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New EPA rat poison regs to protect kids. Industry complains of cost.

By Gary Bogue
Monday, June 2nd, 2008 at 7:26 am in Poison, Rat poison.

The government imposed new restrictions May 29 on some of the biggest-selling rat poisons, citing the danger they pose to children, pets and wildlife.

Beginning in October 2009, many rat poisons sold to the public in retail outlets will have to be packaged in dispensers, called bait stations, that cannot be easily tampered with by children and pets. Loose bait such as pellets will be taken off the market for home use.

The Environmental Protection Agency had proposed tougher regulations 16 months ago that would have required uniform tamperproof packaging for the rat poisons, but the pesticide industry, public housing authorities and others complained about the cost.

Manufacturers will now be allowed to market bait stations with different degrees of tamper resistance.

“With our decision, we are achieving the same goals,” said Steven Bradbury, who directs pesticide reviews by the agency.

Rat poisons subject to the new ruling are marketed under the brand names d’Con, Eraze, Havoc, Hawk, Jaguar, Just One Bite, Ramik, Rampage, Real-Kill, Tom Cat and Victor.

EPA said the new requirements will also reduce deaths to birds and other wildlife from eating poisoned rats. Four rodenticides that pose the greatest risk to wild animals will no longer be sold in retail outlets. Professional pesticide applicators and ranchers will still be able to buy them for application around barns and other agricultural buildings.

The original “tougher regulations” that were proposed 16 months ago would of course have been more effective. Weaker regulations will NOT achieve the same goals.

Too bad, although not surprising, that the industry convinced the EPA to weaken the proposed regs. When it comes to cost vs. children, pets and wildlife … we now know which is more important.

But I guess half a loaf is better than none. It’s a start. /Gary

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16 Responses to “New EPA rat poison regs to protect kids. Industry complains of cost.”

  1. Karen Says:

    Better to get rid of rat poison altogether. Why do we humans feel entitled to give other creatures a slow, painful death?

  2. bhf Says:

    I agree it is a start. At least someone is listening. I went to a hearing in Sacramento once on Pesticide regulations. The people from the industry are tough and abrasive. They are also paid to be there. It is very difficult to find time to voluntarily go to these meetings to make a difference. I hope for the eventual removal of more of these detrimental poisons.
    I have been very successful at using live traps to remove mice and rats from my home. I had to design my own live rat trap. It takes time to uses live traps, but I am assured that no one else or other wildlife will be harmed.

  3. Barbara Says:

    Rats are primary carriers of leptospirosis, murine typhus, ratbite fever, trichinosis, salmonella, and plague.

    This is not significant to draw the line upon the “preservation” of a specific wildlife?

    I would be quite surprised to learn of people capturing rats “live” and releasing them into the wild. Rather, I’d be encouraging the use of appropriately placed snap traps.

  4. Maggie Says:

    “Rats are primary carriers of leptospirosis, murine typhus, ratbite fever, trichinosis, salmonella, and plague.”

    Yes and when was the last case you know of?

    Anticoagulant rat poisons are devastating to wildlife and pets, not to mention children. While this doesn’t go nearly far enough, and now the regs won’t be revisited for many years, it’s something. I am sad that ranchers and farmers can still use it outdoors and in their buildings. These types of properties are havens for raptors, especially barn owls – frequent victims of rat poisoning and the most effective rodent predators invented by nature. Nothing eats more rodents than barn owls!

    People who agree with restricting rat poison should also know that their tax dollars are being used to DELIBERATELY poison predators all over the west! This too needs to stop!

    Our predators are keystones of a healthy ecosystem and should carry more weight than letting wealthy ranchers graze their livestock on our public lands!! It’s an absolute outrage.

    Maggie Rufo
    volunteer Hungry Owl Project
    Conserving and promoting Nature’s Pest Control: the barn owl

  5. Barbara Says:

    “Yes and when was the last case you know of?”

    Actually the Centers for Disease Control could be case specific, as could the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District. In interim I’ll trust the judgment of my pest control company.

    The concept of a “healthy ecosystem” is not going to be applicable to all demographic data surrounding every area.

    If you can provide the balance of control for inter-city locations not harbored by barn owls, you have a stronger support to your argument. When a roof rat is on my patio midday, I set the snap trap.


  6. Karen Says:

    I’ve had plenty of success using snap-traps. They kill quickly, and don’t leave a decomposing body behind a wall somewhere. I don’t have a problem with killing rats or mice, but do it without a poison that causes a lingering death.

  7. bhf Says:

    It seems that we have gone the whole round with the issues. If we would have planned for better living environment, we would have allowed open space in our cities. The there would have been a better balance on the “pests”. These species are really not pests, just ones that reluctantly over breed when there are not predators. They too feel the crunch of over population. Thousands of years of coexistence have brought us an equilibrium that we have greatly disturbed. Now we try to “fix” the problem with other detrimental procedures.

    As for live trapping, it is a good option if you don’t want to squish the poor creatures. If you only have one or two and they are not causing everyone to get sick, why not spare a life and let it go. The poor creature probably doesn’t like living in our homes anyway.

