaten a poisonous mushroom (they often grow right in your own yard)? As you can see, my research produced a lot
more questions than answers.

[Note: Frontline Plus does contain an insert in the box, which states, "For external use only. Do not use
on kittens under 8 weeks of age. Individual sensitivities, while rare, may occur after using any pesticide product. Pets
may experience some temporary irritation at the site of product application. If signs persist, or become more severe within
a few days of application, consult a veterinarian immediately. Certain medications can interact with pesticides. Consult a
veterinarian before using on medicated, debilitated,
or aged animals. Call 1-800-660-1842 for 24-hour assistance." I don't know if other spot-on products contain similar
inserts, but if they do, and if pet owners read these inserts before using the product,
maybe some adverse reactions could be prevented.]

In addition, the manufacturers of such products as Frontline Top Spot, Frontline Plus, Advantage, & K9 Advantix would
have us believe that their products are not absorbed into the skin. However, this National Pesticide Telecommunications
Network (NPTN) Fipronil Fact Sheet
( states, "The technical product (96.5% fipronil) has a high
order of toxicity with respect to ingestion and inhalation in the rat, but appears to be less toxic via skin absorption."
[Fipronil is an active ingredient in both Frontline Top Spot & Frontline Plus.] The NPTN Imidacloprid Fact Sheet
( states, "The technical product (94.0% imidacloprid) has a moderate order
of toxicity with respect to ingestion in the rat by appears to be less toxic when absorbed through the skin or when
inhaled." [Imidacloprid is an active ingredient in both Advantage & K9 Advantix.] Again, the question of cumulative affects
from repeated applications arises,
as well as the question of acute sensitivity in some animals. Some people can have extreme adverse reactions to topical
applications of certain substances that don't seem to be harmful to other people,
and no one can explain that, either.

Do some research on the Internet and you'll find that the medical and scientific community still has little knowledge or
understanding regarding skin absorption of various chemicals and/or substances. [Note
that the medical and scientific community often likes to refer to skin absorption as percutaneous
absorption (] And so many factors are involved
with skin absorption -- the health of the human or animal at the time of application, the condition of their
skin, the size of the molecule of the chemical in question (the smaller the molecule, the more readily it
might be absorbed through the skin), for example. Is the skin well-moisturized and healthy? Is it dry, chapped, cracked,
& split, or otherwise, prone to skin problems/diseases? Is the skin compromised in
any way -- cuts, scrapes, scratches, punctures (might this include bug bites or vaccination sites, as
well)? If an adverse reaction to a spot-on flea treatment or any other topically applied
chemical/medication is suspected, there can be many other factors that need to be considered.

And while we might assume that there's no way for our pet to ingest any of the product once we've
applied it to their skin, in my opinion, they might still be ingesting some it. The manufacturers tell us that these products
collect in our pets' oil glands and are gradually wicked onto their hairs. In the case of a
cat, it licks itself and swallows its own hairs, so doesn't that mean it's swallowing some of the spot-on
flea treatment? Another possibility is that the owner has mistakenly applied the product to an area
where their pet is able to lick the application site. Or, in the case of a dog, he might scratch the
application site, then lick his foot, thereby ingesting some of the product. While that might seem like
too small of an amount to cause an adverse reaction, it brings you right back to the possibility of a
particular animal having an extreme sensitivity to a particular chemical. It also brings you back to the question of
cumulative effects -- what if your pet is ingesting small quantities of the stuff after each
monthly application? What are the cumulative effects of that? It also brings up other questions again,
as well. Is the pet ill (known or unknown) at the time of possible ingestion? Has the pet been exposed
to other chemicals/pesticides at the time of possible ingestion (pesticides or herbicides in your yard,
the neighbor's yard, or a local park that you and your pet frequent)? At the time of possible ingestion,
was the pet also given other medications or vaccinations that might have overloaded its body with chemicals? In the case
of multiple pet households, one pet might lick the spot-on application site of
another pet. When applying a pesticide to your pet's skin, there's too many variables to consider in
trying to determine whether it's really safe.

In my opinion (I have no facts to base this on), I believe that pharmaceutical companies will sell products
that they know may harm or even kill some people or animals if they think that the profit margin is high enough. Given
recent evidence, we also know that the FDA has previously approved drugs that have harmed or killed people (Fen Phen,
Vioxx, & Celebrex to name a few). It's just my opinion, but I don't
believe that you can rely on FDA approval to guarantee that you or your pets are safe when using any medications,
treatments, chemicals, etc.

Finally, here are the links to the toxicology study results that I found [Fipronil is an active ingredient in Merial's Frontline
Top Spot & Frontline Plus. S-Methoprene is a 2nd active ingredient in Frontline Plus. Permethrin is an active ingredient
in Bayer's K9 Advantix & Farnam's Bio Spot for Dogs. (Permethrin
is known to be toxic to cats.) Imidacloprid is an active ingredient found in both Bayer's K9 Advantix & Advantage.]:

I apologize if some of these links contain redundant information.




