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EPA Approved versus Foreign Flea Control

HealthyPets only sells U.S. EPA-Approved Frontline, Advantage and Program Flea Control.

Guaranteed to be the exact same product sold by your Veterinarian.

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 warnings.

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 products?

    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 of properly.

    Frontline products

    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 down."
    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)

    6. Picture - Front Package of Frontline Applicator

      Frontline Applicator Package (Back)
      Graphic - Back of Frontline Applicator Package
    7. 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 only.
    8. The applicator label for the dog products includes the size of the dog in pounds on which the product is to be used.

    Advantage products

    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.

      Advantage applicator tube
      Picture - Advantage applicator tube

    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 products?
  2. 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.

  3. 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?
  4. If you discover inconsistencies like this, do not use it. EPA encourages consumers to dispose of counterfeit pesticides they may have inadvertently purchased.

  5. How should I dispose of a counterfeit product?
  6. 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.

  7. Who can I contact if I suspect that my pet has been harmed by one of these counterfeit products?
  8. 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

  9. Will EPA's action mean that these counterfeit products will no longer be available?
  10. 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.

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