A popular flea and tick collar for dogs and cats has been linked to nearly 1,700 pet deaths, as well as tens of thousands of injuries, documents show.

According to a story reported on by WHDH/7 News Boston, scores of pets are being harmed by Seresto collars, which work by releasing small amounts of pesticide onto the animal for months at a time, according to a new report published by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and USA Today.

Since Seresto introduced the collars in 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has received reports of at least 1,698 pet-related deaths.

As of June 2020, the EPA had also received more than 75,000 incident reports related to the collars, according to documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity and shared with the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

Nearly 1,000 of the reported incidents involved human harm, the documents indicated.

The EPA has known about the incidents for years but has not informed the public of the potential risk associated with the collars, according to Karen McCormack, a retired EPA official.

McCormack said in the report:

The EPA appears to be turning a blind eye to this problem, and after seven years of an increasing number of incidents, they are telling the public that they are continuing to monitor the situation. But I think this is a significant problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

While the EPA reportedly declined to say how Seresto compares to other pet products, an agency spokesperson said in an email to the authors of the report, “No pesticide is completely without harm, but EPA ensures that there are measures on the product label that reduce risk.”

For more on the story, please visit WHDH/7 News' website here.

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