A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Wednesday ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take action within 90 days on a petition to ban a flea-control pesticide used on cat and dog collars that is dangerous to children.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the EPA “egregiously and unreasonably delayed” for more than a decade in acting on a petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council to ban the use of a pesticide known as TCVP on products for household pets.
Circuit Judge Ronald Gould wrote that the EPA acknowledged in late 2016 that TCVP “poses widespread, serious risks to the neurodevelopmental health of children.”
He said the delay resulted in “endangering millions of children.”
The court ordered the EPA to either deny the NRDC petition or begin the process of canceling approval for household pet use within 90 days. If the agency denies the petition, the environmental group can appeal in the court system.
Agency spokesman Ken Labbe said:
“The EPA is reviewing the decision.”
TCVP, or tetrachlorvinphos, is in the family of organophosphate pesticides that were developed from nerve warfare agents used during World War II, according to the court. It is used in dog and cat collars, shampoos and powders to control ticks and fleas.
Young children can be exposed by touching their pets and the chemical can harm the development of their brains and nervous systems, according to the NRDC.
Mae Wu, the senior director of NRDC’s Health and Food Program, said:
“This is an important victory – and one for which we’ve been fighting for more than a decade.
“In 2016, EPA scientists finally acknowledged the danger this toxic chemical poses to children, but the agency then failed to remove the dangerous pet products from the market. It’s especially gratifying, on Earth Day, to have the court hold EPA accountable to its core mission to protect human health and the environment.”