This article kindly republished by permission from [Please note: PetArmor is also a new “generic” Frontline version]

On January 14, 2011, Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Inc. announced it had entered into
a license agreement with Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd., to manufacture and sell the generic equivalent of Frontline and Frontline Plus.  These products contain the pesticide fipronil.

Here is Sergeant’s press release regarding it:


“The generic concept is one that is known and trusted by consumers for human medication and treatments. More and more, generic formulations are gaining popularity in the pet market as well,” states Caryn Stichler, vice president of marketing for Sergeant’s. “We are thrilled
to be able to deliver a trusted, veterinary-recommended product to pet owners that will be available where they shop regularly and at a lower cost than the brand-name products
currently available.”

Sergeant’s new fipronil-based products will soon be available under the names Pronyl OTC and Pronyl OTC Plus, and they will also be available under its Sentry brand as FiproGuard
and FiproGuard Plus.
For years, veterinarians have urged their clients to avoid dangerous over-the-counter flea control products, and have widely recommended using Frontline products.  In fact, Frontline
is the world’s best selling flea and tick treatment.

Despite its popularity, is Frontline really safe for pets?

Frontline is not FDA-approved. It’s registered with the EPA as a pesticide, and
it’s sold exclusively through veterinarians due to a marketing strategy.

Merial (the manufacturer of Frontline) often says, “The number of adverse events reported
for Frontline has remained consistently low since the product’s introduction in 1996.”

Merial has also intentionally misled the veterinary community and pet owners by stating
that Frontline — unlike other flea and tick treatments — is not absorbed into the body and doesn’t circulate through the bloodstream, therefore it’s very safe for pets and people.

However, this EPA memorandum from 1996 clearly states otherwise:

The EPA recently investigated pet spot-on products and found that ALL of the products, including Frontline, were linked to health issues ranging from mild skin irritation to seizures and, in rare cases, to the death of the pet.

Here are the EPA’s evaluation reports for Frontline/Frontline Plus for Dogs:

Health Canada, which collaborated with the EPA on the pet spot-on product investigation, noted that a key limitation was the under-reporting of incidents by the manufacturers.

Several people have mentioned to me that when they called Merial to report an adverse incident, they were told that Frontline does not cause serious adverse reactions!

Here’s what the American Veterinary Medical Association has to say about the risks of
spot-on flea and tick treatments (including Frontline):

Besides the risk to pets, is it safe for people to be around Frontline-treated animals?

According to the EPA’s website:

“EPA is dedicated to the protection of children risks associated from exposures to pesticides, particularly those used residentially. EPA assesses all pet pesticide treatments, including spot-on products, using a screening level approach. Our review of these products includes a dermal assessment for adults and dermal and oral exposure assessment for children based upon conservative assumptions of pet contact and pesticide transfer to the persons exposed. Inhalation assessment to pet pesticide treatments is considered on a case-by-case basis. EPA scientists estimate the amount of applied pesticide that can transfer from the animal to the child’s skin from hugging or otherwise contacting a treated animal. Based on these estimates, the EPA ensures that children are protected from exposure to pesticide treated pets.”

That sounds reassuring, but Frontline was registered (approved) before the EPA
was required to implement a new safety standard for infants and children.

Prior to registration, the EPA had serious concerns about the risks that Frontline posed to commercial pet groomers, and therefore made the registration dependent on the submission of an acceptable dermal exposure study.

Later, when the EPA assessed the risk that Frontline posed to children, instead of basing
its assessment on conservative assumptions, the EPA relied on Merial’s unpublished — and deeply flawed — dermal exposure studies, which greatly underestimated the amount of pesticide that is transferred during pet contact.

If the EPA’s risk assessment had been based on conservative assumptions, it
would have determined that Frontline poses unacceptable risks to children.

(Here’s an article regarding the EPA’s reliance on unpublished industry-backed studies:)

Here’s what the NRDC’s GreenPaws website has to say about Frontline:

“There are significant health concerns associated with fipronil but in areas
with severe tick problems, limited and careful use may be warranted.  Use
sparingly and avoid if pregnant or around young children.”

Here’s a study regarding human exposure to fipronil from Frontline-treated dogs:


“Repeated exposure to such contamination can pose human health risks.”

Here is a recent study that examined acute illnesses associated with exposure to fipronil:


“This study also found that pet-care products (Frontline) were related to more than one-third of cases and accounted for the majority of childhood cases (64%).”

Here is a presentation to California’s Scientific Guidance Panel regarding fipronil:

“Potential for continuous exposure in home.  Children may be at greater
risk.  Potential concerns for cancer, hormone disruption, and developmental neurotoxicity.”

Here’s a recent study that examined the potential for fipronil to produce developmental neurotoxicity:


“Our results suggest that fipronil is inherently a more potent disruptor of
neuronal cell development than is chlorpyrifos.”

“The actual human exposure to FPN [fipronil] is poorly explored, but, as
just one example, topical pet treatment preparations contains as much as
five orders of magnitude higher FPN concentrations than those used in our
assays; with routine “petting” transfers to human skin reach 600 ppm.”

Here’s an excellent website regarding the toxicity of fipronil:


“Research now shows that even minuscule exposure is toxic to vertebrates
including humans and pets.”

Here’s Beyond Pesticide’s fact sheet for fipronil:

Here are the NPIC’s fact sheets for fipronil:

As mentioned in the above fact sheets, fipronil is highly toxic to honey bees and
aquatic organisms.  In fact, it’s so toxic to the environment, several countries —
including China — have banned it!
Frontline and FiproGuard also contain 75-90% diethylene glycol monoethyl
ether — an industrial solvent that increases the absorption of fipronil through
the skin, and poses adverse health effects for humans and pets:

UPDATE:  On 4/20/11, FidoPharm (Velcera) announced the introduction of a line of
generic Frontline products for cats and dogs, called PetArmor and PetArmor Plus.

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