Last, but certainly not least, what are the so-called "inert/other ingedients" in these spot-on flea
treatments? Such vague package labeling would not be allowed for human-grade topical treatments/medications, so you
really have to wonder why all of the ingredients aren't listed on the
spot-on packaging. Unless the manufacturers reveal what the "inert/other ingredients" are in their
spot-on products, I, like everyone else, have no way of knowing what they are, but I did find some
chemicals that *may* be used as synergists in conjunction with some pesticides. If any of these
chemicals are some of the "inert/other ingredients" used in spot-on flea products for pets, it's just
another reason that you might really want to reconsider putting this stuff on your pets. According to
Page 1 of this document (, Piperonyl Butoxide can
synergize both fipronil & methoprene (the document also discusses piperonyl butoxide's toxicity).
And Page 18 of this document ( -- last two
bullet points under the heading "Mechanism") lists other possible pesticide synergists and
describes how when combined with a pesticide, synergists can make a pesticide's effect in
the body more toxic. Something as benign as sesame oil can act as a pesticide synergist.
Following that information, is the statement, "Small animal poisonings occurs principally in
cats." Some synergists that might be used with a pesticide can also be toxic as a stand-alone

[One final note -- the search phrase "toxicology studies for ____________" yielded the best results
when searching for published clinical studies on the Internet regarding the safety of these chemicals.
The same search phrase would probably yield good results for other chemicals, as well.]

Thank you for your website. I hope that some of this information will help other pet owners. Feel free
to use any or all of this information on your website. Please do not include my name or email address
in anything that is posted to your website. I don't want a lot of email or spam following this. I did this research for my own
peace of mind, and wanted to share my findings with you after having seen your website. Thank you for taking the time to
read all of this.

Anonymous 11/8/06

Thanks for your reply. I wanted to share with you a story involving my husband and daily use of Deet,
another supposedly safe pesticide As we were discussing it this morning, it also raised more
questions about possible unconsidered multiple pesticide exposures in pets (and people).

When my husband first moved to Alaska at the age of 18, he worked in construction. As I mentioned
before, we have an abundance of several species of mosquitoes here spring through fall. The
mosquito populations vary from year to year. Some years, it seems that we can't step outside the
house without being swarmed by hundreds of them. One summer, I opened the garage door and
swept out the garage.
I didn't use any mosquito repellent. I was outside for 30 minutes, slapping at the mosquitoes all the
while. When I came back inside, I had about 20 new mosquito bites! So, there are times here, when
you don't ever want to step outside without some sort of protection from mosquitoes. We have the little
no-see-ums, which people in the lower 48 often think are a myth (they are small, but you can actually
see a no-see-um if you're really paying attention). My husband often wore a hat after he first came to Alaska, and once
received so many no-see-um bites along his hairline where the hat exposed his
forehead that his eyes swole shut. The mosquitoes here are, apparently, so tough that they appear
before break-up, and the last survivors are still hanging around after the first several frosts -- strange
to see the first snow and still have a few mosquitoes flying about. Anyway, he was working on HUD
houses in native villages after his arrival here. The mosquito populations in villages are the worst, so
he started using Deet every day. After a couple of months of daily use, not only did he start to feel
physically ill, he started to get chemical burns on his skin. Needless to say, he had to stop using Deet immediately, and
started dressing in protective layers instead. To this day, his skin still has a
sensitivity to certain chemicals and substances. I'm so glad that I didn't use any Deet during my
pregnancy. I don't even want to know how this stuff might affect a developing fetus. (Another
"interesting" tidbit that my husband shared with me -- if you have Deet on your hands and touch
something plastic, the plastic begins to "melt.") So, a couple of months of daily use of Deet or approximately 60 daily
applications caused chemical burns to my husband's skin and made him
feel physically ill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 years of monthly applications of spot-on flea treatments to your
pet's skin is the equivalent of 60 applications of pesticide, and our pets (and small children) tend to
be even more sensitive to such chemicals than us, not to mention that your use of Deet or a similar
product on yourself, plus the use of a spot-on flea treatment on your pet, does indeed expose your
pet to multiple pesticides. And that brings me to another possibility of a pet's exposure to multiple pesticides. A little
research, and you'll find that Frontline Top Spot or Frontline Plus can repel fleas
on your dog for up to 3 months. That clearly indicates that after 1 month, your dog still has fipronil
residue (the active ingredient in both products), which also points to fipronil build-up as a result of
monthly applications. I noticed that some people on your website mentioned switching from Frontline
to Bio-Spot. So, if the dog in question had an application of Frontline spot-on 30 days ago (as
described above, he still has some fipronil residue on his skin or in his system), and you then apply
another product like Bio-Spot, you've just combined multiple pesticides on your pet creating an
unknown synergistic effect (fipronil, permethrin, pyriproxyfen [aka Nylar, an insect growth regulator],
s-methoprene [another IGR], if Frontline Plus was used, and "inert/other ingredients" of unknown
toxicity and synergistic effects). The toxic, synergistic effect of multiple so-called safe pesticides
is only just beginning to be recognized and discussed by a few people in the medical and scientific community. I think I
followed one link on your website regarding the subject. Here's just one web link
for a document discussing the toxic, synergistic effects of exposure to multiple pesticides (a little
Internet searching and you'll find many more):

And here's just one article (more can be found) on the dangers of those "inert/other ingredients" in pesticides:

This is a bit off the subject, but if 60 days of repeated exposure to Deet could cause the effects
that my husband experienced, then imagine what exposure to multiple pesticides could have done to
Gulf War Veterans. Just a couple of documents that discuss this topic:

Again, please feel free to use any or all of this information on your website.


Concerned Alaskan mom and pet owner

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