EPA gets tough with rat poison manufacturers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it is moving to ban the sale of “the most toxic” consumer rat and mouse poisons, as well as most loose bait and pellet products. The agency is also requiring that all newly registered rat and mouse poisons marketed to residential consumers be enclosed in bait stations so children and pets cannot access the pesticide. The new regulations will also protect wildlife that consume bait or poisoned rodents, the EPA said in its announcement.    

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

In 2008, the EPA gave producers of rat and mouse poison 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, EPA has worked with a number of companies to achieve that goal, and there are now new products on the market with new bait delivery systems and less toxic baits that still provide effective rodent control, according to the EPA.

However, a handful of companies have advised the EPA that they do not plan to adopt the new safety measures, the EPA said. Consequently, the EPA intends to initiate cancellation proceedings under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the federal pesticide law, against certain non-compliant products marketed by the following companies to remove them from the market:

• 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)
• Reckitt Benckiser Inc. (makers of D-Con, Fleeject, and Mimas rodent control products)

In addition to requiring more protective bait stations and prohibiting pellet formulations, the 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 to wildlife. These rodenticides will still be available for use by professional pest control applicators and in agricultural settings. 

For more information on rat and mouse products that meet EPA’s safety standard, click here.

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