EPA to Ban Several Rat Poisons

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just announced that, in an effort to better protect children, pets, and wildlife, it plans on moving to ban the sale of most <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">toxic rat and mouse poisons, as well as most loose bait and pellet products, to residential consumers.

As part of this move, the EPA is also requiring that all newly registered rat and mouse poisons marketed to residential consumers be enclosed in bait stations that render the pesticide inaccessible to children and pets. Wildlife that consume bait or poisoned rodents will also be protected by EPA’s actions.

“These changes are essential to reduce the thousands of accidental exposures of children that occur every year from rat and mouse control products and also to protect household pets,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Today’s action will help keep our children and pets safe from these poisons,” Owens added.

Children are particularly at risk for exposure to rat and mouse poisons because the products are typically placed on floors, and because young children sometimes place bait pellets in their mouths. The American Association of Poison Control Centers receives between 12,000 and 15,000 reports of children under the age of six being exposed to these types of products each year.

In 2008, the EPA allowed rodent poison producers until June 4, 2011, to research, develop, and register new products that would be safer for children, pets, and wildlife. Over the past three years, the agency has collaborated with some firms to achieve that goal, and there are now new products on the market with new bait delivery systems and less toxic baits. These new products are safer to children, pets, and wildlife, while still providing effective rodent control for residential consumers.

While many rat and mouse poison product producers have agreed to adopt the new safety measures, some firms advised the EPA that they will not. In response, the agency said it intends to initiate cancellation proceedings under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, the federal pesticide law, against certain noncompliant products marketed by the following companies to remove them from the market:

• Reckitt Benckiser Inc. (makers of D-Con, Fleeject, and Mimas rodent control products)
• Woodstream Inc. (makers of Victor rodent control products)
• Spectrum Group (makers of Hot Shot rodent control products)
• Liphatech Inc. (makers of Generation, Maki, and Rozol rodent control products).

In addition to requiring more protective bait stations and prohibiting pellet formulations, EPA intends to ban the sale and distribution of rodenticide products containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone, and difenacoum directly to residential consumers because of their toxicity and the secondary poisoning hazards they pose to wildlife. These rodenticides will be available for use in residential settings, but only by professional pest control applicators. The compounds will also be allowed for use in agricultural settings; however, bait stations will be required for all outdoor, above-ground uses to minimize exposure to children, pets, and wildlife.

To help avoid rat and mouse infestations in and around homes, EPA stresses the importance of rodent prevention and identification measures such as: Sealing holes inside and outside the home to prevent rodent entry; cleaning up potential rodent food sources and nesting sites; looking for rat and mice droppings around the kitchen and for nesting material such as shredded paper, fabric or dried plant matter; and finding evidence of gnawing and chewing on food packaging or structures.

EPA also urges consumers to keep the following tips in mind whenever using rodenticides in their homes: Always place traps and baits in places where children and pets cannot reach them, use all products according to label directions and precautions, and be sure to select traps that are appropriate to the type and size of rodent (e.g., rat vs. mouse).

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