A pesticide is a “substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.”1 Because fleas and ticks are considered pests, products meant to kill them are considered pesticides (or more specifically, insecticides). Manufacturers who want to sell pesticides in the United States must first have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) evaluate their products to ensure that they meet federal safety standards for both human health and environmental protection. These standards are found in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
In accordance with FIFRA, all pesticides must be registered with the EPA, and must be tested for characteristics such as effectiveness and the potential to endanger humans, wildlife, plants, and surface or ground water.
For approval, animal health manufacturers must provide data on:
- Product performance
- Potential hazards to humans and domestic animals
- Potential hazards to non-target organisms
- Post-application exposure
- Applicator/user exposure studies
- Pesticide spray drift
- Environmental fate
- Residue chemistry