EPA Rule Banning Rat Poison in Danger

11 Jun

Have you ever noticed the poison traps next to buildings or in parking structures? Instead of practicing safe exclusion measures and conscientiously disposing of trash, people often allow rat and mice populations to grow and then justify their killing of these poor animals with methods that cause horrific suffering.

As bad as those rat traps are, current EPA rules allow for the indiscriminate use of non-containerized rodent poisons in areas where rats, mice, wildlife, children, and other companion animals can consume it quite readily. Loose bait rodenticides are cheaper to produce and use than containerized poisons, so it is not surprising that more deaths occur in lower-income areas. Moreover, rodenticides have become increasingly toxic, and they can be sold in unlimited amounts, greatly increasing the risks to all animals and the environment, which affects all animals, including rats and mice.

A couple of years ago, the EPA agreed to new rules that would limit the amount and toxicity of rat poisons sold to residential consumers, as well as prohibit the sale of loose bait rodenticides to residential consumers. The rules – supposed to go into effect early this month – would make it illegal to sell rat and mouse poisons to residential consumers unless the packaging is such that only a rat or mouse could get in, not a child or other animal. Other rules would limit the toxicity and amount of rodenticides that can be sold to retail consumers at one time. Taken together, implementation of the rules should result in less usage of rat poisons, which could be of some help to rats and mice as well as to other animals.

Two top rodenticide-producing companies (D-Con and Woodstream Corporation) are among four companies fighting against the ban, with protests to the EPA and stated intent to challenge the rules if implemented. If the ban is not implemented, it will be left up to each property owner to decide how to kill animals they believe are pests. If the rules are not implemented, residential consumers would continue to be able to buy large amounts of poison, and they would continue to be able to buy the most toxic compounds.

It is troubling that poisons are used at all. Certainly humans could do a better job of preventing the growth of animal populations they consider to be “pests” by non-lethal means. On the other hand, incremental bans and restrictions like these could be understood as positive attempts to limit the extent of harm we currently engage in and to begin to change the public’s thinking about entitlement to use poisons. If you would like to read more, the following links provide more information.

Additional Reading:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Takes Major Actions to Reduce Americans’ Risk from Mouse and Rat Poisons / Move Will Better Protect Children, Pets, and Wildlife (June 7, 2011).

Robert McClure & Environmental Health News, Rat Poisons Endanger 10,000 Children Every Year in U.S., Scientific American (Dec. 14, 2010).

Ryan Tracy, EPA to Ban Some Rat Poisons, Wall Street Journal (June 7, 2011).

Home Channel News, Bait Pellet Rodenticide to Remain on Shelves (Mar. 14, 2011).


Posted by on June 11, 2011 in advocacy, epa, legislation


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2 responses to “EPA Rule Banning Rat Poison in Danger

  1. Laurie

    August 19, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I recently lost a beloved pet cat of 11 years to rat poison, that was put out I believe by a property management worker, in a nearby vacant home. Our cat caught and ATE the poisoned rat, and died as a result. Sure, the poison was placed in a safe and secure area….but it “traveled” via the rat to a place where it became “loaded” prey… My two natural “hunters” sometimes turned in their quarry “whole”, as tho they did not want to eat it,,there is always the exception. I spotted the remains of a “doorprize”, in the AM, by PM our kitty was a goner…This is also finding it’s way to wiildlife, as reports of raptors (hawks/owls) are also affected, and injured. It is my belief that due to foreclosures, and many houses sitting empty, the demand and use of these substances has risen…Rodents know when no one is “home”, and they settle right in….
    I used to these loose rodent baits myself, but I vow I shan’t anymore; it was a horrible death to witness, death by internal hemorrhaging, I would not even wish it on a rat ….a rat dying swiftly to death via a traditional rat trap is more humane…I’ve heard the sticky traps also work well, but what in the world do you do with your “live capture” should you have them?
    Rats harbor fleas, ticks, disease, and they are very destructive. They are a fact of life in country settings, even living in tunnels in the ground….eradication is often met by the use of cats, throughout history. I noted in the news lately, a California Police station imported some feral cats to get the rat population down in their building, with a lot of success ….nothing smells up a home worse than a dead rat in a crawl space…this routinely happens, in the use of poison baits.
    I’m all for banning or strictly limiting the use of these poisons…a better solution should be arrived at.

  2. Mary Cummins

    November 22, 2011 at 3:00 am

    Poison does not solve problems. It just creates even bigger problems. I was accidentally poisoned by rodenticide poison that a certified pest control operator dropped by hand on San Buena Ventura Beach. I almost died. It was extremely painful. It took over a month for the pest control operator to admit that he dumped pounds of poison every morning on the beach for two weeks. He needed to use bait stations but didn’t because he said activists would destroy them. I contacted it through dermal and inhalation contact. I was on that beach almost every day. The poison control center said I’d have to eat handfuls to get as sick as I did. They were wrong. Women in third world countries die from this quite frequently. As soon as I had that time of the month it did not stop for over a year. I ended up having to take quite a few different drugs which didn’t help then I ultimately needed blood transfusions and surgery. This poison is very dangerous, even in the hands of licensed pest control operators. There are humane ways to deter mice, rats and ground squirrels.
    Mary Cummins
    Animal Advocates


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