EPA Approved versus
Foreign Flea Control
Total PetSource and EntirelyPets only sell U.S.
EPA-Approved Frontline, Advantage,
K9 Advantix and Program
Illegal Flea Control products, including foreign-labeled,
unregistered versions of Advantage and Frontline,
have been illegally imported and sold throughout
the U.S. Though registered for use in other countries,
some foreign-labeled versions have omitted important
warnings, especially those pertaining to children,
that are required in the United States. Versions
imported from such countries as England, Australia
and Canada often give doses in metric units, which
can cause Americans to accidentally over-dose
or under-dose pets.
Why be concerned with Pet Flea Control that is
not EPA approved?
Many foreign Flea Control such as Frontline,
Advantage and Program are not EPA Approved. Some
many contain illegal pesticides that are very
toxic. Others contain unknown ingredients, or
the ingredients may vary from time to time. Some
of the illegal products are also available to
the public in legal, EPA registered versions.
However, consumers may unknowingly purchase or
obtain the illegal versions. Though the illegal
products may look similar to and make the same
claims as their legal counterparts, these products
have not been thoroughly tested. And since the
products are unregistered, their labels have not
been reviewed for clear directions and safety
There are many EPA-registered pesticide products
on the market today to treat your pets for common
problems such as fleas and ticks. When used according
to label instructions and precautions, pet products
can be very effective, but when misapplied or
not used according to directions, your pets may
be unnecessarily exposed to pesticides and could
become ill. Your pets may also be exposed to other
pesticide products used or stored around the home,
lawn, and garden. Protect your pets from pests
and potential pesticide risks by following product
label directions and understanding the precautions.
EPA is responsible for assuring that all pesticides
sold in the United States do not cause unreasonable
risks when they are used according to label directions
and precautions. Every EPA-registered pesticide
product has an EPA registration number on its
packaging. If evidence arises to challenge the
safety of a registered pesticide product, EPA
reviews scientific data and takes action if necessary
to reduce or eliminate the risks.
How can I determine if I have purchased the legitimate
The pesticide products are sold in a carton.
It is difficult to distinguish counterfeit products
from EPA-registered products because they look
very much alike. To determine if the product you
have purchased is legitimate, check to see if
it meets the following criteria. If the product
fails any one of these criteria, it most likely
is an illegitimate product and should be disposed
1. The lot number on the retail carton matches
the lot number on the applicator package and/or
the individual applicators.
2. The instruction leaflet is included. It provides
the following information: first-aid statements,
including emergency U.S. telephone numbers; precautionary
statements for humans and pets; directions for
use; and storage and disposal statements.
3. The pesticide is contained in an applicator
package, which is child-resistant. The directions
for opening the child- resistant applicator package
include an illustration that actually looks like
the applicator package. The directions include
"To remove applicator, use scissors or lift
and remove plastic tab to expose foil, then pull
4. The legitimate applicator package looks like
this; note the notch between the individual applicator
packages, which generally are absent on counterfeit
products. Text on the package is in English only.
5. Frontline Applicator Package (Front)
Frontline Applicator Package (Back)
6. Once you open the applicator package, each
individual applicator has a label that includes
the registrant's name "Merial;" the
product name; the EPA registration number (see
list above); the net contents in fluid ounces
(fl. oz.) (not in metric measure, i.e., ml); percentage
(%) of active ingredient(s) (fipronil for Frontline
Top Spot products; and fipronil and (S)-methoprene
for Frontline Plus products); and the statements
"CAUTION," "Keep out of reach of
children," and "See full label for additional
directions." Text is in English
7. The applicator label for the dog products includes
the size of the dog in pounds on which the product
is to be used.
1. The only way to determine a legitimate Advantage
product from a counterfeit product is by examining
the actual applicator tubes that are inside the
carton. Since the directions for use on the retail
carton (outer box) and instruction leaflet of
the legitimate product and the counterfeit product
are identical, check the language that is printed
on the applicator tubes. The legitimate Advantage
products all contain applicator tubes that are
printed in English. The most obvious sign of a
counterfeit product is that the applicator tubes
are printed in a foreign language (most likely
French or German).
2. The legitimate applicator tubes include the
EPA Registration Number, the signal word WARNING,
and the child hazard warning (Keep Out of Reach
of Children). Counterfeit applicator tubes may
lack this information.
3. Legitimate applicator tubes will also include
a reference statement that refers users to the
main labeling for directions for use and will
include the manufacturing company's name (Bayer).
Counterfeit applicator tubes may lack this information.
4. Legitimate applicator tubes will contain an
active ingredient statement that agrees with the
active ingredient statement on the retail carton
(9.1% imidacloprid). A counterfeit product may
have an active ingredient statement that differs
(such as 10%).
1. Is there a penalty for purchasing the counterfeit
For individual consumers, there is no penalty
for purchasing a counterfeit product. Penalties
only apply to persons who distribute or sell counterfeit
products. However, purchasing a counterfeit pesticide
may place you and your family at risk. For example,
first-aid treatment directions may not be immediately
available in case of an emergency. Further, a
child may be harmed if he or she is able to open
a package that is not child-resistant. Thus, EPA
is recommending that consumers dispose of product
that has been discovered to be counterfeit.
2. I discovered that a dog product was contained
in a package intended for use on cats. Will my
cat be harmed if I apply the product to it?
If you discover inconsistencies like this, do
not use it. EPA encourages consumers to dispose
of counterfeit pesticides they may have inadvertently
3. How should I dispose of a counterfeit product?
If you discover that you have one of the counterfeit
products, you should contact your local solid
waste agency* for information on proper disposal
in your community. Your local government may recommend
that you take the product to a household hazardous
waste collection program. If allowed by your local
government, you may put the counterfeit product
in your trash.
* To identify your local solid waste agency,
look in the government section of your phone book
under categories such as solid waste, public works,
or garbage, trash or refuse collection.
4. Who can I contact if I suspect that my pet
has been harmed by one of these counterfeit products?
First, contact your veterinarian for medical
assistance and advice. In addition, the National
Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) is an EPA-sanctioned
toll-free helpline designed to assist in providing
answers to most questions regarding pesticides
and pesticide poisonings. You can reach NPIC at
1-800-858-7378, daily from 6:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
(PT). NPIC also has a Web site with comprehensive
pesticide information at http://npic.orst.edu/.
5. Will EPA's action mean that these counterfeit
products will no longer be available?
EPA is continuing to pursue this issue. Unfortunately,
it is likely that counterfeit and other illegal
products may still be available. You should be
careful when purchasing products such as these
to look for the indicators described above. In
addition to the counterfeited products described
above, other illegal versions of these products
may be available, including the following:
* foreign labeled product with stickers containing
some U.S. information
* foreign-labeled products.
These illegal products pose potential risks
related to units of measure that are unfamiliar
to U.S. consumers, lack of child-resistant packaging,
lack of precautionary statements, and the potential
for the pesticide itself to be other than what
is indicated on the carton.