    I have no problem with snap traps for those who want to use them. At least you can localize the procedure. But, have you ever seen a child get his finger in one of these traps large enough to kill a rat? Better than poison, but not fool proof.

  8. Maggie Says:

    “In interim I’ll trust the judgment of my pest control company.”

    Well that is a big mistake! Pest control companies often give mis-information on the poisons they use either out of ignorance or deliberate lying!! You must always look up the Material Data Sheet (MDS) on whatever the active ingredient is of the chemical they plan to use. Easy to do on the Internet.

    Rats and mice are living things and they do feel pain you know – why poison them and cause a slow cruel death when you could use snap traps, rat zappers or catch and release? Read this for how some people feel when they see the results of their actions vis a vis poison:


  9. Barbara Says:

    “…why poison them and cause a slow cruel death when you could use snap traps, rat zappers or catch and release?”

    Maggie…Did you bother to read what I typed?

    Post 5: paragraph 4, sentence 2.
    You might also try Post 3: paragraph 3, sentence 2.

    Pest control comes out bi-monthly to spray for bugs. (No shortcuts needed re: the cruelty to insects.)


  10. Denise Says:

    On Aug.5,2008. I lost my beloved boxer Sadie to the effects of rat poisoning. I did not use or have it in my home. Someone put out the poison improperly and the poison was brought into my yard by the rodents exposed to it. I cannot prove who put it out. But I have restaurants that back up to my yard that leave thier dumpsters open inviting rats. I have contacted animal control,the health dept.and the County EPA. I have recieved no response from the EPA, the health Dept said they would send a code officer out but I have not heard anthing back. I have also founf out that one nieghbor trapped 20 rats since Dec. and another has found rats in his pool.This is obviosley a health and environmental concern. It’s fustrating to get the run around and no answers as to how to rectify the problem and keep our pets and children safe. My wonderful, loving, loyal friend is gone. My children are grieving and we just want answers so that another family doesn’t have to go through losing a family member in such a cruel way.

  11. Barbara Says:

    Dear Gary, We too lost a wonderful friend, Raskel the cat, who being an excellent ‘mouser’ died from the effects of catching a poisoned rat. I don’t think people realize that poisons do not kill the rodents immediately. The rat wonders about listlessly
    often in the open where raptors and back yard pets can easily get them. Yes, roof rats are a problem in this area, but use a mechanical rat trap that kills instantly. And you know where the body is. Another problem with poisons is the rat may die under your house or in the walls of your house, etc. giving off quite an oder.

  12. Shecares Says:

    It is against the law to trap rodents and relocate them due to diseases spreading everywhere. Not all pest control companies lie about what they use, that would also be illegal. There are some rat baits that have no secondary kill and your pest control people should be able to supply you with them if requested. Rats are making a come back in the best of neighborhoods in the Bay Area. They carry so many diseases and leave behind their diseased evidence. Do not touch it or breathe it if you don’t want to get very sick. Call a professional that is licensed and trained to use specific products to control rats (rodents) Do your homework on the company you select and make sure they know what they are doing. Ask your neighbors for referrals to good quality companies or call around yourself. Rats are disgusting and are a serious plague health risk for all of us no matter where you live you are in danger of them invading your attic, roof, garages or subareas.

  13. Red Says:

    Barbara, I get the feeling that you a biocides rep come in on this discussion to promote biocides? Rats do not inherently carry diseases, its all propaganda, do your research properly. Rat bite fever is not even a disease, you get bite fever when any animal bites you! Modern science tells us that plagues are nothing to do with rats. In fact in the middle ages two thirds of the population of Iceland died from the plague yet they had no rats in Iceland.
    In areas infected with the diseases that you mention ALL animals of ALL species catch them. So these diseases are location specific not species generated. When humans catch these things they usually catch them directly from the bacterial source. In the case of Weils its rotting animal flesh in fresh water so meat industry workers catch it more than anyone else. The odds of catching Weils are 1 in a million. More people die of pregnancy and child birth. So rat poison is a slight over reaction, overkill, and waste of money. We’ve been lied to by these scurrilous pest control and biocide companies for far too long. Its time for some perspective and sanity on this issue.

  14. Lora Says:

    I have to say to those of you who think that these rat poisons are so great my cat has been at the vet for 3 days now I wish u could see the suffering he is going through not to mention the heart break of my children. When he first got sick he was volmiting and crying a very loud deep cry now he has bloody mucous stools I go there every day and hold him for hours and when i leave he crys.The only antidote vit k and iv possibly a blood transfusion he becomes lethargic and drools and vomits and is in a lot of pain. NOW IMAGINE THIS BEING A CHILD AND THE ONLY ANTIDOTE VIT K BETTER YET IMAGINE THIS BEING YOUR CHILD AND THE ONLY ANTIDOTE VIT K IV AND WAIT AND SEE!LAST OF ALL THERE ARE SOME WITH NO ANTIDOTE! SLEEP WELL!

  15. Lora Says:

    Just a short add Ive never had to buy rat poison nor have I ever had a rat or mouse problem as long as I have had my cat and there are a lot of mice around dairies and farms

  16. Bed Bugs Extermination Says:

    Don’t let the bed bugs bite, that was an old timer saying from times past, however right now it’s true once again why?

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